Backing up and restoring the Windows registry

The registry is one of the most vital components of the Microsoft Windows operating system. In simple phrase, it is a complex database containing virtually all system, software, hardware and user settings. Almost every piece of software keeps its data in the registry. It is so important that Windows would not even start without it.

2-Spyware.com parasite removal instructions often provide the lists of malicious registry entries that need to be deleted or modified. However, sometimes we all make mistakes. But one small mistake made while editing the Windows registry may not only disable some system functions, but also corrupt installed software or even damage the entire system. That is why you need to know how to backup and restore the registry. Just in case something goes wrong.

The following guide thoroughly explains how to backup and restore the entire Windows registry.


Backing up the Windows 95 registry

1. Reboot your computer.
2. Press the F8 key immediately when you see the Starting Windows 95 line at the top of the screen.
3. Select the option Safe Mode Command Prompt Only from the appeared startup menu. Press enter.
4. At the command prompt type the following lines:

cd Windows
attrib -r -h -s system.dat
attrib -r -h -s user.dat
copy system.dat user.bkp
copy user.dat user.bkp

This will back up the registry and split it into system.bkp and user.bkp files. You can find them in your main Windows directory.
5. Reboot your computer.

Restoring the Windows 95 registry

1. Reboot your computer
2. Press the F8 key immediately when you see the Starting Windows 95 line at the top of the screen.
3. Select the option Safe Mode Command Prompt Only from the appeared startup menu. Press enter.
4. At the command prompt type the following lines:

cd Windows
attrib -r -h -s system.dat
attrib -r -h -s system.da0
attrib -r -h -s user.dat
attrib -r -h -s user.da0
ren system.dat system.datold
ren system.da0 system.da0old
ren user.dat user.datold
ren user.da0 user.datold
copy system.bkp system.dat
copy user.bkp system.dat

This will restore the registry from a backed up copy. If you did not back up your registry, you will be unable to restore it.
5. Reboot your computer.


Backing up the Windows 98 / Windows Millenium registry

1. Click on the Start button and select the Run option.
2. Type in scanregw to the appeared field. Press the OK button. This will launch the Windows Registry Checker utility.


Image 1. Start Windows Registry Checker

3. Wait until the registry scan finishes. You will be presented with a suggestion to back up the registry. Reply positively by clicking on the Yes button.


Image 2. Back up the Windows registry

4. When the backup is over, press the OK button.

Restoring the Windows 98 / Windows Millenium registry

1. Reboot your computer.
2a. For Windows 98, press and hold the CTRL key. This should bring the startup menu. Select the option Safe Mode Command Prompt Only and press enter.
2b. For Windows Millenium, boot your computer from a startup disk and wait until the startup menu will appear. Then select the option Start Computer without CD-ROM Support.
3. Now you should see a command prompt. At the command prompt type the following line:

C:\Windows\Command\scanreg.exe /restore

Press enter. You will be presented with a list of the previous registry backups sorted by creation date. Select a backup, from which you would like to restore the Windows registry and press enter to restart your computer.
4. The system should restore the registry from a backed up copy. After the registry was successfully restored, press enter to restart your computer once again.


Backing up the Windows 2000 / Windows XP / Windows Server 2003 registry

1. Click on the Start button and navigate to Programs (All Programs) > Accessories > System Tools. Then click on the Backup entry. This will launch the Backup Utility. If there is no such entry, you will have to install the Backup Utility using your Windows installation disk.
2. Make sure the Backup Utility is in the wizard mode.


Image 3. The Backup Wizard

If it is not, click on the Backup Wizard (Advanced) (on Image 4 it is in the red box) button to launch the wizard.


Image 4. Launch the Backup Wizard

3. Press the Next button in the wizard’s window. Select the option Only back up the System State data. Then press Next.


Image 5. Back up the system state data

Choose a place to save your backup, type a name for it and start the backup process by clicking on the Finish button. When the backup is completed, you will be presented with a report. Now click Close to exit the Backup Utility.

Restoring the Windows 2000 / Windows XP / Windows Server 2003 registry

Option 1:

1. Click on the Start button and navigate to Programs (All Programs) > Accessories > System Tools. Then click on the Backup entry. This will launch the Backup Utility. If there is no such entry, you will have to install the Backup Utility using your Windows installation disk.
2. Make sure the Backup Utility is in the wizard mode.


Image 6. The Restore Wizard

If it is not, click on the Restore Wizard (Advanced) (on Image 7 it is in the red box) button to launch the wizard.


Image 7. Launch the Restore Wizard

3. Press the Next button in the wizard’s window. You will be presented with a list of all previous backups. Select the System State backup, from which you want to restore the registry. Then press Next.


Image 8. Select the backup

Start the restore process by clicking on the Finish button. When the restore is completed, you will be presented with a report. Now click Close to exit the Backup Utility.

Option 2:

1. Boot your computer from the Windows installation CD.
2. Press any key when you see the line Press Any Key to Boot from CD.
3. Now you should see the screen with three options: Setup, Repair, Quit. Press the R key to enter the repair mode.
4. Select the Windows installation, which registry you would like to restore. If you, like most other users, have only one installation, there will be only one entry in the list.
5. Then you will be asked to enter your administrator password. Type it in and press enter.
6. Now you should see the command prompt. Navigate to the folder containing registry backups. Type the following command: cd [folder_name]
7a. For Windows 2000, type the following lines:

copy default C:\Winnt\System32\config
copy sam C:\Winnt\System32\config
copy security C:\Winnt\System32\config
copy software C:\Winnt\System32\config
copy system C:\Winnt\System32\config

If the system will ask you whether you want to overwrite the existing files or not, reply positively by pressing the Y key.
7b. For Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, type the following lines:

copy default C:\Windows\System32\config
copy sam C:\Windows\System32\config
copy security C:\Windows\System32\config
copy software C:\Windows\System32\config
copy system C:\Windows\System32\config

If the system will ask you whether you want to overwrite the existing files or not, reply positively by pressing the Y key.
7. After you get finished, type the exit command and press enter.
8. Remove the Windows installation CD and restart your computer.


Backing up and restoring the Windows registry can be difficult tasks for inexperienced users. However, these procedures are very important. Sometimes thi is the only way to restore the system corrupted by dangerous parasites or damaged by malfunctioning software. Be careful and patient while restoring the Windows registry. Do not try to restore your system without having a reliable backup! Without it you may even compound the felony.


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