Written by Barry Dysert (last updated May 17, 2021)
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 portions 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 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, 8, and 10.
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