Load or Unload Registry Hives

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2


Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on your computer.


If you make a mistake that results in your computer not starting properly, you can restore the registry. For instructions, see Restore the Registry.

Loading a registry hive

To load or unload registry hives, use Registry Editor. The Load Hive… and Unload Hive… commands affect only the HKEY_USERS and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE keys and are active only when these predefined keys are selected.

When you load a hive into the registry, the hive becomes a subkey of one of these keys.

To load a hive into the registry

  1. Open Registry Editor.

  2. Click either the HKEY_USERS key or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.

  3. On the File menu, click Load Hive….

  4. Find the hive you want to load and click it.

  5. Click Open.

  6. In Key Name, type the name that you want to assign to the hive and then click OK.

Unloading a registry hive

To unload a registry hive

  1. Open Registry Editor

  2. Select a hive that you have previously loaded onto your system

  3. On the File menu, click Unload Hive….