Using the registry module

The examples here all refer to the registry module.

Copy one registry key to another

Copy an existing registry key to a new one and set the new key’s security so that only the current user has change rights and all other users have read-only. Finally, display the details of the new top-level key, including its security.

from __future__ import with_statement
from winsys import registry, accounts

new_key = registry.copy(r"HKLM\Software\Python", r"HKLM\Software\WinsysPython")

    with as sec:
        sec.dacl += [
           ("Users", "R", "ALLOW"),
           (, "F", "ALLOW"),

    print "***"


The functions in the registry module hand off any references to a registry key to the registry() function which is as accepting as possible. Here, we’re referring to the local machine (there’s no server-style \\ prefix in either moniker) and using the HKLM/HKCU shortcut styles. In fact the code would work equally well if a remote machine were to specified on either side, assuming that the necessary permissions were in place.

The method acts as a context manager, allowing a series of changes to the registry key’s security descriptor. Here we are breaking the inheritance which the new key has inherited automatically, without copying the existing permissions over first. Then we add a new DACL with just two permissions: allowing the logged-on user full control; and allowing all authenticated users read access. The 3-tuples are passed to the security.ace() function.

Finally, to demonstrate that the security has been applied, we call the registry key’s Registry.dump() method which produces useful information about the key and its security in a readable format.

Find a string in the registry

Search the registry under a particular root and find a value which contains the searched-for string. Output the registry key, the value name and the value itself.

from winsys import dialogs, registry

root, term = dialogs.dialog(
    "Search the Registry",
    ("Root", registry.REGISTRY_HIVE.keys()),
    ("Term", "")

root = registry.registry(root)
term = term.lower()
for key, subkeys, values in root.walk(ignore_access_errors=True):
    for name, value in values:
        if term in str(value).lower():
            print key.moniker.encode("utf8")
            print name.encode("utf8") or "(Default)"
            print unicode(value).encode("utf8")


We use dialogs.dialog() to select the root key and the string to search for. We then walk the registry from that key downwards, skipping over any keys or values to which we do not have access. When we find a value which matches our search term, we output the key name, value label and the value which matched.