What is the Windows Registry?
Short Answer: It’s a central database (although consisting of multipe files), if you will, that stores settings of Windows and most, if not all, the programs that exist on your hard drive.
Longer Answer:Â With the invention of Windows 95, Microsoft made the wise decision to organize all computer- and application-specific data which was spread over countless INI files before in a centralized Windows database, called the system “registry”. The registry is one of the most important parts in every Windows system today, withoutÂ which the OS would not even boot.
If the Registry’s so awfully important, it’s a good idea to make a backup of it, isn’t it?
Indeed it is. In Windows 98 SE and Windows ME, the registry would be backed up in case of a corruption or any untoward act that would render the Registry unusable. By default, the last 5 days’ Registry files would be automatically saved and maintained allowing a user to revert to an older version in case of problems.
Phew, so now that I have Windows XP / Vista, I no longer need to worry about backing up my registry – “System Restore” will save my derriÃ¨re, won’t it?
Ummm….yes and no. If a recent System Restore point has been created, then yes…
However, System Restore doesn’t run at every boot instance, so if a few days have elapsed since the last Restore point was created you’ll lose all the settings since modified/stored.
Hmmm…is there any way of backing up my Registry at boot-up and keeping multiple copies of it?
Well, coming back to the main topic of this post – yes indeed.
All you need is a freeware utility called ERUNT Emergency Recovery Utility NT.
Just download it and install it. Keeping the default settings will result in the creation of a folder named ERUNT in your Windows folder. If you choose the option to store multiple backups, each backup will then be stored in a folder named by date.
The penultimate screen ought to display a dialog box as shown in the screengrab below:
At this point, clicking YES and completing the installation is all that’s required.
So, how do I perform a restore from a previously saved backup?
Navigate to the “C:\WINDOWS\ERDNT\AutoBackup” (assuming the usual defaults are maintained). Within this folder there should be folders named by the date. Open the folder of choice and run the ERDNT.exe file and click OK to perform a restore. You’ll need to reboot for the restored Registry to be activated.