How To Preserve Custom Registry Settings When Upgrade to Windows 10

Windows 10 automatic update has proven to be working very well during the current Windows 10 technical preview period. All your personal profile, documents and installed applications persist and work as expected after an upgrade to a new build. However, not all settings are preserved during the upgrade. If you have some special Registry settings changed prior to an upgrade, you will soon realize that those settings will be wiped out after the upgrade.

This guide will show you how to save/export your current customized Windows Registry settings and then import them back to a newly updated system.

Working with Windows Registry isn’t very straightforward. First and foremost is to figure out what Windows registry keys are modified and what needs to be backed up. If you ever attempted to back up any one root Windows Registry key like “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” you will realize the size of this key is over 400MB. That means, exporting the entire root key might not be a very good idea, and it will tend to lead to unexpected crash when restoring the registry key.

Luckily, we’ve covered tools that would help you to find out recently modified registry keys. This would help you to narrow down to the specific keys you’d need to back up. It’s important to note that not all keys modified recently need to be backed up. You want to find the keys that are only relevant to your own need. If you know exactly which keys to backup for then it becomes very obvious. The trick is to find the one.

An example of this is a popular keyboard mapping tweak SharpKeys that modifies Windows Registry for any custom keyboard binding. The location of the modified keys happen to be located under

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout

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Right-click on the key node to export.

To restore the backup, just double-click the .reg file you previously saved and you are all set. Last note, if none of the tools suggested are working the way you’d like, you can try RegScanner from NirSoft.

Jonathan Hu

Programming by day, Web Development, Canucks & Movies for spare time!
Co-founder of Next of Windows and a cool geek 🙂

Last updated: 05/19/2015

Posted in: How to , Tips & Tricks , Windows 10
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