Protecting the registry via export

Posted On 2009-11-25 by FortyPoundHead
Tags: Tutorial Tip Windows 7 Vista Windows XP
Views: 1551

If you do not regularly back up your computer, shame on you. Especially if you are making registry changes to enhance your system. Use these steps to make quick backups of the registry, just in case something goes awry. I can't leave the registry alone. I am always exploring, testing, and generally mucking things up to find out how it works. I learned a long time ago to keep important information in an alternate location. Usually in several alternate locations, just because I have bad luck. Another thing I've relied on is making exports of the registry. By exporting the registry, or portions of it, you can readily re-import the affect areas to back out any changes that might have not worked as you expected. Exporting the Entire Registry to a .reg File Exporting the entire registry might be a bit overkill, but I've included it here for those of us that are, shall I say, a bit paranoid. The resultant .reg file can be rather sizeable. An average system can generate a .reg file around 200 megabytes. My personal experience is around 350 megabytes, but I have *lots* of software installed.

  1. Open the Registry Editor.
  2. Select File, Export to display the Export Registry File dialog box.
  3. Select a location for the file.
  4. Use the File Name text box to type a name for the file.
  5. Activate the All option.
  6. Click Save.

Exporting a Key to a .reg File

This is the option that most folks will use. By exporting just the key that you are working with, the file is *much* smaller and manageable.

  1. Open the Registry Editor and select the key you want to export.
  2. Select File, Export to display the Export Registry File dialog box.
  3. Select a location for the file.
  4. Use the File Name text box to type a name for the file.
  5. Activate the Selected Branch option.
  6. Click Save.

Importing a .reg File

So, you've totally mucked up your settings. Thankfully, you've taken a backup via one of the methods above. Here's how you re-import it.

  1. Open the Registry Editor.
  2. Select File, Import to display the Import Registry File dialog box.
  3. Find and select the file you want to import.
  4. Click Open.
  5. When Windows 7 tells you the information has been entered into the Registry, click OK.

You also can import a .reg file by locating it in Windows Explorer and then double-clicking the file.

WARNING! Don't start randomly clicking on .reg files that you find hanging around on your system! You could inadvertently import incorrect settings, and *really* hose things up. Be sure to inspect .reg files with notepad (right click, open with, notepad), and fully understand the changes that are being made, before importing the file.

These methods also work with Vista and Windows XP.

About the Author

FortyPoundHead has posted a total of 1974 articles.

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