How to Backup and Restore Windows Registry

Whenever you work in the Windows Registry, it is always good to back it up first. That way, if something goes wrong, you have the option of restoring it. This article will tell you how to backup and restore the Windows Registry.

Essentially a centralized database, Windows Registry configures Windows NT and Windows 2000 and facilitates applications. A Registry entry in Windows 11/10 is a database that contains basic, machine-specific settings and stores information regarding almost everything in your Computer: tuning parameters, device settings, user preferences, applications, and so on.

However, Malware or other problems can corrupt a registry file, which can cause poor performance or even the operating system to crash. It is essential to Backup your Registry files regularly to restore them in the event of corruption.

How to Backup Registry in Windows

How to Backup and Restore Windows Registry

The Windows system registry consists of complex instructions and binary code collection. If the Registry becomes corrupted, the computer will not run. Therefore, to get rid of this, you need to follow the methods listed below:

  1. Backup Methods
    • Regedit
    • Command Prompt or Windows Terminal Method
  2. Restore Methods
    • Registry Editor
    • Automatic Repair
    • System Restore
    • Safe Mode
    • Reset

Let’s try them out one by one.

1] Back up the Windows Registry Using Regedit

Export Registry Backup

If anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to revert to a known good version if you regularly backup your Registry. You should also backup your Registry before making changes, creating new hives, or installing new drivers. You can create a backup by following these steps:

  • Press the Windows + R key on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type regedit in the Run dialog box and then press Enter.
  • Now that Registry Editor is open, work your way to the registry area you want to back up.
  • To back up the entire Registry, select Computer and right-click on it > Now choose Export.
  • Select the Registry key or hive that you want to back up a part of the Registry.
  • On the File menu, click Export.
  • Type a name you will remember in the File name box, such as Registry Backup.
  • Select the location where you want to export the registry file,
  • Click Save to create and save the backup.

Registry backups are saved with this extension: .reg

Elsewhere these are the formats in which you can save or back up your Registry:

  • A .reg registration file,
  • Registry Hive Files. It saves a binary image.
  • Text files that can be read in Notepad.
  • NT4 and Win9x formats.

Select your Export range and Save as type to save the backup and click on Save.

2] Back up the Windows Registry Using the Windows Terminal or CMD

Windows Terminal Registry Backup

You can export registry records by typing reg export in the Windows Terminal followed by the root key you wish to export. Scripts like these can be used to export multiple registry keys at once:

reg export HKCR C:\RegBack\HKCR.Reg /y

reg export HKCU C:\RegBack\HKCU.Reg /y

reg export HKLM C:\RegBack\HKLM.Reg /y

reg export HKU C:\RegBack\HKU.Reg /y

reg export HKCC C:\RegBackHKCC.Reg /y

Keep the backup file for a week until you are sure that your changes have not caused any problems.

How to Restore the Registry in Windows 11/10

If you export the Registry, you can always restore it and put it back in the same state as when it was exported. You can use this if you’ve made a mistake and want to restore the Registry to its original condition. You need to follow the given methods below to restore the Windows Registry in Windows 11/10:

  1. Registry Editor
  2. Automatic Repair
  3. System Restore
  4. Safe Mode
  5. Resetting the PC

Let’s follow them one by one.

1] Restore the Windows Registry Using Registry Editor

Following are steps to restore registry backup using the registry editor:

  • Press the Windows + R key on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type regedit in the Run dialog box > Press Enter.
  • Now that Registry Editor is open, work your way to the registry area you want to restore
  • On the File menu, click Import.
  • Next, browse to the location in which you saved the exported file. Select it, then click Open to import.

Alternatively, double-click the backed up .reg file to add it directly.

2] Restore the Windows Registry Using Automatic Repair

The automatic repair feature is included with newer versions of Microsoft Windows starting from Windows XP. Automatic repair attempts to fix invalid and corrupt registry entries when running it. Follow these steps to restore the Registry using automatic repair:

  • Press Windows + I key on the keyboard to open Windows Settings > Click on Update & Security
  • On the Advanced Startup panel > Click Restart now.
  • After the Computer reboots, click Troubleshoot on the Choose an option screen.
  • On the Advanced Options screen,> Click Automated Repair.
  • Choose an account and log in when prompted to do so.

Automatic Repair will start. Your Computer might reboot during this process.

3] Restore the Windows Registry Using System Restore

If anything goes wrong with your Windows PC at any point, you can restore it to a good point using the steps below.

  • Open Start Menu or Win + S. Search for Create a Restore Point and open it.
  • Go to the System Protection tab > Click on System Restore.
  • After this, follow the on-screen instructions to restore your Computer.

Let us see this in detail now.

  • Alternatively, you may open the Run box > Type rstrui.exe > Press Enter to open the System Restore.
  • The System Restore will open > Click on Next.
  • Select a Restore Point to which you want to restore your Computer, > Click Next.
  • Review and confirm the details > Click on Finish.
  • You will be prompted for confirmation > Click Yes to start the process.

Your Computer will be prepared for restoration when Windows accesses relevant files. Your PC will then restart. You will see the following message to confirm that your PC was successfully restored on the restart.

4] Restore the Windows Registry From Safe Mode

This method is the simplest one. Press the F8 key while turning on your Computer to boot Windows in Safe Mode. You can also start the Safe Mode option from MSCONFIG > Boot tab.

MSCONFIG Safe Mode

The Safe Mode mode helps ensure a stable system by loading a minimal environment that protects crucial files and drivers from corruption. After booting your computer into Safe Mode, run the following commands:

  • Press the Windows + R on your keyboard to open the Run window.
  • Type regedit in the Run dialog box > Press Enter.
  • Click on File menu > Import to import a registry file.
  • In the Import Registry dialog box, browse where you saved your backup file and click Open.

Alternatively, you can browse the backup location, right-click the file, and select Merge. The file will automatically be imported into your Computer’s Registry when you do.

5] Restore the Windows Registry by Resetting the PC

You can reset your PC in Windows 11/10 while leaving all your files intact. With this option, you can perform a complete refresh of your system files and possibly restore the Registry after a system crash. You need to follow these steps:

  • Press Windows + I key on the keyboard to open Windows Settings.
  • Go to Settings > Click Update and Security > Recovery (Windows 10).
  • In Windows 11, Go to System > Recovery. Click on it to get started.
  • In the Reset this PC section > Click Get Started > Keep My Files.
  • Click Next twice and then click Finish.

That’s all.

I hope this article will help back up and restore the Windows Registry in Windows 11/10.

What Is the Windows Registry Used For?

The Registry is a database that Windows uses to store information about various settings of windows, profiles for each user, application settings, and so on. Any other application can also use this to store its settings, activation keys, and so on.

What Happens if You Accidentally Delete Windows Registry?

It can result in breaking applications, paths, and even settings. One of the worst effects of deleting an essential part of the Registry is losing Windows access. The only way to get back Windows is by reinstalling everything if that happens.

Nandini Keshri is a student, writer, and tech enthusiast. When not writing about tech, she loves to write poetry and explore the world.

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