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Windows 7: Editing the Registry


24 Apr 2013   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Editing the Registry

I would always advise new users to leave the registry alone if they are not sure of what they are doing. When they gain a little more experience then before editing anything in the registy,I would recommend they create a backup. I notice in a number of tutorials the question of creating a backup is rarely mentioned. Sometime a system restore point is mentioned. What are your views on this?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Apr 2013   #2

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Hi there
Nothing wrong in using REGEDIT provide you know EXACTLY what you are doing -- but always take a system BACKUP before doing it -- it's so easy to make a little typo sometimes even unnoticed so you can restore if anything goes wrong.

As an extra precaution I'd use a bit of OLD technology here -- print out the registry entry as it exists BEFORE the change so you can easily and quickly reset it back again in case you've made a mistake in the regedit process. Finally check the new entry exactly with the change you want to make. You might be quite surprised but in registry edits where you are messing around sometimes with Hex digits it's really simple to make silly typos. Double check too.

The reason why I prefer a whole system image to a registry dump is that in extreme cases the system might not even boot or become inoperative in some other way. With a system restore you've got your system back to what it was before you started making any changes.

Image backups should not take long --and incidentally ALWAYS keep the OS / applications separate from your user data (Multi-media, music, documents etc) by having either on a separate HDD or partition.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2013   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

The registry is like any other store of data: As long as you know what you're doing and have taken a backup it's safe to manipulate it. I've personally dived into the registry numerous times to get some legacy software running when their respective installers don't know how to deal with Windows 7.

Wasn't there also a couple of ways to restore the registry from outside of Windows, besides restoring a system image?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Apr 2013   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Yes I also see people here just jumping into the registry and giving it to user's. In my opinion I very rarely do. If the user doesn't know what the registry if for, leave it alone. But if you do use I would always recommend a back up on the registry, system restore point, and depending on what the user was doing creating a system image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2013   #5

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Hi there
There probably are ways of restoring the registry from outside windows - but if you are skilled enough to do that you probably don't need any advice on this whole thread.

Taking a system image backup these days on decent hardware should only take a maximum of around 20 mins and the time it saves if you have to re-install an OS plus all your applications and then zillions of updates is obviously well worth it.

Taking an image backup is really simple whereas taking a registry dump means you have to be able to restore it from possibly outside Windows. -- Take the Image backup --it's something you should be doing pretty regularly anyway. That's all you need.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2013   #6

windows 7 32 bit
 
 

i agree, one should not make changes inside registry (manually). because, at times some unkown changes are made. which causes serious problem in the system. making a complete backup before going into registry is recommended. only experts and advanced users are aksed to make changes in registry.....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 
Backup HDD Image

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mitchell65 View Post
I would always advise new users to leave the registry alone if they are not sure of what they are doing. When they gain a little more experience then before editing anything in the registy,I would recommend they create a backup. I notice in a number of tutorials the question of creating a backup is rarely mentioned. Sometime a system restore point is mentioned. What are your views on this?
IMO, a backup HDD image is superior to a System Restore point.

I've had System Restore points refuse to work.
I can't remember any of my backup HDD images failing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2013   #8

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mitchell65 View Post
I would always advise new users to leave the registry alone if they are not sure of what they are doing. When they gain a little more experience then before editing anything in the registy,I would recommend they create a backup. I notice in a number of tutorials the question of creating a backup is rarely mentioned. Sometime a system restore point is mentioned. What are your views on this?
IMO, a backup HDD image is superior to a System Restore point.

I've had System Restore points refuse to work.
I can't remember any of my backup HDD images failing.
Hi there
Absolutely correct -- but remember you should have more than ONE backup-- HDD's can - (although rarely) fail themselves. Portable / laptop HDD's are more prone to failure than desktop ones though.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2013   #9

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Many thanks for all the interesting replies. My original post was just my observations. What I actually recommend to my members (I run a small local Computer Club out in the sticks for older people new to computing!) is to build a regime of making backups of the OS with Macrium Reflect at regular intervals. This is a nice easy interface to understand and it is simple to verify the image after saving to an ext HD. So far as the registry is concerned, I am careful who I suggest should go into regedit if necessary and get them to set up a system restore point first then export the registery to make a backup again to an external HD or USB stick then carry out the editing to the registry. That way we have three options if things go wrong. Might seem a bit over the top but better safe than sorry in my book
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2013   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 
Agreed

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
Absolutely correct -- but remember you should have more than ONE backup-- HDD's can - (although rarely) fail themselves. Portable / laptop HDD's are more prone to failure than desktop ones though.
Agreed.
You can also experience random inexplicable file corruption issues (even if the HDD is OK).

I have 7.5 TB of backup HDD space (on 5 external HDDs and 1 internal HDD) for my 3.5 TB of PC files.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mitchell65 View Post
Many thanks for all the interesting replies. My original post was just my observations. What I actually recommend to my members (I run a small local Computer Club out in the sticks for older people new to computing!) is to build a regime of making backups of the OS with Macrium Reflect at regular intervals. This is a nice easy interface to understand and it is simple to verify the image after saving to an ext HD.
I preferred the old Macrium GUI.
Some of the vital options are hidden in the "Advanced" link in the new version.
In the old version, the wizard "exposed" them to the user during backup and restore operations.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mitchell65 View Post
So far as the registry is concerned, I am careful who I suggest should go into regedit if necessary and get them to set up a system restore point first then export the registery to make a backup again to an external HD or USB stick then carry out the editing to the registry. That way we have three options if things go wrong. Might seem a bit over the top but better safe than sorry in my book
It is also important to run your AV program, before making any long term backup HDD images.

Images are also useful for software testing (if you don't have a VM manager).
If you don't like a new program, you can re-image your PC and be guaranteed that there aren't any "nasties" left in your Registry.

I like to make a backup HDD image, before installing hardware drivers too.
Drivers seem to be responsible for quite a few problems I've seen on SevenForums and EightForums.

If you are multi-booting a PC, Macrium Reflect will also create backup images of Linux partitions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Editing the Registry




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