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Cannot Delete Properties: Error While Deleting Key

Earlier this week I got into a Windows registry mess because of issues syncing my iPhone with my Windows 7 laptop. For some reason the AutoPlay function stopped working so I had to get into the registry and manually delete some keys. Along the way I ran into Windows Registry Keys that I was unable to delete however by using the directions below you can delete any registry key. Please note that you should not modify anything in your Windows Registry without knowing what you are doing and also without making sure you have backed up the registry before you begin.

Error Attempting To Delete Windows Registry Key On Windows 7:

Cannot Delete Properties: Error While Deleting Key

Windows Registry Key Delete Error Text: Cannot delete properties. Error while deleting key.

To overcome the issue deleting Windows Registry Keys you need to modify the permissions of the registry keys. One of the tricks is the fact that you need to modify the owner as well as the permissions. The second trick is that you will need to do this recursively many times per tree because once you modify a section it may reveal sub keys that also need to have their permissions modified. Follow the directions below to delete Windows Registry Keys.

**NOTE** Make sure to back up your registry before making any changes. Do not modify your registry unless you know what you are doing an understand that if you delete the wrong key it could cause major issues with your Windows installation.

Delete Windows 7 Registry Keys By Modifying Key Permissions:

  1. Launch Registry Editor: First click the Windows start menu icon located in the lower left corner of your Windows PC and type “regedit” in the search field. This will display regedit.exe underneath Application in the results above where you type regedit. Click on regedit.exe to launch the Windows 7 Registry Editor as shown in the below example image.

    Windows 7 Registry Editor

  2. Locate Key: Now locate the registry key you want to delete such as “VID_05AC&PID_1297” which is being used in this example as shown below.

    Locate Windows 7 Registry Key

  3. Modify Registry Key Owner: With the registry key located we want to first modify the owner of this registry key and the registry keys that we can initially see underneath the primary one. Right click on the registry key and select Permissions from the pop up menu to display the Permissions configuration window as shown below.

    Windows 7: Registry Key Permissions

    Now click on the Advanced button displayed in the above window to show the Advanced Security Settings configuration window as shown below.

    Registry Key Advanced Permissions

    Once the Advanced Security Settings configuration window is open click the Owner tab to modify the owner of the registry key as shown in the below example image.

    Advanced Security Settings: Windows Registry Key

    Click the name for the username you are logged into Windows 7 with, put a check in the box next to “Replace Owner On Subcontainers And Objects”, and then click the Apply button to save the changes. You may receive a pop up error stating “Registry Editor could not set owner on the key currently selected, or some of its subkeys” as shown in the below example image. Don’t worry about this error as we are going to repeat the steps until this error is no longer received.

    Registry Editor Could Not Set Owner On The Key

  4. Modify Registry Key Permissions: After settings the owner we are now going to set the permissions for the Administrators group by first clicking back on the Permissions tab. After the Permissions tab is highlighted click the Add button to display the Select User or Group window as shown in the below example image.

    Select User Or Group: Windows 7

    Type Administrators into the window followed by the Check Names button to verify the Administrators group is valid as shown below.

    Add Administrators Group To Key Permissions

    Once validated click the OK button to open the Administrators permissions window as shown below.

    Registry Key Permission Entry

    Once the Permission Entry configuration window is open put a check in the box to the right of Full Control and below Allow to give full control to the Administrators group and then click the OK button to save the changes.

  5. Apply Registry Key Permissions: After adding the Administrators group you should now be back to the Permissions tab. Put a check mark in the “Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from the object” and remove the check from “Include inheritable permissions from the object’s parent”.

    Advanced Security Settings For Registry Key

    Now click the Apply button located in the lower right corner of the configuration window. A warning will pop up to make sure you want to modify the registry key warnings so when it does just click the Yes button to continue.

    Windows Security Warning About Registry Key Permissions

    After clicking the Yes button it is likely you will also receive another pop up message similar to the one received in step 3 above. Again don’t worry about the warning.

  6. Repeat Steps: Now repeat steps 3 through 5 above until you no longer receive the pop up warning “Registry Editor Could Not Set Security In the Key Currently Selected, or Some Of Its Subkeys”.
  7. Delete Registry Key: Once you no longer receive the error message you should be able to right click the Windows Registry Key you wanted to delete and select Delete from the pop up menu to completely delete the Key and all of its Subkeys.

You have to be very careful when modifying the Windows Registry so make sure to back things up before you begin modifying the Windows 7 Registry.

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