XP, Vista, and Windows 7: Backup or Restore the Registry

Posted December 9, 2003 by AlexTheBeast in Microsoft Vista, Windows, Windows 7

This tech-recipe explains how to backup and restore your registry. This works on all modern versions of Windows.

This tutorial has been tested on most versions of Windows including XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Disclaimers: Importing the *.reg backup file does not alter additions to the registry that are not referenced in the *.reg backup file. Therefore, if you have added a new key or value since the backup, the backup file will not remove this new key or value. Under these circumstances using system backup or system restore are better options. See this recipe for more information:

Using System Restore and System Backup

Anytime you edit your registry, you should backup your old working registry first. Registry errors can be difficult to fix so knowing how to backup and restore is key.

Exporting the Registry:

1. Under the Start menu select Run

In vista, you’ll need to hit winkey+R to open the Run box.

2. Open Regedit and select OK
3. In regedit go to the File Menu and select Export
4. The export window will open.
5. Under export range select All
6. Under file name, put an appropriate name.
7. Save as file type Registration Files (*.reg)
8. Click save

Example screenshot in vista:

Screenshot showing how to backup registry in Vista.

You can Restore the registry in several different methods:

Safest:

1. Under the Start menu select Run
2. Open Regedit and select OK
3. In regedit go to the File Menu and select Import
4. The import window will open.
5. In this window navigate to your registry backup file and click on it.
6. Select Open

Quicker methods:

By double clicking on a *.reg file, you can add its contents to the registry with a single confirmation box. Right clicking on a *.reg file and selecting Merge will perform a similiar process.

As previously noted, better methods of backup include XP’s System Backup and System Restore. Information about those methods can be found here:
Using System Restore and System Backup

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