Backing Up the Windows Registry

Did you know that Windows depends on a “database” to function? It is called the “Windows Registry…” I call it the “heart and soul” to the Windows Operation System. Mess with it and the whole house will come down and the operating system will crash. The registry (database) contains the information and settings for all of the hardware, software, users and preferences on your PC once your PC boots into the Windows environment. When you install software or make a hardware change to your computer, the settings (or preferences) are automatically written to the registry.

The registry has been a good thing; BUT, it is also an avenue for trouble. Often when malware infiltrates or damages a computer system (without your consent) it will register (or write) itself into the registry to cause harm and ultimately take over your computer. The registry can also be edited  or modified by the computer user using the “regedit.exe” command which in itself can spell trouble if you do not know what your are doing. I have actually seen people tremble and decline from making edits to the registry, knowing that one error can cause havoc. Really though, a good tech knows that making registry edits comes with the territory and is no big deal; especially when you know how to backup and restore the registry.

A really great utility to automatically backup (and restore) the registry on your computer is called “ERUNT” (Emergency Recovery Utility NT). I am a tester of software and prior to testing any software application on my system I will use ERUNT to make a backup of the registry. I have come to depend on ERUNT more so than the Windows restore (rollback) function. In the event the software I am testing does not set well with my computer, I will use ERUNT to restore the registry (and ultimately my computer) to its’ original state, prior to the software install. I also include ERUNT in my weekly backup routines of my computer. ERUNT has been around for years and is avalaible as a full install or portable application. There is nothing attractive (in appearance) with ERUNT, but it is one of those “save your butt” utilities that should have been built into the Windows operating system.

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ERUNT

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4 Responses to Backing Up the Windows Registry

  1. pochp says:

    Now I know what Erunt is so I can use it.
    Thanks Rick.

  2. techpaul says:

    With my computer repair technician’s hat on, I would like to re-emphasize a couple of your points:
    1) regedit is NOT for the “average computer user”. I cannot think of one good reason for the typical person to go there.
    2) Power Users (and experimental types) who DO go into the Registry really really really really should first make a backup (really!).
    3) Erunt is the tool for this.

    Rick, I had taken my eyes off of Erunt as it didn’t support Vista, but thanks to your article I checked back and found that it now does (YAY!). Thank you!

  3. Silki Garg says:

    Hi Rick,

    Nice find. Looks like a very 2005-ish applications but hope it does the job perfectly.

    Another high flying application, with lots of other features is RegToy.

    http://k-n.co.cc/

    Although it is not under active development now. But still an amazing piece of software for Pro Windows users.

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Silki,

      Nice to hear from you… ERUNT has been around for a long time and has saved me several times. I actually prefer it over the restore function in Windows.

      RegToy, another great app… I need to check it out again. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

      Rick

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