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Backup and Restoring Windows Registry for 2000, 2003, and XP - Part II

This week we will complete our discussion on how to backup and restore the Windows 2000, 2003 and XP Registry. If you have being doing what I wrote about in my last few newsletters you now have a complete backup except for the NTUser.dat file.

You'll find the NTUser.dat file in a folder named the user name you logged on with, located at: C:\Documents and settings\ [logon name].

In order to make a backup of the NTUser.dat file you will need to reboot and logon as a different user. I discussed this a few newsletters ago. Then go to the folder that contains YOUR NTUser.dat file and manually make a backup. You can place it in a subfolder of the repair folder. If you have several users on your machine create a subfolder for each user naming each folder the logon name of the users. Then reboot and log back on as you normally do. Now make a backup of the NTUser.dat you used to make the other backups with.

To restore the NTUser.dat file, you will need to restore the other Registry files first using the Repair Console as previously discussed. Then you will need to reboot to Windows and logon as a different user. Find your backup NTUser.dat file and copy it back to the folder you copied it from, example - C:\Documents and settings\ [logon name]. Reboot and logon as you normally do.

Now that we have discussed how to backup and restore all the Registry files, you can see that it is not something you will do every day. So you'll need to know how to update an older backup if you need to do a restore.

As an added note, if you have Windows 2000 or 2003 you can create a System State backup which will backup the Registry, less the NTUser.dat file in the subfolder Windows\repair\Regback. You can do this everyday or two to keep a current Registry backup, you will also need to backup the NTUser.dat file as discussed above. To use the System State backup or restore, use your help at the Start button and do a search for System State Data for complete instructions.

A subscriber, Joe Fagnani, pointed out to me that he only needs to start the backup and then cancel it to get the Registry files backed up, but his are saved to the Windows\repair folder instead of Windows\repair\regback. Try it and see what works for you. You will still need to restore them the way I have explained if your locked out of Windows.

Now the only two other files you should backup each time is the System.ini and Win.ini files. you'll find them in the Windows folder.

If you need to restore with an older Registry you will need a program that updates the Registry after you get back into Windows. Registry Drill is going to be the tool you'll need. It has a unique feature; it can update the current registry with information from another.

In Windows 2000, 2003 and XP the Security Keys and many of the ControlSet Keys are controlled by Windows, so we will not be able to rewrite most of these Keys. These Keys should not have changed, unless you added or deleted users; or changed some hardware. So make sure your backups are reasonably up to date. Do the backup at least once a week, the more often the better. If you change hardware, you need a new backup right away.

Easy Desk has released a new Freeware Registry utility, called Open RegEdit. You can read about it and download it at http://www.easydesksoftware.com/openreg.htm .

Have you ever tried to install a program and got the message "You do not have permission to access the Registry", or "Installation failed, not enough memory"? In my next newsletter, I will tell you the most common reasons for these messages and how to fix them.


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