How to Backup and Restore the Windows Registry

You can absolutely make a whole copy of the registry as a .reg file by exporting from the root node. Right-click, and export.

The resulting file will be enormously gigantic, and you probably don’t want to open it up in Notepad.

If you double-click on the registry file, you’ll see an error message letting you know that not all of the entries were restored because some of the keys are open by the system, etc.

And that’s the problem with this method of backing up the registry — it doesn’t work all that well for serious changes like installing applications or something else where you might really need to restore the whole registry. You also really don’t want to keep this type of full registry backup around for a long time, because there’s no way to know what changes are stored in that registry file and whether or not they are going to break something when you restore it.

Luckily there’s a better way to backup the registry, and it won’t break your PC.

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