When you make changes to the Windows Registry you normally can only make them for all users or the user account that is currently logged in. But what if you want to make changes to the Registry of another user of the system?
It should be clear that you can only do so if you have the proper rights on the system, but if you do, you can easily load the Registry information of any other user in the Windows Registry editor to modify preferences there.
It is actually easy to load other Registry hives using the built-in Registry editor of the system. Let me show you how that is done.
First thing you need to do is start the editor. You do that by bringing up the run box with the keyboard shortcut Windows-R, typing regedit and tapping on the enter key afterwards.
Note that you may get a UAC prompt depending on security settings and the version of Windows that you are running which you need to accept.
Mark the HKEY_USERS folder in the Registry and select File > Load Hive from the menu at the top. Note that the Load Hive option may be grayed out if you have selected a different Registry root folder.
The default directory that opens is the directory of the user who is currently logged in. You need to browse to the user directory of the user account that you want to modify the Registry for. Those accounts are listed under the Documents and Settings folder in Windows Vista or the users folder if you are running Windows 7 or newer versions of the Windows operating system.
Open the folder and look for the file ntuser.data. The file is hidden by default and you may need to enable the display of hidden files or folders on your system before you can see and select the file.
Double-click on the file afterwards which loads it in the Registry editor as a subfolder of the HKEY_USERS folder there. You can then make changes to the Registry like you would normally do.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.