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The registry

Adam asked this question on 8/12/2012. It has been viewed 598 times, and is currently resolved.

How do I backup the Windows Registry?

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Answer from dwirch on 8/12/2012

Registry is a very important part of Windows. It is the place where Windows stores information about hardware and software installed on your computer. Whenever you add or remove a device, install a new software product, change a device settings, modify options for a program - all these changes (and others, too) are written by Windows into the registry.

Of course, the best way to backup the registry is to use your favorite backup software that you normally use to backup your documents (You do have such a tool, dont you?). Please refer to the documentation to your backup software for information on how to use it to backup the registry. The following information may be of help if you want to set up the backup configuration manually:

Physically, the registry of a Windows Me, 98, or 95 computer consists of a number of files. To backup the registry, you must backup its key files. The following two files are the core components of the registry; they are always present in the Windows folder (usually, C:\Windows):

System.dat

contains mostly information about the hardware configuration of the computer.

User.dat

contains mostly information about the software installed on the computer.

In addition, if user profiles are enabled, the user-specific parts of the registry are stored in separate User.dat files, one per user. (These files are usually located in folders C:\Windows\Profiles\user_name.) Whenever a user logs on to the system, Windows restores the specific settings for this user by merging the user-specific User.dat file with the generic User.dat file.

It is important to backup the registry before making any significant changes to your system. You can backup the registry by making copies of the files mentioned above. If you need to restore the registry, replace its existing files with the copies you have saved during backup.

There are many tools that can be used for this purpose, and Windows itself now includes such tools. Search Windows Help or Microsoft online support web site for System Restore, Registry Checker, ERD or Emergency Repair Disk for more information.

You can back up the registry with the Registry Checker tool. To run it, press the Start button on the Windows taskbar, then choose Run and enter SCANREG as the command line. For more information about Registry Checker, refer to Windows Help or visit Microsoft technical support web site.

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