How to Back Up and Restore the Windows Registry

Ben Stegner 03-08-2017

A lot of the Windows tweaks we share involve diving into the Registry and changing some values. While it’s great that Windows provides these opportunities, it’s all too easy to accidentally screw up the Registry How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry Working with the Windows registry? Take note of these tips, and you'll be much less likely to do lasting damage to your PC. Read More — and, by extension, your PC.


That’s why we’re here to show you how to back up and restore the Windows Registry. It’s smart to do this prior to making any changes.

On Windows 7 and newer, begin by typing regedit into the Start Menu. Accept the administrator prompt, then you’ll be in the editor. Next, you need to select the part of the Registry you want to back up. This can be as broad as Computer (backing up the entire Registry) or as specific as one sub-key. Obviously, the larger the scope, the bigger the backed-up file will be.

Whichever you choose, right-click the key and choose Export. You’ll get a dialogue box that lets you give the backup a name and choose where to save the file. Click Save and you’ve backed up the Registry.

How to Back Up and Restore the Windows Registry Backup Registry Windows

To restore your backup, open the Registry Editor again. This time, go to File > Import, where you’ll see a prompt to find your backup from before. Select it and choose Open to restore that Registry element to how it was earlier.


On any version of Windows, you can also use System Restore to take a snapshot of your current installation What You Need To Know About Windows System Restore Imagine the trouble you could find yourself in, if your system failed! The Windows System Restore feature could save your butt. This article explains how to create and use Windows restore points. Read More , including the Registry. This is a bit easier than backing up manually, and is smart to do regardless of whether you’ve edited the Registry.

And remember that you don’t need to clean the Registry — most of the time, Registry errors are harmless How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother In most cases, fixing our registry will do nothing. Sometimes registry errors cause havoc after all. Here we'll explore how to identify, isolate and fix registry problems – and when to not bother at all. Read More .

Do you have any Registry horror stories? Tell us if backing up eases your mind down in the comments!

Image Credit: Marta Design via Shutterstock

Related topics: Data Backup, Troubleshooting, Windows Registry.

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