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Using the Registry Editor Starts with Backing up Your Registry

Before just jumping in and editing your Registry, it's a good idea to back it up. Changing values in the Registry can permanently change the performance of your system, so be sure to have a back-up copy of the Registry before starting to edit keys. To manually back up your Registry, complete the following series of steps:

  1. Click the Start button, and choose All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Backup to open the Backup Utility Wizard.

  2. Click Next to continue.

  3. Make certain that the Perform a Backup option is selected and then click Next to continue.

  4. Select the Only back up the System State data option.

  5. Click Next to continue.

  6. Choose the destination for the backup, and click Next to continue. You'll need a fairly large amount of disk space to complete this task. If you have a CD burner, it is highly suggested to make a backup that way as well. Making a few backups does pay off if there are problems after editing the Registry.

  7. Click Finish to complete the backup.

Windows XP also added a utility to drive Registry backup as well. You can use the Windows XP System Restore Utility to manage backups as well. The System Restore program enables you to set system checkpoints whenever you want to make sure you can return your system to a given state.

What is a checkpoint? Suppose that you just visited the Microsoft Update site and downloaded a new patch for TCP/IP security. After you finished installing it, the System Restore creates a checkpoint. Now, if you accidentally delete any .DLL or .EXE file and make an application or Windows XP inoperable, you can use the rollback feature in XP to get the Registry and system settings back. E-mails and data files are not returned back, however.

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