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I have a windows Vista system that had the underlying disk partitions changed. The number and logical location of the partitions didn't change as far as I can tell). When it boots up it says I need to restart immediately and then when I've restarted, the system has got confused as to where the logicacl disks are...

It's decided what used to be the D: drive is now the C: (with no Vista on it) and the old C: drive is now the E: drive. Needless to say, although it boots, it doesn't really work as it's now horribly confused... :(

I'm pretty sure the section of the Registry that deals with Logical drive letter to physical disk partition has got confused. So I'd like to be able to edit the registry immediately after I've restored from backup, but before I've booted. I've another bootable system on the machine (from which I'm typing this plea :) ) so I don't need "boot from CD" if there are other options.

RegEdit only seems to allow you to connect to a live registry on another machine. Is there any software that allows you to edit the hives directly (ie just like RegEdit only directly to the hives on disk)?

TIA, Paolo

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Run regedit,


File --> "Load Hive..."

The registry files are located in C:\Windows\System32\Config of the partition you are trying to edit.

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Thanks, MathewC! Did the trick... Once you'd shown me the "rick" to enabling Load Hive (it's only enabledif you select HKLM) it was almost a no-brainer... I had another (working) system on that machine. I restored the dameaged system from backup. I exported the MountedDrives key out of the working one, swapped a few drive letters around and imported into the damaged hive... Reboot and voila! It literally felt like "raising Lazarus from the dead"! – PaoloFCantoni Jun 9 '09 at 12:44
Hives can only be mounted under HKLM or HKU, that's when the "Load Hive..." command is available. – nray Jun 9 '09 at 12:55
Awesome. Glad it worked. – MathewC Jun 9 '09 at 13:56

Windows PE is your friend.

You can use it to make a customised boot CD with regedit on it that will let you access and modify the registry hives on your PC.

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Hi MH, Sounds just the shot. How do I create a Windows PE disk? Can I download an image from somewhere? The view of the MSDN website I got didn't suggest where to get it. I'm not on MSDN, though I might be able to get access via a mate. – PaoloFCantoni Jun 8 '09 at 11:18
You cna get it from here:… no MSDN or anything like that required. :) – Le Comte du Merde-fou Jun 8 '09 at 12:26

This MS article provides many alternative solutions:

Methods 3 or 4 may solve your problem, although none of them involves changing the registry hive directly as you were planning to.

Good luck.

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Hi Yves, Thanks for the pointer but I'm loathe to use it as I also have a WS2008 and Windows7 systems on the same machine. You link however, DID suggest that the problem may be a change of GUID with the machinations I performed. I'll have a look at the Windows PE solution suggested in the next answer. – PaoloFCantoni Jun 8 '09 at 11:15

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