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Thread: Please help ... got the infamous registry 'Error while opening key' error

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  1. #1
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    Please help ... got the infamous registry 'Error while opening key' error

    Can someone please help ? I'm running XP home with SP2 on a Toshiba laptop, with all updates up to a couple of months ago. I have ZoneAlarm Pro, Avira Antivirus running, and do an Adaware and Spybot check at least twice a week. I consider myself to be VERY Windows savy, but this one has me stumped.

    I'm getting the following error: 'Cannot open xxxx: Error while opening key.' I'm getting it on all subkeys (IMAIL, MAPI, and MSFS) under the following key: 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE_SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows|Cur rentVersion\Run\OptionalComponents
    This condition is keeping me from installing any XP updates or any new Windows software (any install results in 'Error 1402. Could not open key ..." error message).
    It appears to be a permission problem, but I cannot change the permission of any of the subkeys. I even did a Safe Mode startup and loged on as Administrator and was still unable to change permissions, view them, or delete them

    I have tried every trick I can find on the web, including:
    1. Safe mode/Administrator ... did not work
    2. RegDelNull.exe ... thinking they might be nul entries
    3. ran RootKitReleaver.exe ... did not show anything
    4. all the Microsoft support articles I could find, including
    a. 236427 'Error 1402. Could not open key" error message ...'
    b. 310353 '... start XP in a clean boot state'

    The web is full of forum entries for this type of problem, BUT in almost all cases the 'expert' reply is to change the permissions. Are there any guru's out there that want to tackle this one ??
    ... THANKS in advance !!

  2. #2
    Mod w/ an attitude Sterling_Aug's Avatar
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    I put together a BartPE CD with a remote registry editor just for this purpose.

    BartPE system

    Remote Registry Loader


    It sounds like you are infected with something that is blocking you from updating Windows.

    Try Adware Away and Counterspy to clean up the system. Adaware is almost useless as protection and cleanup.

  3. #3
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    THANKS for the quick (and promising) reply !!

    I downloaded BartPE, built and ran the bootable CD. I then clicked Start/Run and fired up regedit. I did not see the subkey 'Run' under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE_SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\ ... am I looking at my normal XP registry or the registry that is used under BartPE ?? If the BartPE one, how do I get to my (bad) XP registry. If I'm looking at my XP registry, what happened to the Run key ??

    Thanks ... dave

  4. #4
    Mod w/ an attitude Sterling_Aug's Avatar
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    You were looking at the BartPE registry not the remote registry on drive C.

    You need to download and install the Remote Registry Loader from the link I included above. Extract the files into the BartPE Plugin folder as its own folder. Then build a new copy of BartPE CD iso file and burn a new CD. The registry loader will then be on the menu.

  5. #5
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    Between my last post and your last post I built BartPE CD with RegeditPE 1.0a. Ran it and when the remote (c:\Windows\system32\config\...) registry was loaded the IMAIL subkey disapeared leaving only MAPI and MSFS. I had the same problem with the same error I had with regedit under XP. Unable to delete them, edit them, or change their permissions. Same 'Cannot open xxxx: Error while opening key' error.

    I then built another BartPE CD with Remote Registry Loader (loadhive.exe) ... tried it ... SAME error as with RegeditPE ... same error as with regedit under XP.

    DRATS ... DRATS ... thought we had something there for a while.

    Any other ideas ?? Want me to eMail you a copy of my XP registry ?? If so, let me know the exact file name.

    ... thanks ... dave

  6. #6
    Mod w/ an attitude Sterling_Aug's Avatar
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    Try running Adware Away and Counterspy.

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