How to break into registry to explore HKLM\\SAM and HKLM\\SECURITY keys?

by [Published on 16 July 2008 / Last Updated on 3 July 2008]

This article explains how you can use Psexec.exe to execute registry editor to explore SAM and SECURITY registry hives.

The Registry Editor will not allow you to navigate through HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SECURITY hives. These hives are protected by the System Account and currently logged on user or member of Administrators Group do not have permissions to view them.

To view the the registry entries under SAM or SECURITY hive, you need to run the Registory Editor under the security context of System Account. To run Registry Editor under the security context of System Account, use the following command with Psexec.exe:

Psexec.exe –s –i regedit.exe

Psexec.exe can be downloaded at the following URL: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896649.aspx.

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The Author — Nirmal Sharma

Nirmal Sharma avatar

Nirmal Sharma is a MCSEx3, MCITP, and was awarded Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. In his spare time, he likes to help others and share some of his knowledge by writing tips and articles for various online communities. Nirmal can also be found contributing to PowerShell based Dynamic Packs for ADHealthProf.ITDynamicPacks.Net solutions.

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