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Windows 7: Can I Read or Export Key from Registry in System Image VHD ?

17 May 2012   #1

Win7 Pro x64
Can I Read or Export Key from Registry in System Image VHD ?

There is a registry key that I'd like to copy from my old computer to my new computer (both Win7 Pro x64). But the old computer only exists as a System Image (VHD file).
I can mount the VHD and access the old filesystem - I have copied several critical files from the old to the new this way. But the registry isn't just an ordinary file. And I don't want to overwrite the entire registry with the one from the old machine - just one key (basically just a magic number).

Is there any method easier than restoring the old machine's image onto another box, so I can run regedit? I hope so.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit

What you need to do is copy the registry files (see c:\Windows\System32\config) or the user registry (see C:\Users\username\ntuser.dat from the mounted vhd to a work area.
Load up Regedit, select either HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE for use with Software or System registry files, or HKEY_USERS for user data. Then click File, Load Hive and select the registry file to use. Give the hive a name (anything you like) and it will add it and then you can browse through it and view or export the bits you need. You can then delete it from Regedit when done.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2012   #3

Win7 Pro x64

Thanks! This idea worked - I was able to recover the key I needed. I hit a few gotchas along the way... The user registry has moved, as of Vista. But a bit more googling found that the locations of the various hives are given in Wikipedia ( Windows Registry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) if I'd only thought to look there. And for whatever odd reason, once I'd mounted the VHD using Computer Management : Disk Management : Attach VHD, I was unable to copy the Usrclass.dat file from the mounted VHD to another drive. But since the VHD I had mounted was a copy anyway, I just did the Load Hive directly off of the mounted VHD. And "Load Hive" only works into HKU or HKLM, so I just added the hive into HKU.
Many thanks to pjhutch!
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Can I Read or Export Key from Registry in System Image VHD ?

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