Importing a Portion of the Registry

by Barry Dysert
(last updated December 22, 2014)

If you have previously exported a portion of the Registry (covered under the tip titled "Exporting a Portion of the Registry"), you can later import it. This restores that portion of the Registry to the condition it was in at the time of export. Note, however, that much of the Registry is interdependent, so if it's been a while since you did the export you should exercise caution that you don't introduce an inconsistency with the import.

Be default, Registry exports are stored in .reg files. In addition to storing the actual keys and values, they also contain the information necessary to ensure that the import affects the correct portion of the Registry.

There are a few different ways you can import a .reg file. One way is to right-click the file and select Merge from the Context menu. Another way is to double-click the .reg file. With either of these two methods you'll be presented with a cautionary message asking if you are sure you want to continue. Clicking "Yes" will cause the Registry to be updated with the information in the file.

The third way to import a .reg file is to do it from within the Registry Editor. All you need to do is choose the Import option from the File menu. Specify the name of the .reg file to be imported and click Open. You will then get a confirmation message that the Registry has been updated.

 This tip (12227) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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