Registry Editor Cannot Import File: How to Fix This Error?

By Puja Chatterjee on June 16, 2023

You will need to import files often, either to undo the changes you made to the Windows Registry or to enable a few specific features. However, there may be times when a specific file cannot be imported.

In such a situation, you will receive an error message saying “Registry Editor cannot import file.” However, there is nothing to worry about because the solutions for this error are pretty simple and few, as you will see when you read this article.


Why Can’t Windows Registry Editor Import File?

The most common reason for the Registry Editor being unable to import a file is issues with the encoding or formatting of the script itself.

In addition to an error-free script, it also requires adequate permission to open a file, without which you will encounter this error.

There are also other situations when such an error may be triggered. These are:

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So, as you can see, there are quite a few reasons why the Registry Editor is unable to open a file.

5 Ways to Fix the Registry Editor Cannot Import File Error

Fix the Registry Editor Cannot Import File

Some simple and quick fixes to the issue of Windows Registry not being able to import files include restarting the system in Safe Mode, using an administrator account, and taking full ownership of and offering adequate permissions to the registry key.

Running the reg import filename.reg command in the Command Prompt may also rectify the error. You will simply have to put in the name of the file that you want to import in place of ‘filename.’ Then close the command and restart your PC.

Some other ways that may fix the issue include:

Continue reading to learn more about these fixes.

Method 1: Import Directly from the Registry

If the file cannot be imported from elsewhere, try importing it from the Windows Registry itself. This will fix the issue easily and serve your purpose at the same time.


Right-clicking on registry editor and clicking on Run it as administrator

Registry Editor Import

Now, restart your computer.

Method 2: Run the System in Safe Mode

One of the easiest ways to ensure that all necessary permissions are available in the Registry Editor is to import the file in safe mode.



Selecting Safe Boot by clicking on the small box next to it

Now, while your system is in Safe Boot mode, merge the .reg file into the registry by double-clicking on it. You may also import it from the File menu of the Windows Registry as described in the previous method.

When you are done importing the required file, open the System Configuration window again, undo all changes that you have made to it, and boot your PC normally.

Method 3: Edit Entries in Notepad

In Notepad, you are not supposed to leave any space at the top. If you do, you will not be able to access or import the file, which you may have put on your desktop. (Suppose the file is called ‘hello.’)


File edit

Removing the space at the top of the page

You can place the cursor just before the first letter of the first line and hit backspace. Alternatively, you may also hit delete repeatedly, placing the cursor on the blank space until there is no space left.

Saving file

(Alternatively, you can simply press the Ctrl and S buttons on your keyboard together.)

Click on the file now, and you will see a confirmation window as shown below saying that the keys and values of it have been added to the registry and are on the relevant drive.

confirmation window as shown below saying that the keys and values

Method 4: Allow Full Control over All Packages

Sometimes the Registry Editor may not have full control over all packages and therefore cannot import a file. You will need to permit it to resolve the issue.


Registry Editor Permissions


Finally, click on the Apply button and then on the OK button.

Method 5: Set the Permissions Correctly in the Registry Editor

The permissions or privileges may not be adequate enough to import a particular file as well. In that case, you will need to set it right. Suppose the file is CLSID Windows contact 1 and is on the desktop.

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Go to the Registry Editor as above and then expand the following folders by clicking on the small arrow next to each of them:

Once you reach there, choose the CLSID folder.

Selecting Permissions from the drop-down menu

Permission for CLSID window

Advanced Security Settings for CLSID window

Select User or Group window

Advanced Security Settings for CLSID window

Clicking on Select a principal from the Permission Entry for CLSID window

Finally, click on the OK button and also close all windows by clicking on the respective OK buttons.

Now try to access the files, and you will see that the issue has been resolved.


The Windows Registry cannot import files is an error that is quite common.

With the fixes mentioned above, you will find it very easy to rectify this error and put things back on track.

Since there are both simple and complex fixes for this issue, one or the other would surely work for your particular case.