Backing up the registry database with Regedit
The Windows registry database is the core of the operating system and manages all programs installed on the computer. The number of entries per program often runs into a three-digit range. Many entries are left when software is uninstalled, which slows down the system. However, unintentional deletions can cause a crash. Therefore, regular backups save the user a great deal of trouble.
Newly installed software registers with the system via registry entries regarding what tasks the program performs and what files are opened with the new application. Here, multiple programs can make use of the same file format, which can lead to surprising results at times, for example after double-clicking a picture file.
Uninstalling programs in particular often leads to difficulties. When software is deleted, it is often the case that orphaned entries are left behind, which slow down the system. An incorrect uninstall routine can even cause the operating system or other programs to no longer work correctly. Backing up the registry database regularly makes it possible to restore entries that were deleted unintentionally.
Backing up the Registry
In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, the way to backup the registry starts with the "Start" button. Entering "regedit" in the input line causes an entry of a system program with the same name to appear. Click "Yes" in the user account control that appears in order to open the "Registry Editor".
To backup the data, click "File" in the window that just opened and then the "Export" entry. You define the name of the backup and storage location in the file selection window and confirm them by clicking the "Save" button. Now the registry backup is in the specified directory and is available for an import anytime later.
Importing the Registry Backup
To import a registry backup, open the "Registry Editor" and then click "File" and "Import". Enter the path of the backup file in the file selection window and click "Open". Then, Windows imports the backup and restores the state to the time of the backup.
Deleting Registry Entries
The freeware sector offers good solutions for cleaning up the registry database, for example the CCleaner program.
Note: The following principle applies when deleting entries in the registry database regardless of whether the user carries out the procedure manually or with the help of a suitable program: backup the registry before any intervention and find out to which services or programs the unknown entries belong - for example through a brief Internet search.