The Windows registry is an important database in your computer containing all information on various configurations of Microsoft Windows. Information on addition and removal of devices, installation and uninstallation of software as well as modification of software, is stored in the Windows registry. In addition to these there could also be some information about user preferences.

Storage of Information

Information in Windows registry is stored in a particular structure with a hierarchical table of keys. Also, there are sub keys and values. Backing up is important because in case any of the information in the registry is modified in an incorrect manner, your computer could get seriously damaged. If you have the registry backed up, you can recall the information and repair your computer. The registry is not located in one file but located in many files in different locations.

Backing up registry files

If you are using Windows NT, 2000, XP or Vista you cannot back up files while you are using the Windows operating system. Here system restore facility automatically backs up your computer’s registry files to be used at a later occasion, if the need arises.

While you are using the Windows operating system you may have to use the registry editor to export files and save them using the backup utility software. To carry out this task you can do the following

  • Click Start and go to Run
  • In the open box, type ‘regedit’ and click ‘OK’
  • Now you can locate the root sub-key which contains the junior sub-keys you want to backup
  • Click “File” then “Export”.
  • Now you can use the ‘Save In” box, to choose a location for the .reg files to be saved.
  • Give a file name and click ‘Save’

Restoring the registry

Restoring the registry is not a tough task if you use good backup software. Launch the software and it will restore the system. In case the computer has lost some of the registry files it will not run the utility. In such a situation the best way out is to use the recovery console and recover the lost file.

Once you get your system running you can use the backup software and do the restoring. There is s software that could do both backup and restore. Backing up and restoring the registry is made very simple when you have this software.

If you need to restore using ERD, boot your computer using the Windows CD. When the welcome to setup screen appears press R to repair the operating system. Again press R for repair from ERD. You can then follow the prompts to carry out the repair using ERD. Select the correct menus to specify the files you need to repair.

Backing up registry and restoring it comes in handy when your computer starts malfunctioning due to problems arising from damage to registry files or due to files getting infected by viruses. There are occasions when some software also creates such problems. Windows has the system restore utility that does the job automatically.