Can't delete certain registry keys and Error while deleting key occurs

This article provides a resolution to solve the Error while deleting key error that occurs when trying to remove certain registry keys.

Applies to:   Windows Server 2012 R2
Original KB number:   2021860


You may get the following error message when trying to delete a registry key:

Error while deleting key


This issue can be caused if you attempt to delete a registry key that contains embedded null characters. These characters aren't visible when viewing the registry entry.


To delete a registry key that contains an embedded null character, you must first replace the null character with another character. You can accomplish this operation by using the RegDelNull v1.11 tool from Sysinternals.

More information

Usage: regdelnull <path> [-s]
-s Recurse into subkeys.

You can't manually create a registry entry with an embedded null character. This issue usually occurs because of a corrupt application installation or similar. Windows kernel may embed a NULL character in a string to form a complete key name. If this entry is accessed from user-mode, it's not possible to open the key containing the embedded null string.