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Windows 7 - How to Back Up the Registry

Back in the earlier days of Windows, program configurations and preferences were stored in text-based INI files. These days, most programs use the Windows registry for storing file association information, settings and preferences and installation information. The registry also includes a great deal of important data governing how Windows itself works. It is one of the core components of the operating system and, because of its great importance; you should always take care when modifying the registry. For the most part, the average user will not even need to deal with the registry but, if for some reason you want to make a modification to it, you should consider backing it up first.

System Restore is a tool which you can use to back up the system registry as well as important system files and folders on your computer. By default, System Restore makes regular restore points automatically when you install certain programs and drivers. It also makes them at specified intervals. However, before you make a modification to the Windows registry, it's a good idea to manually create a restore point.

Open the start menu and right-click on "Computer" to the right. Click the "System Protection" link to the left of the Control Panel window. At the bottom of the "System Properties" window, click the button "Create" to manually create a restore point. Enter a name for the restore point. This should preferably be something that you will remember. Click "Create." Wait a few moments for the restore point to be created and then click "OK" once it's done.

You can also back up individual portions of the registry. To do this, open the Registry Editor by typing "regedit" into the start menu search box and pressing Enter. In the left-side pane, right-click on the registry key (folder) which you want to back up and click "Export." Ensure that the "Selected Branch" option is selected, so that only the selected key and sub-keys are backed up rather than the entire registry. Enter a name for the file and click "Save." You'll be able to merge the data contained within the exported registry file at any time simply by opening it.


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