The Windows Registry is a central database that stores huge amounts of settings for just about everything your operating system does. From changing the way the desktop looks, or information about all the devices and drivers, to registration information for your programs. You don’t need me to tell you just how important it is that for a smooth running system, a fully functioning and error free registry is one of the most important factors. Just a few rogue values inserted into some important registry keys can bring your system to a grinding halt or turn it into an unstable nightmare.
Because a lot of malicious software will attack various parts of the registry, and just about everything you touch causes reads or writes to it, making sure it is backed up is still an important way to keep problems and downtime to a minimum. There are also times when you are going to reinstall your system and would like to transfer some settings on to the new operating system. Things like registration information for software like perhaps a Giveaway of the Day program or a highly customized look for your desktop could do with being copied to save a lot of time.
The Windows built in Registry Editor can do this, but it’s not really designed to back up the whole registry, or if you want to back up a large number of individual keys. There is a utility that offers an easier solution for doing this called SMARegisTry Backup. This tool has a big advantage over Regedit in that when you want to select a series of keys to export, in Regedit, each has to be done one at a time. SMARegisTry Backup allows the selection of multiple keys, and then they can all be exported with a couple of clicks.
The program is open source software and comes in either a portable or installable package. Do note that .NET Framework version 2.0 or greater is required. Because of the nature of exporting and more importantly, importing data into the registry, at least a reasonable degree of knowledge is advisable when using the program.
The window is basically split into two, the left side being your registry and the right side is where the list of keys to be backed up will appear. Simply select the hive or sub key and click ‘Add key to list’. Once everything has been selected, click ‘Backup Keys Now’ and point to the folder where to save.
There are two ways to restore any previously saved keys back to the registry. ‘Restore Individual Keys to Registry’ lets you select just a single file to import. This can obviously range from a single key to a complete hive. ‘Restore All Keys from Directory to Registry’ as the name suggests, will import all keys from a folder. Be aware that once you have selected the file(s), there will be no confirmation and the process will be carried out. As the Backups are stored as ordinary .reg files they can be edited using Notepad or imported using Regedit.
The Save and Load list buttons can be used if you have a large number of keys to be backed up. The list can be saved as a normal text file and then reloaded for the same registry keys to be backed up at a later date.
Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 32bit and 64bit