How to fix the Registry Editor error: cannot import file

  • Users encounter a “Cannot import files” error in the registry editor.
  • This is not a serious problem, with some tweaks and checks you can easily solve the problem.
  • The error is caused by corrupted system files that affected the Registry Editor’s import capabilities.
  • Back up, restore, and edit registry files before you get started to get the most out of your Windows operating system.
  • Back up your data to the cloud or an external hard drive.

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The registry editor is a graphical tool for setting up databases of software and hardware information, settings, options, and other values. If you are a regular Windows user, you probably already know it. Windows or other applications can be configured using the registry editor. Unfortunately, users sometimes encounter a “Cannot import files” error. Our goal today is to solve these issues and give you practical solutions.

Windows, however, has some problems with it. The user reports that the registry editor cannot import a REG file. As well as creating, deleting, modifying and restoring corrupted registry keys, you can also create, delete, and modify registry keys and subkeys. Windows can be configured using the registry editor, but there is a problem with editing many REG files that prevents users from doing so. This problem is not serious, you can easily resolve it with some tweaks and checks.

What causes the “Registry editor can’t import file” error

This message can be caused by several common scenarios, which we have examined from reports of users and their recovery strategies.

  • Registry file has no administrative rights: This scenario is quite common with recent/new Windows installations. If the registry editor is not already open, likely, the program does not have the necessary permissions to merge the .reg file with the current registry.
  • The error is caused by corrupted system files: there are confirmed cases where this error occurred due to a series of corrupted system files that affected the Registry Editor’s import capabilities.

Two proven solutions (System Restore and Installation Restore) can be applied to this problem if this is the case. Several proven steps to fix this error message are provided in this article if you are having trouble resolving it. Several troubleshooting methods used to solve problems similar to yours can be found in the next section.

If you are having trouble finding a solution that fits your current situation, follow the methods below until you find one that works.

To solve the “Cannot import file” error in the Registry Editor

Updated: March 2024

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It’s important to remember that these methods require a new .REG file, which you can find on the registry files pages of the Windows system.


We recommend that you become familiar with backing up, restoring, and editing registry files before you get started. This will also help you correct errors and adjust settings in the future to get the most out of your Windows operating system. Note that these files are important not only for the functioning of third-party applications and systems but also for the Windows operating system itself. If you don’t back them up properly, it can lead to a lot of problems. You may have to reinstall the entire operating system, which you don’t want to do. Also, back up your data to the cloud or an external hard drive. And always use safe mode for such tasks.


The best way to prevent registry issues is to stay away from sites that are unknown, malicious, or shareware programs. Avoid new or unknown websites, torrents, and shareware programs.

It is important to note that we are discussing system-level changes here, and this is something you do not want to take lightly. You can confirm the extension of the file by right-clicking on it, choosing Properties from the context menu, and selecting the correct file format.


An error message appears when you import a registry file?

  1. In Notepad or another text editor, open the .reg file and check if it contains a blank line at the beginning.
  2. Don’t change code values in the registry if you are not sure how to do it. If an empty line appears, delete it, save the file, and import it again.


The registry editor cannot be used on desktop computers without having admin rights assigned to your account by your IT administrator.

This will solve the “Cannot import filename.reg.” error as long as the permissions for the registry keys are set correctly.

When I update Windows, the agent does not change the settings for Give me updates for other Microsoft Products.

You will need administrator privileges if you are using a personal computer. Try importing the registry file again through the Finder menu.


Is it important to know where the registry files are stored on your computer?

When importing registry files, the user account should have full access to the drive where the file is stored since it requires administrator privileges and access. Logging in to Windows under an administrator account is sufficient on personal computers. Contact the administrator of the computer you are using for a desktop or corporate environment.


You cannot modify registry entries with a regular user account. You must grant permission through the registry editor. Navigate to the folder structure where the registry file is to be imported, and click the Edit button.

  1. Below are screenshots showing the Registry file imported into the Security folder using the ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESECURITY folder, as an example.
  2. Using the menu, click Edit and select Permissions after navigating to the appropriate folder on your computer.
  3. To view the advanced options, click the Advanced button in the pop-up window.
  4. Find your username under the Access tab and make sure it is fully controlled. There are different kinds of users with different access levels.
  5. The access control for any entry can be modified by double-clicking it, or by clicking the Add button in the Permissions tab.
  6. By selecting the top folder, you will be able to access all the files and folders below it (called keys and values technically).

RECOMMENATION: Click here for help with Windows errors.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Open an Explorer window (Explorer.exe).
  2. Navigate to the .reg file you want to import.
  3. Double-click the file.
  4. Click Yes to confirm the import.
  5. You can do the same in the Registry Editor by going to File > Import.

To get it working, you need to run it from an elevated CMD window - press Windows + R, type "cmd" and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open a command-line window with administrator privileges. This procedure should have bypassed the "Registry Access Error" error.

  1. Open Start.
  2. Find Regedit, right-click on the first result and select Run as administrator.
  3. Click the File menu and select the Import option.
  4. Navigate to the location where you want to save the backup registry file.
  5. Select the file.
  6. Click the Open button.

  1. Open File Explorer, then ProgramData (this is a hidden folder).
  2. Go to this path: C: ProgramData \ Live [Current Live Version] \ Program.
  3. Right-click the Ableton application.
  4. Select Properties > Compatibility.
  5. Make sure the "Run this program as an administrator" checkbox is unchecked.

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Mark Ginter is a tech blogger with a passion for all things gadgets and gizmos. A self-proclaimed "geek", Mark has been blogging about technology for over 15 years. His blog,, covers a wide range of topics including new product releases, industry news, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your devices. If you're looking for someone who can keep you up-to-date with all the latest tech news and developments, then be sure to follow him over at Microsoft.