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Windows Registry - Do a Backup!

Warning! Backup it up before doing any changes or modifications to your Windows registry!
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Notice for the series of registry tutorials

Before you do any modifications to your registry do a backup!

The amazing thing is that it is sooooo easy to do!

Either search for regedit.exe or use the run command from the start button. I would caution you to not use regedt32.exe because if you change a security setting by mistake you may be opening your computer for a hacker to steal your data!

  • Open regedit, on the file menu select "Export", browse to the location where you want to store your registry file. I would suggest you store your export files on a separate device such as an external hard drive or a spare flash drive.
  • Name it what ever you think appropriate, I use the name of the computer and date such as - mylaptop-07-31-10.txt
  • Another way to back up the registry is by coping the original hive files to your storage device, they are located in the C:\WINDOWS\repair directory.
  • The current hive files are located in the C:\WINDOWS\system32\config directory. I would copy both directories to the external storage device.

Note I did not name it .reg, if you have the .reg extension you could over write a modified registry with the old file. By modified I mean you have installed programs or hardware in the computer since the file was exported.

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Or you may have done some modifications that you don't want to do again, and so on.

Once you have your base registry exported then you will want to export any key that you are going to modify before you do the modification.

Modifying a key

Such as I want to modify a parameter in this key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Avg\Avg8 but before I do so I will export the key, I would name it Avg8-07-31-10-pre-mod.txt.

Restoring a key

If the modification doesn't work then all I have to do is rename the file from .txt to .reg then double click on it to get the key replaced in the registry, then either delete the file or rename it back to .txt

Note: If the mod is for a program or setting that isn't being used such as the menu when you right click on an ICON then the effect is instantaneous, that is you don't have to restart the Operating System to see the results. Some mods are for the Operating System that are already running to see the effect you have to restart the OS...

Next - Restoring the complete registry...

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