Can't edit registry but have admin permissions

Posted on 2006-07-19
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Am running Windows XP Home SP2.  Am trying to change a file association in the registry using regedit.  ZIP extention files lost their association when I unistalled winzip and for some reason,

I'm unable to manually edit the registry using regedit.  I get the error message "Cannot Edit.  Error writing the value's new contents"

Have also tried the following from the command line:

"cmd /c assoc .zip=CompressedFolder" but get the error message "DllRegisterServer in zipfldr.dll failed.  Return code was 0x80004005"

Get the same thing when I try:

"regsvr32 zipfldr.dll"

I have admin rights - I installed the OS myself. Any ideas?  Thanks.
Question by:exp001
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 17143285
Have you tried just running this reg file to fix the .zip association?

You can actually open regedit just not able to edit it?

LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 17143905
You can edit the file associations in Windows Explorer via the Tools menu > Folder options > File Types tab.

Author Comment

ID: 17148292
I can open regedit but can't change the variables value.  Almost as if there are selective permissions being applied.  The error message dialog boxes I get are described in the original question above.  I can't change the associations via Win Explorer - the change won't stick.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 17150200
Have you set up any local policies on the PC? If so I would check them and make sure they are not restricting you in any way.

Do you have a backup of your computer or registry prior to this issue?
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 17150216
You could also try reinstalling winzip or some other compression utility (I recommend izarc from
This will reestablish the associations. You will still have the issue of not being able to edit the registry but the file association should be sorted.

Author Comment

ID: 17151320
Ok, i installed izarc (nice tool btw) and all file extensions and buttons on the file association tab were grayed out.  zip file association didn't work.  but thanks for the lead on what seems to be a reasonably good (and free) zip utility.
LVL 18

Accepted Solution

Rartemass earned 300 total points
ID: 17151455
No worries.

Try this:
Run regedt32.
Go to Security>Permissions.
You should be able to see what permissions you currently have.
If you cannot view the permissions or change your existing ones then something must be restriciting your account.

Log in with the administrator account. (press ctrl+alt+del twice on welcome screen to display Windows 2000 style login prompt)
Try to edit the registry again. If you can, then either ensure your user ID has full permissions via the Control panel users section, or recreate your main account with full priveliages.

Author Comment

ID: 17155137
solved the problem.  somehow (not by me), the permissions form the admin account were changed so that edits could not be made to the registry.  in regedit in the permissions menu, i reset the permissions to allow me to edit the entry and it work.  something somewhere changed this setting which concerns me a bit - perhaps one of my many utilities (zonealarm, nod32, spyware dr, etc.)?  anyway, thanks for the suggestions but i'm good to go now.

Rartemass - i'll give you the points since your suggestion is what i determined to be the problem independently.

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