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  1. #1
    Silver Lounger Duchess843's Avatar
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    Can't remove a registry entry

    I have a program in the registry that cannot be deleted. I did a Google Search and found "Error removing registry key" authored by Support.microsoft.com that advised a file from Sysinternals called RegDelNull.zip be downloaded and installed which I unzipped to my desktop.

    It's a command-line utility and I don't know how to use a command line prompt.

    Please advise me about how to run this particular command. I know how to reach .cmd but from there it's all Greek to me.

    Thanks,

    Gloria
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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Gloria,

    You need to know the drive/directory where you unzipped the program to. Once you have that information open your command prompt {I'd open the command prompt as Administrator}. Then at the prompt ">" Type: d:\path\RegDelNull.exe parameters [Enter]
    Where:
    d: is the drive letter and
    path is the folder path where you unzipped the file.

    If the program has any parameters, like the registry key to delete you would add that after adding a space to the command above.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  3. #3
    Platinum Lounger
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    I'd be asking why you can't remove a registry entry. If it's a permission thing you just change permissions. If it keeps coming back I'd be checking to see what puts the entry in the registry.

    cheers, Paul

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    Silver Lounger Duchess843's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Gloria,

    You need to know the drive/directory where you unzipped the program to. Once you have that information open your command prompt {I'd open the command prompt as Administrator}. Then at the prompt ">" Type: d:\path\RegDelNull.exe parameters [Enter]
    Where:
    d: is the drive letter and
    path is the folder path where you unzipped the file.

    If the program has any parameters, like the registry key to delete you would add that after adding a space to the command above.
    RG, let me see if I understand just what you are saying. Do I enter the word 'parameters' at the end?
    If I knew what parameters are I probably would not need to ask the question.
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    Silver Lounger Duchess843's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    I'd be asking why you can't remove a registry entry. If it's a permission thing you just change permissions. If it keeps coming back I'd be checking to see what puts the entry in the registry.

    cheers, Paul
    It was not a permission thing, just when I hit delete I got a message that this key could not be deleted.
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    Platinum Lounger
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    Yep, that's a permission thing. Can you tell us what key it is before we tell you how to delete it?

    cheers, Paul

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    New Lounger
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    I'm having the same problem. The key is HKLM\Software\Xanthic
    No idea what this program is/was and it's showing up as obsolete withjv16 Power Tools 2011.

    Any help would be appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrms View Post
    I'm having the same problem. The key is HKLM\Software\Xanthic
    No idea what this program is/was and it's showing up as obsolete withjv16 Power Tools 2011.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    try using REGEDIT and change the security permissions on the key.

    Joe

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    Duchess843, I suggest you don't remove it. Hidden and protected registry keys are used by some programs to store their registration information, so if you removed it you'd need to then systematically test every single program on your computer and reinstall any that didn't work (and if the program in question was installed by your original equipment manufacturer, that could be very complicated).

    > I have a program in the registry that cannot be deleted.

    No program is stored in the registry, only pathnames of programs. In spite of the hype spouted by some manufacturers of registry cleanup tools, removing even redundant registry keys will almost always cause zero improvement to the speed or stability of your computer. And removing all the registry keys found with about any cleanup program can and eventually probably will damage your system. The latter is because all registry cleanup programs are imperfect at detecting the syntax of some less commonly used registry value formats and sometimes complex pathname syntaxes, and also because (see my first para above) some valid registry entries are not meant to be understood or manually changed or removed by the average user.

    I occasionally run a registry cleanup program myself, but have familiarised myself with registry and partition backups, and thoroughly google any unknown registry entry before I remove it. Expect to spend in the vicinity of 30 minutes to 2 hrs research per registry key before knowing it's safe to remove, if you do it this way. And often there's disagreement amongst board posters on whether a key is valid or not.

    If you can't use the commandline without explicit assistance, then to be blunt I don't think you your technical skills is sufficient to be safely editing the registry at all. What will you do for instance if you make a mistake and cause your computer to become completely inoperative (it only takes one typo of the wrong sort to do this while working on the registry)?

    If you run one (or more, to be thorough) of the many reputable spyware detection programs such as Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and Spyware Doctor (never install any similar program recommended by a webpage advertisement by the way as some are scams) they will offer to clean up this entry for you, if it's spyware. Otherwise, "if it works, don't fix" it is a great rule when dealing with Windows.

  10. #10
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    Gloria -

    You have received some useful information here. Personally, my tendency is to suggest that unless someone feels competent to deal with any unintended consequences of mucking with the registry, that they just leave well enough alone, as BigBadSteve has suggested. However, if it isn't a privacy issue for you, you might receive some additional guidance if you felt comfortable letting us know what program reference you are wanting to delete.

    I say this because if it is a reference to a system file, some here might be able to tell you in advance what the results of your deletion would be and may be able to advise you as to the safety of that deletion. If not a reference to a system file, is it a reference to a program that you intentionally installed, or one that was pre-installed, or that was installed without your knowing/permission? Do you know the function of the file?? If you felt comfortable sharing the exact file name (and function of the file/program, if you know it), that would probably be most useful to others who might be able to further lend you a hand with this.

    Robert....

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    Silver Lounger Duchess843's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Yep, that's a permission thing. Can you tell us what key it is before we tell you how to delete it?

    cheers, Paul
    Sorry to be so late replying, I got side traced by more important things.

    The key is for McAfee, (it's the only one left in the registry) HKLM\Software\McAfee/

    The error message generated when I tried to delete it was: Error opening key. McAfee cannot be opened. An error is preventing this key from being opened.. Details: The system cannot find the file specifed.

    Would changing permissions affect keys that are labeled as errors? I've never been successful changing permissions, perhaps you can give me step-by-step instructions.

    Thanks for your interest,

    Gloria
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    Silver Lounger Duchess843's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAL77 View Post
    Gloria -

    You have received some useful information here. Personally, my tendency is to suggest that unless someone feels competent to deal with any unintended consequences of mucking with the registry, that they just leave well enough alone, as BigBadSteve has suggested. However, if it isn't a privacy issue for you, you might receive some additional guidance if you felt comfortable letting us know what program reference you are wanting to delete.

    I say this because if it is a reference to a system file, some here might be able to tell you in advance what the results of your deletion would be and may be able to advise you as to the safety of that deletion. If not a reference to a system file, is it a reference to a program that you intentionally installed, or one that was pre-installed, or that was installed without your knowing/permission? Do you know the function of the file?? If you felt comfortable sharing the exact file name (and function of the file/program, if you know it), that would probably be most useful to others who might be able to further lend you a hand with this.

    Robert....
    Robert, It's not a system file, the programs name is McAfee. I think almost everyone knows what McAfee is. It is indeed, a program that I removed because I had no further use for it. I don't 'muck' around with system files or keys.
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    Silver Lounger Duchess843's Avatar
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    You're right, I should have used the word key instead of program. Removing keys that belong to programs that I have installed and removed are not that complicated. I don't need a course in computing nor read a book to do this simple task. I'm 10 times removed from being a geek, but I do have common sense and just enough computer smarts to get myself in trouble on occassion.
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  14. #14
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    try using REGEDIT and change the security permissions on the key.

    Joe
    No good, cannot even open the entry, or change permissions. And according to permissions I have full access. Key is labeled as HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Xanthic\{1246792F-C12E-81AE-FE96-35D2FC917677}

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    Gloria -

    I'm far from qualifying for geekdom myself, wasn't meaning to speak derogatorily in suggestion about "not mucking around with the registry", just a good thing to mention in case someone isn't aware of the possible consequences if things go wrong there.

    Anyhow, identifying the key as a MacAffee key may help matters. I'm speculating here, but it wouldn't surprise me if security applications might want to make some of their registry entries difficult to remove, just as a "self-defense" measure against malware etc. The suggestion that you mentioned you had received in your first post, regarding Sysinternals RegDelNull utility may indeed help, if MacAfee inserted a Null Character in that key, to fortify it against deletion by malware.

    Since you've already downloaded RegDelNull you may as well give it a try and see if that is indeed the problem here. To run command line programs you use Cmd.exe. Cmd.exe has to be able to find RegDelNull to run it, so easiest thing to do is before running cmd.exe just copy your downloaded RegDelNull to your root directory (C:\) so that you can easily tell cmd.exe that it's located there (or just leave it wherever you downloaded it to, and use its full path on disk instead of "C:\").

    You should have a copy of cmd.exe located in C:\Windows\System32 (if not there, do a windows search for its location on disk). Right-click cmd.exe and choose "Run As Administrator". Enter your admin password and a little mostly blank window will pop up. You need to tell cmd.exe (1)the path to the program you want it to run, (2)the registry key to search in, and (3)any additional parameters you want RegDelNull to implement. So if you've moved RegDelNull to location C:\ and you wanted it to search in registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE you would type, for example
    C:\regdelnull hklm -s
    Then hit [Enter].

    The -s parameter tells regdelnull to additionally search all subkeys of HKLM, recursively.

    RegDelNull will then search that registry key (and all it's subkeys) and return a list of any keys it has found that have Null characters embedded within them, and ask you whether you want to delete any of those. If it lists your MacAfee key there, you're in luck - delete it and that should be that. When you're done using cmd.exe, just type "exit" (and hit [Enter] to properly close it.

    Good luck, and let us know if that worked for you...
    Last edited by RAL77; 2011-09-11 at 02:37.

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to RAL77 For This Useful Post:

    Duchess843 (2011-09-11)

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