by Barry Dysert
(last updated January 5, 2015)
The Windows Registry is at the heart of the Windows operating system. The Registry is a set of system files constructed into a database that contains system-level and application-level parameters on both a machine and a user basis. If the Registry were to become corrupted it could render your system unusable, so it's important to make regular backups of it so you can restore a good copy of the Registry if necessary.
The best way to protect yourself is to take a backup of the complete Registry. This can be done by creating a restore point, since the Registry is included in restore points. To create a restore point, follow these steps if you are using Windows 8:
Figure 1. The System dialog box.
Figure 2. The System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box.
If you are using Windows 7 the steps are a bit different. (The biggest difference is how you get to the first dialog box.) Follow these steps:
Figure 3. The System dialog box.
Figure 4. The System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box.
If you are just making small, isolated changes to the Registry, you may want to simply back up a particular "hive" (a set of Registry keys and values) instead of backing up the entire thing. Exporting a portion of the Registry is covered under another tip.
This tip (12206) applies to Windows 7 and 8.
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