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Backing Up, Editing, and Restoring the Windows Registry (Windows 7)

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This document applies to HP computers with Windows 7.
The registry is a database in Windows that contains important information about system hardware, installed programs and settings, and profiles of each of the user accounts on the computer. Windows 7 often reads and updates the information in the registry.
Normally, software programs make registry changes automatically. You should not make unnecessary changes to the registry. Changing registry files incorrectly can cause Windows to stop working or make Windows report the wrong information.
Make changes only when they come from trusted sources and always back up the registry before making changes.
CAUTION: An incorrect registry entry can cause serious system problems or prevent the computer from starting. If you must edit the registry to resolve issues, you should always make a backup by following the directions below in Step 1: Backing up the Windows registry. If the registry is damaged due to editing but has not been backed up, the only resolution may be a system recovery.
This document describes how to create a backup of the Windows registry, edit it, and restore it in case something goes wrong.

Before you begin making changes to the Windows registry

Before making any changes, you should create a backup of the registry. Save the backup copy to an accessible location, such as a folder on the hard disk drive or a removable storage device. If a change is made that you want to undo, you may be able to import a backup copy.

Step 1: Backing up the Windows registry

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps. When not logged in as an administrator, changes can be applied only to the user account that is currently opened.
Before making changes to a registry key or subkey, create a backup of the registry. You can save the backup copy to a location you specify, such as a folder on the hard disk drive or a removable storage device. If you make changes that you want to undo, import the backup copy.
Use the following steps to back up the entire Windows registry.
Show me how
  1. Click Start , and then enter regedit into the Search field. Click regedit.
    Figure 1: Search for regedit
  2. If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    The Registry Editor opens.
    Figure 2: Registry Editor
  3. To back up the entire registry, click Computer.
    To back up a particular key or subkey, click the key or subkey that you want to back up.
  4. Click File, and then click Export.
  5. Type a name for the backup file and select the location where you want to save the backup copy.
  6. Click Save.

Step 2: Editing the registry (advanced) in Windows 7

The Registry Editor is used to view and change settings in the system registry, which contains information about how your computer runs. Windows refers to this information and updates it when you make changes to your computer, such as installing a new program, creating a user profile, or adding new hardware. Registry Editor lets you view registry folders, files, and settings for each registry file.
Editing the registry is very similar to working with files in Windows Explorer. You can browse to a location in the registry and add, rename, change data, or delete keys and values.
The following steps provide an example of how to add, modify, find, and delete registry items. Use similar steps to edit the registry.

Adding a registry key in Windows 7

Use the following steps to add a registry key in the system registry.
Show me how
  1. Click Start , and then enter regedit into the Search field. Click regedit.
  2. If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    The Registry Editor opens.
  3. Click the arrow next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
  4. Right-click HKEY_CURRENT_USER, select New, and then click Key.
    A new key appears that looks like a folder.
  5. Type AAAA as a name for the new key and press Enter.
    A new registry key has been created.

Adding a value name to a registry key

Use the following steps to add a value to a registry key.
Show me how
  1. Right-click the new key named AAAA, select New, and then click String Value.
  2. Type BBBB as a new value name and press Enter.
    You added a new value to a key.

Adding data to a Value name

Use the steps in this section to modify the registry item you created in the previous section.
Show me how
  1. Right-click the value BBBB, and then select Modify.
  2. Type CCCC for the data value, and then click OK.
    You added data to a registry value. This method can also be used to change existing data.

Finding a registry item

Use the steps in this section to find the registry item you modified in the previous section.
Show me how
  1. Click the arrow next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER to close branch of registry keys.
  2. Click Computer in the registry window.
  3. Click Edit, and then click Find.
  4. Type CCCC into the Find what box.
  5. Make sure Keys, Values, and Data are selected, and click the Find Next button.
    The Registry Editor searches through the registry, stops, and highlights the value BBBB.
  6. Double-click BBBB to open it and see the value data CCCC inside.
    You have successfully searched the registry and found the value data CCCC.

Deleting a registry item

Use the steps in this section to delete the registry item you found in the previous section.
Show me how
  1. Right-click the key named AAAA, then click Delete.
  2. Click Yes to verify the deletion of the AAAA key, the BBBB value, and the CCCC value data.
    Individual keys, values, and value data can be deleted in this same process.
    CAUTION:When deleting a key, remember that every sub-item that it contains will also be deleted.
    A registry key and its values have been successfully deleted from the registry.

Step 3: Restoring a saved registry in Windows 7

If the system becomes unstable, hardware stops working, or software stops working after editing the registry, use the following steps to restore the registry from a saved backup.
Show me how
  1. Click Start , and then enter regedit into the Search field. Click regedit.
  2. If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    The Registry Editor opens.
  3. Select Computer.
  4. Click File, and then click Import.
  5. Browse to the saved registry file.
  6. Select the file, and then click Open.
  7. Restart the computer.
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