Windows registry is a database that contains a lot of settings and options. There is a built-in Registry Editor (regedit) that allows the user to make changes to the registry. One of the very useful functions that can be found in the Windows Registry Editor is the export and import. Another meaning for that is actually backup and restore. Before making changes on the registry, it is always advisable to backup/export the registry first. You can do that by right clicking on the registry key that is located at the left hand side tree and select “Export”. Double clicking on the .reg file which you have backed up earlier to run it will restore back the changes.
At the right hand side tree, you will find the registry values. There are 6 types of registry values which are String, Binary, DWORD, QWORD, Multi-String and Expandable String. All of the values are displayed in clear text from the Windows Registry Editor. However after exporting them to a file, you will notice that some of the values are displayed in “hex” codes.
To be more precise, only String (REG_SZ) and DWORD (32-bit) values are in clear text while Binary (REG_BINARY), QWORD (64-bit) (REG_QWORD), Multi-String (REG_MULTI_SZ) and Expandable String values (REG_EXPAND_SZ) are in hexadecimal (HEX). If for some reason you want to view them in clear-text, here is a simple and free tool that can easily convert registry hex to text.
Hex2Text is a command line hexadecimal string to text converter. You will have to run this tool through command prompt and specify the input filename and output filename. Here is an example of converting an exported backup.reg file to a readable backup.txt text file.
hex2text <input_filename> <output_filename>
where <input_filename> is the name of the file with the input hex to convert and <output_filename> is the name of the file where to save the output text.
Hex2Text was tested on Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit) and it works flawlessly.