Dealing with Python errno 13 Permission Error While Reading Windows 10 Registry Hive

What will you learn?

Discover how to effectively manage Python permission errors (errno 13) when attempting to read the Windows 10 registry hive.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

Encountering a common challenge where a Python script faces difficulty reading the Windows 10 registry hive due to a permission error (errno 13) is not uncommon. This error arises due to insufficient permissions for accessing specific system resources. The solution lies in adjusting the script’s permissions or running it with elevated privileges.

To overcome this obstacle seamlessly, leverage specialized Python libraries that facilitate interaction with the Windows registry while gracefully handling any permission-related issues.


import winreg

# Specify the key path in the Windows Registry 
key_path = r"Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion"

    # Open a connection to the specified key for reading
    with winreg.OpenKey(winreg.HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, key_path, 0, winreg.KEY_READ) as key:
        # Read and print out the value of a specific entry within the key
        value = winreg.QueryValueEx(key, "ProgramFilesDir")

except PermissionError as e:
    print(f"Permission Error: {e}")

# Copyright PHD


  • Import the winreg module to access functions interacting with the Windows Registry.
  • Define key_path containing a specific registry key path.
  • Use winreg.OpenKey() to open a reading connection at a designated registry key.
  • Retrieve and display an entry’s value within that key using winreg.QueryValueEx().
  • Handle encountered PermissionError exceptions by displaying an appropriate message.
    How do I identify if I am receiving an errno 13 permission error?

    Receiving an errno 13 permission error in Python indicates inadequate rights or privileges required for accessing certain resources like files or system components.

    Can modifying file permissions help resolve errno 13 issues?

    Adjusting file permissions can sometimes resolve these issues. Ensure your script has necessary read/write/execute permissions based on its access requirements.

    Is running my script as an administrator always recommended when facing such errors?

    Running your script as an administrator should be approached cautiously. It grants elevated privileges that could potentially harm your system if misused. Only elevate permissions if absolutely necessary after exploring other solutions.

    Are there alternative methods besides adjusting file permissions or running as admin?

    Yes, utilizing built-in modules like ‘os’ and ‘subprocess’ may offer workarounds without requiring escalated privileges. However, these approaches might have limitations depending on access needs.

    How can I proactively prevent such permission errors?

    Implementing robust code that anticipates potential exceptions like PermissionError can help prevent runtime interruptions caused by insufficient access rights. Incorporate proper exception handling mechanisms throughout your scripts.


    Mastering how to address errno 13 permission errors when interacting with critical system resources stored within Windows registries is crucial for seamless application operation. By integrating effective exception handling techniques into our scripts and adopting suitable user-permission strategies proactively, we ensure optimal performance free from unexpected obstacles related to inadequate resource accessibility concerns.

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