How to Reset the Windows Registry to Default
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The Windows Registry contains a ton of values that make your operating system (OS) run in a certain way. Many times, for cool customizations or fixes to issues, editing the Registry is the only way to make the change.

However, if you accidentally screw up when editing the Registry, you can cause some serious problems with your system.

This is why it’s a good idea to make a restore point before you make any Registry edits. You can also back up Registry entries so you have a copy to restore if the operation goes south. However, if you’ve done neither of these things and damage your system, you’re probably looking for a way to reset the Registry.

While there’s no official way to “reset” only the Registry, you can use Windows’ built-in refresh tools to get everything back to normal. Type Reset into the Start Menu and click Reset This PC to enter the appropriate menu.

You’ll find several options for getting a clean start with Windows here — the Reset This PC header is the one we’re looking for. This option lets you keep your files but reinstalls Windows with default options.

When you reinstall Windows, all system values, including the Registry, will be back to normal. Thus, a reset is your best bet if you’ve damaged the Registry beyond repair. A bit of preparation will prevent this drastic step, though: don’t use Registry Cleaners, and only follow editing instructions when you trust the source.

Have you ever screwed up the Registry so bad that you had to reinstall Windows? Let us know your experiences down in the comments!

Image Credit: Sinart Creative via Shutterstock

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  1. Romeo
    December 16, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Will reinstalling Windows 10 remove my restore points? I'm worried about what will happen if I reinstall Windows, so I want to make a restore point in case I don't like the outcome, and I want to know if reinstalling Windows 10 will delete the restore point, and if I will be able to use the restore point after reinstalling.

    • Ben Stegner
      December 16, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      If you reinstall Windows 10 through installation media or even the Reset functions inside the Settings app, you can't use a restore point after reinstalling. If you want to take a snapshot of your current Windows installation before reinstalling, you'll need to take a system image:

      http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/create-iso-image-windows-system/

  2. Zet4Dragon
    July 20, 2017 at 9:28 am

    A dear mate of mine tried to unlock my CPU cores and after the resetting it it won't boot up! Is there any way to fix the registry and put it to its default values?

  3. WillD
    January 19, 2017 at 4:53 am

    Technically, this is a lot more than 'resetting' the registry, it is resetting Windows by re-installing it. The article neglects to mention that you'll have to re-install all your programs, and configure all the settings as well. All of which takes a lot of time indeed.

  4. Russ
    January 6, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    You don't need to use assistive technology, just upgrade with the media creation tool and upgrade away.

    Still works.

  5. lili hugh
    January 6, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    NOTHING and I say NOTHING and NO ONE, not even a MICROSOFT can bring their black box back to live... maybe only CIA and NSA if they feel like it but not for a normal user... Who is now to pay for all this WINDOWS mess... Computers are no longer in guarantee and MIcrosofts guarantee on their update to WIndows 10 is only to be admited after you bring tehm to court... I'm ready to pay some money to the first guy who bring them before the judge... how many people they have screwed in silence with there perfect product is their deepest secret... WINDOWS 10 is indeed very fast and indeed very unstable. You want to put the future of your projects and enterprises in the hands of people who hide behind their untouchability? I'm done with these guys... I swear I'll mover everything once CIA and NSA bought SKYPE through MIcrosoft and SKYPE locked my account and kept the money because I didn't know 10 years ago with wihc email and country I have signed for SKYPE which by that time was not part of Microsoft... Day time robbers on top of useless programmers