How to create and restore a Windows 11 registry back-up file

The Windows 11 registry contains configurations and references of Windows components and third-party apps.

Suppose you will make changes to the Windows 11 operating system through the Windows registry. In that case, it is recommended that you make a backup first. By backing up the Windows registry, you can restore the changes later if necessary.

It is recommended to make a Windows registry backup if you are going to change hardware components, make changes to the registry, restore data or modify the software.

It is possible to fully back up the registry, but you can also back up just a single registry key.

This article will explain how to make a full backup of the Windows 11 Registry using the Registry Editor, System Restore, and Command Prompt.

In addition to creating a full registry backup, I also explain how to create a registry backup of just a registry key and how to restore the Windows 11 registry backup file.

How to create and restore a Windows 11 registry backup file

How to create a full backup of the Windows registry using the registry editor

To make a full registry backup, you can use the registry editor app. This is the app to read or edit the registry in Windows 11.

Right-click on the Start button. Then click on Run from the menu. In the Run window type: regedit.exe.

The registry editor will now open. In the menu, click File and then Export.

Export using registry editor

To export the registry file, select a location for the registry backup file. It is crucial to choose a safe location for the registry file.

At the bottom, you will see “Selected branch”. Select “All” to create a full registry backup or enter a selected branch.

Give the export file an exact name and click the “Save” button.

Save registry back-up file

You will now see a (“.reg”) file in the location where you saved the registry backup. The (“.reg”) file is the registry backup.

How to create a Windows registry backup using System Restore

System Restore is a function to create a restore point of the operating system. You can also create a restore point if you are going to make changes to the Windows registry or if you want to back up for recovery purposes.

To create a restore point with a Windows registry backup, click the magnifying glass in the taskbar. In the search window type: create restore point. Then click on the result.

Create a restore point in Windows 11

Click the “Create” button to create a restore point.

How to create restore point

Give the restore point a clear name to know you have created this restore point for the Windows Registry.

Create restore point before modifying the Windows registry

The Windows restore point will now be created. This does not take long.

System protection is creating a restore point

How to create a backup of the Windows Registry using the Command Prompt

You can also use the Command Prompt to create a Windows registry backup. You can do this through the “reg export” command. This command needs some parameters to work.

<key name>

Specifies the full path of the subkey. The export operation works only with the local computer. Therefore, the key name must contain a valid root key. Valid root keys for the local computer are: HKLM, HKCU, HKCR, HKU, and HKCC. If the registry key name contains a space, the key name is in quotes.

<file name>

Specifies the name and path of the file to be created during the operation. The file must have a .reg extension.

/y

Overrides any existing file with the name filename without asking for confirmation.

Here is an example of the command in operation:

reg export HKLM c:\register-backup-file.reg /y

In the above example, “HKLM” is the <key name> and “c:\register-backup-file.reg” is the <file name>.

reg export to create registry backup file in Windows 11 using command prompt

How to create a Windows registry backup file of a registry key

Should you wish to back up a specific key in the Windows registry, you can do so in the following way through the registry editor.

Right-click on the Start button. Then click on Run from the menu. In the Run window type: regedit.exe.

The registry editor will now open. Go to the key in the registry that you want to backup and right-click on it. In the menu, then click on “Export”.

Export registry key using registry-editor in Windows 11

Make sure that the “Selected branch” is selected at the bottom. Then, give the registry backup file an exact name and click the “Save” button.

Export selected branch subkey using registry-editor in Windows 11

This is how you backup a Windows registry subkey.

Restore the Windows registry backup file in Windows 11 using a (“.reg”) file

If you have backed up the Windows registry, you will want to restore this backup. The process of restoring a Windows registry backup is not complicated. Here’s how it works.

Go to the location where the registry backup file is stored. You can recognize a Windows registry file by its extension (“.reg”).

Then right-click on the (“.reg”) file and click “show more options”.

Show more options

Click “Merge” to open the Windows registry file in the menu.

Merge registry back-up file

You will see the following message if you try to merge the Windows registry file into the Windows registry.

"Adding information may unintentionally change or delete values and cause components to stop working correctly. If you do not trust the source of this information in <location-file>, do not add it to the registry.

Since this is a backup file, you can import this Windows registry backup file without any problems. Click “Yes” to confirm.

Registry editor notice before merge

How to restore a Windows registry back-up file in Windows 11 using the registry editor

To restore a registry backup, you can use the registry editor. For example, through this app “regedit.exe” you can import the .reg backup file.

Right-click on the Start button. Then click on Run from the menu. In the Run window type: regedit.exe.

The registry editor will now open. In the menu, click “File” and then “Import”.

Import registry back-up file in the registry-editor

Then select the Windows registry backup file, identified by a file with the extension (“.reg”), and click on the “Open” button.

Import registry file

The registry file will now be imported. Depending on the size of the file, this may take a while.

Importing a registry file in the registry editor in Windows 11

I hope this howto guide has helped you to create a full or partial backup of the Windows registry. You can also use the above information to restore the full or partial registry backup in Windows 11.

I hope to have helped you with this. Thanks for reading!

Also read: How to create a Windows registry back-up automatically?

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