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