How To Backup the Windows Registry in XP, Vista or Windows 7


In this tutorial you will learn how to backup the Registry on a Windows computer.  Having a backup of your registry is extremely important if you plan to make any manual settings changes to the Registry, because if you make a mistake while messing around with the Registry it can cause severe problems with you PC and make it virtually unusable.  So by having a good working backup copy of the Registry, you'll be able to restore the registry to its previously backed up state if something does occur after editing the Windows Registry.

Backing up the registry on either a Windows XP, Vista or 7 computer is very similiar. The only difference really is how you open up the Registry Editor on Windows XP versus Windows Vista (& 7).  The one thing to keep in mind, is that you must be logged on as an administrator to perform the following steps to backup the Windows Registry. If you aren't logged in as an administrator, you'll only be able to change settings that apply to your user account. 

To get started here's how to open the Registry Editor and then make an entire backup copy of your Windows Registry:

  1. On a Windows Vista (or 7) computer, click the Start button, then type regedit into the search box, and press Enter.‌ (You may be prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.)  If you're running Windows XP, click Start, then click Run, and then in the Open box, type regedit, and click OK.

  2. The Registry Editor should now be open.

  3. In the Registry Editor, click the File menu, and then click Export.  (Note: This will export the entire registry for your Windows computer. In my case, the registry (.reg) file size was a little over 500MB).  If you don't want to export the entire registry, you can locate and click an individual key or subkey that you'd like to back up, then click the File menu and click Export.

  4. The Export Registry File box will pop-up.  Choose the location where you want to save the backup file to (in this case, I'm saving it to the Desktop), then in the File name box, name the backup file something like "Registry_Backup_1-27-2010".  Be sure that Export range radio button is designated as All.  If you only want to export a specific branch of the registry, then make sure to change the Export range radio button selection to Selected branch.

  5. Click the Save button.

That's all... You should now see the exported backup copy of the Registry (.reg) file on your desktop (or where every you decided to save the registry file to your computer).



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