How To Backup and Restore the Windows Registry the Easy Way

If you want to tweak your Windows 7 system using the Registry, it’s always a best practice to back it up first. Here we show how easy it is to backup and save the Registry in Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

1. In Windows 7 click on Start and enter regedit in the Search box and hit Enter.

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2. When the Registry Editor opens, click on File then Export.

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3. Next you’re prompted to select a location to export it to…here we created a new folder in My Documents and named it Registry Backups. You can export it to whatever location is convenient for you. Type a name in the File name field – it’s a good idea to give it a name that includes the date you back it up on. Also, under Export range, make sure to check All…you can also save individual registry settings too if you want. Here we want to backup the entire Registry, so check All then click Save.

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4. Wait a few moments for it to export and save, then when you browse to the location you saved it in, you’ll find it there. Another good tip is to keep the file in a secure location and back it up to an external drive, network location, or an online backup service.

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5. If you ever experience an unstable system, or make an error when tweaking the Registry, you can simply double-click the file to restore it.

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7. Since we backed up the Registry while running it normally, you’ll probably see the following error message telling you that not all data was successfully written to the Registry when restoring it. Some keys are open while running in normal mode so some keys might not be restored. In our test, even though we received this message, everything still worked successfully.

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8. So, if you want to be extra cautious you might want to backup & Restore the Registry in Safe Mode. To do that, start up your PC and keep hitting the F8 key. The screen can can go by fast so you might need to try it a couple of times. When it works you’ll see the following Advanced Boot Options screen. Use your arrow keys to select Safe Mode, then hit Enter.

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9. Then you’ll see the Loading Windows Files screen…just wait while they scroll up the screen.

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10. Then you’ll be in Safe Mode and see a message from Windows Help and Support, you can read through it if you want or just close out of the screen.

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11. Then backup the Registry following the steps above…the display will just look different because in Safe Mode, only the minimum files are loaded to run Windows…so you’re video card drivers won’t be loaded.

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12. If you restore the Registry in Safe Mode you’ll probably get the same error message like in Normal Mode, but again, this will restore the Registry back to its state when you backed it up.

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13. The Registry backup process works the same for XP and Vista as well.

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13. If you feel the need to use Registry cleaning software like CCleaner to help improve system performance (and there’s a lot of debate if they work), it offers the option to backup the Registry before deleting values. So you can do it manually as described above, or make sure to accept the option when it comes up.

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That’s all there is to it. Make sure you know what you’re doing when tweaking the Registry, and it’s always a good idea to back it up before tinkering with it.


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