Properly Backing Up Your Registry in Windows 7 or 8

Whenever we see a trick that involves the Registry change, we often see the kind of disclaimer warning us the danger of registry change and recommending us backing up our registry data first before making any change. But what the disclaimer often missed is how to back them up quickly and properly.

What they often refer to when it comes to backing up registry, they meant to export. While exporting the registry settings before making any change works, sometimes it’s not efficient, or is not good enough to restore back the old settings.

Considering how critical Registry is to Windows, you should always be cautious before making any changes to it and ensure whatever you do to it can be easily reversed or restored back to the previous safe and good state. The best way to do that is to have a good back up. And the best way to have a good back up of your registry, is to smartly use System Restore.

System Restore, once turned on, automatically creates a snapshot of your entire system, including the Registry, every time when it detects a change to your system, such as an app or driver update. The snapshot then can be used later on to revert your system to that point when needed.

To use System Restore before you make a registry change, go to Control PanelSystem and Security → System → System Protection (Figure 1).

Figure 1 - System Protection in System Properties

Figure 1 – System Protection in System Properties

And click Create… button to manually fire up the System Restore wizard to create a Restore Point (Figure 2).

Figure 2 - Create restore point.

Figure 2 – Create restore point.

Once it’s done, you are safe to make any changes you want to the Registry, good or bad, without worrying about damaging your system.

The other benefit of using System Restore to back up the Registry is that even if a bad Registry edit makes the whole system unbootable, you can still use the Windows Restore to perform the system restore from a recovery point.

To restore, go to the same screen, click System Restore button and follow the rest of the wizard.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 08/04/2014

Posted in: Tips & Tricks , Windows 8
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