Registry is an essential and crucial part of Windows operating system. It is a huge and complex database which contains different configurations and settings behind the working of OS. For example, it contains the details about users in computer, permissions granted to each user, programs to be loaded in the start up, font, default audio video players, etc. So a computer administrator can control the performance of the operating system by making appropriate changes in registry values. Since it contains the most important information about the basic operations of system, sufficient care should be given while making any changes or corrections in it. Incorrect changes may collapse the operating system entirely. So it is better to think about a protection for the registry so that the user can depend on a trial and error method of learning things. A backup and restore method is available in Windows registry as a solution to this issue. In this article, the methods for doing these things are explained.
The steps for viewing registry editor are given below:
1. Click on ‘Start’ menu
2. Select ‘Run’
3. Give command ‘regedit’ and click ‘Ok’
The registry values can be changed using the registry editor window. The matter discussing here is the backing up and restoring of registry keys. There are different methods available for doing this task. There is no need to back up the entire registry for editing any particular registry value. For backing up the entire registry ‘System Restore’ option can be used. Three major techniques are used for backing up and restoring specific registry values and those are explained below.
One method is to export the registry section which is to be changed, to a reg file. Appropriate changes can be made in that file and if they are not desired any more in the future, the registry value can be restored using the reg file created previously. It can be done by just double clicking the reg file or by using the import option in the registry editor. One problem associated with this method is that while importing a reg file to the registry, it will not remove any settings which were made after the reg file was created. It just adds the backed up registry value to it.
Another method is used when the user has knowledge about the specific value which is to be changed. Identify the value and change its name to another. One suggestion is to add letters to the name. Now create a new value to the previous original name. Input the appropriate data inside it. So the program looking for that value will work with the newly assigned data. If that change is not desired, just delete the newly created value and rename the previous value to its original name. Remember that registry does not have the undo option.
The last method is preferred while making many changes in registry. Here the branch itself is backed up to ‘hive’ files. This type of file is better than the reg file because the restoration process using the hive file completely replaces the keys and sub keys with the backed up data. The backing up of data to a hive file is similar to that of reg file. For doing it click ‘File’ on registry editor and select ‘Export’. After giving a name for the file, select the type of file as ‘Registry Hive file’. The restoration can be done by selecting the ‘Import’ option in the ‘File’ menu. Hive files are saved with .dat or .hiv file extension.
Enthusiasts can exploit the utilities of Windows to its maximum by playing with registry. But it is highly recommended to make a system restore point before making any major changes in registry because it will make a copy of entire registry as back up. Even a novice user who understands the techniques of backing up the Windows registry will have the ability to make changes or correct issues that would normally need the attention of a trained expert.