From time-to-time one may come across a reference to the Registry, whilst reading articles in respect to the Windows operating system or PCs. So, what is it?

The Registry

The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that contains information, settings, and options about software and hardware installed on the Windows operating system. It also contains information about users, programs, preferences, and settings relating to how Windows behaves.


Why modify the Registry?

For intermediate and advanced Windows users, it is sometimes preferable to edit settings directly in the Registry. This may be done for convenience, or because it is the only way to change an advanced Windows setting. Due to the importance of the Registry in terms of computer stability and functionality, it is critical to ensure that a backup copy of the Registry is made prior to applying changes to it, in case the computer becomes unstable, or worse still, unusable.


Better make a backup copy then!

Traditionally, the Windows program Regedit has been used for the purpose of making Registry backups. This works well for backing-up small branches (portions) of specific settings within the Registry, but it falls far short of perfection when it comes to making a full, restorable backup of the Registry. This shortfall is due to the fact that some of the contents of the Registry (registry keys) may be locked during a restore, which will prevent their current values from being restored to their previous, backed-up values. This is a common issue and in most cases, does not cause a computer to become unstable. The problem arises as it is very difficult to determine which values are not being restored. In my opinion, if I back something up, a full restore option should be available which produces zero errors upon use. There are fixes explained on the web, but honestly, they very often do not work.


How to make a backup copy

I highly recommend the use of a Windows Restore Point for the purposes of making a Registry backup-copy, as explained in my latest YouTube video (see below).

If you plan to edit the Registry, check-out THIS VIDEO on how to make a backup copy, and how not to do it.


Further reading

Windows Registry.