A+: Registry backup in differing Windows versions

Windows 2000 and XP has their own backup app; launch it with   Start | Accessories | System Tools | Backup   pick Emergency Repair Disk then on the following screen select Registry back up the Registry. For NT, load a formatted and blank disk when requested to create that Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) which does not have the Registry since it can be larger than 20MB but instead stores a Registry copy in \WinNT\Repair\RegBack.

Windows XP backup is more thorough and also backs up boot files, the COM+ Class Registration database and Windows File Protection guarded files, in a larger package called the System State. Instead of only a floppy plus copy to hard drive, this backup can be stored on tape, an external hard disk, or removable media.

Vista offers three Registry backup options:

  • The Backup Status and Configuration app performs a complete backup including the Registry. 
  • The System Restore wizard backs up the Registry when a new restore point is made.
  • REGEDIT can export the entire Registry, which can be a whopper of a file, exceeding 200MB. 

When you install new hardware or apps, make a new backup (and ERD for NT).