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How To Backup Restore Windows Registry

Thought I would take some time and explain the process of backing up and restoring the windows registry today. You can get yourself out of a lot of trouble by editing the registry, you can also get yourself into a whole world of hurt if you happen to make a mistake. For that reason you should always perform a backup of the registry before repairing any system or applying any changes.

Warning: Your system could become un-bootable or damaged by using the registry editor, you may end up re-installing your operating system. Modify the registry at your own risk. You can not hold SEO-Webz responsible if your system is damaged as a result of using the windows registry editor. Regedit: Regedt32: Those are the commands to run the registry editor supplied with windows operating systems. You can launch the registry editor by holding down the windows logo key on your keyboard and then push R at the same time | type in regedit or regedt32and then press enter on the keyboard.

Sometimes you will need special permissions to delete a registry key and or value, that is when you would use Regedt32 otherwise you can use Regedit to accomplish most tasks.

registry editor for backup and restore of the windows registry

To perform a full backup of the registry do the following:

  • Launch the Registry editor as described above.
  • There are a total of 5 Hives that we would like to backup. Click on the first Hive HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
  • Click on File
  • Click Export
  • In the save as type box choose Registry Hive Files Give the file a name and choose to save it in your documents folder or a backup hard drive. I always name the file backwards as to what it is. For example name the file
  • .

  • Notice the .hiv file extension, this way we know it is a registry hive file spelled backwards. That way we know exactly what it is.

I always choose to backup my registry using hive files because they over write existing reg files when imported. .reg files only merge the data with the existing registry. For example I could save my registry before disabling services, and while I was disabling windows vista services I pooched my computer and could only boot the system in safe mode. If I had saved the registry as .reg files I could restore those files with the current registry, problem is it would only merge the data with the existing data and would not over write the changes I made. By saving the files as .hiv files, I can now over write the current registry with the saved .hiv files and be back up and running in a few seconds.

If you get into trouble and need to restore the saved Hive files follow these steps.

  • Open the registry editor and click on the hive file in the left pane that you exported earlier.
  • Click on File
  • Click Import
  • Navigate to the location of the file on your hard drive you saved, in this example we called the file
  • If you agree with the Confirm Restore Key dialog box, click Yes.
  • Done.

You may also be interested in reading How To Defrag The Windows Registry