How to edit HKEY_CURRENT_USER for another user

There are times when you need to edit HKEY_CURRENT_USER for another user without logging on as that user. Knowing how to do this can be very handy when troubleshooting group policy issues that affect user specific registry settings. User registry settings are stored in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry key which can only be viewed or edited by the logged on user account. However, an administrator can view and modify user specific registry settings by matching the account and the SID for that account. The Security Identifier (SID) is a unique name that is assigned by a Windows Domain controller during the login process that is used to identify a user.

The rest of this post describes the step by step process on how to identify and match the SID with the account so that an administrator can view and/or edit user registry settings. You must have local administrative permissions on the local machine in order to modify these registry settings.

  1. Connect to the remote computer’s registry using the REGEDIT command
  2. Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  3. Note the folders are named with the SID names of every users that has logged onto that computer
    hkey_current_user3
  4. Expand each folder and view at the “ProfileImagePath” key to identify the user profile associated with the SID folder
    hkey_current_user
  5. Once you’ve found the account or user profile that you are looking for, make a note of the SID folder name
  6. Expand the HKEY_USERS registry key and look for the SID folder that you have identified in step 4
    hkey_current_user2
  7. Now modify or view the registry settings you wish to change.

George Almeida

Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere. I'm an Information Technology manager for a Fortune 500 company. I specialize in Windows operating systems, applications, servers, storage, networks and also have a technical background on the IBM iSeries platform. My only purpose for this blog is the hope that it helps someone, someday, somewhere. Any meager proceeds derived from our sponsors will be donated to charity.

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8 Comments on "How to edit HKEY_CURRENT_USER for another user"

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Mahi
Guest

Thanks, this was very helpful

OhGonneck
Guest

This does not seem to work if the other user has administrative privileges. The SID under HKEY_USERS is just not there then.
Maybe it’s in another reg-file?

Adrian
Guest

An easier way to link the user’s SID with their username is to look to the HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlhivelist key.
There you can find the location for all users hive files and their SID. Also there you can see the location of the administrative users profile (like SYSTEM).

Mattia
Guest

Very clear and helpful George!! Congratulations for your site and thanks for sharing!! 🙂