Any tutorial you read on the internet that suggests making changes to the Registry should warn you to make a backup before you begin. It’s absolutely critical, because even if you know what you’re doing it’s still pretty easy to break something. So here’s how to do exactly that.
How to back up the Registry using System Restore
The fastest and easiest way to back up your Registry is to create a System Restore point before you make any changes that you can use to roll back your machine to a happier time if necessary.
- Type ‘Create Restore Point’ in the Start menu Search bar
- Select the option when offered, then click Create
- Give the new restore point a name you’ll remember
- To later restore your PC type ‘System Restore’ in the Start menu Search bar, select that point and follow the prompts
How to back up the entire Registry in a reg file
The Registry follows the same hierarchal folder system as the rest of your PC, it’s just displayed differently. Here's how to back up the entire Registry in a single reg file.
- Open up the Registry by typing regedit in the Start menu Search bar and hitting Enter
- Right-click 'Computer' at the top, then click Export
- Save this file somewhere easy to find
This will create a copy of all the settings in your Registry, so if something goes wrong, you can double-click this file to import these settings into your live Registry. There will be some entries that the Registry will not be able to alter because they will be running. While this method of backup is good to have in an emergency, the restore point is a much more comprehensive solution.
How to back up part of the Registry
- Open the Registry by typing regedit in the Start menu Search bar and hitting Enter
- Find the section of the Registry you want to back up, for example HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
- Right-click that folder branch and click Export
- Save this file somewhere easy to access