Before you get started, we recommend that you print this article and keep it near at hand.
When you first saw the title of this article you may have been mildly curious, but you may not realize just how important the ability to backup the Registry can be. I see numerous posts in help forums desperate for a solution to what seems like insurmountable problems which could easily be completely repaired by restoring the Registry. But there is one more important use for this skill: Have you ever installed a program only to find that the installation routine has either gone terribly wrong or has made unexpected and unwanted changes and even uninstalling the program doesn’t set it right? This is just the sort of “damage” that can be instantly undone with a simple Registry restoration. The beauty of it is that it’s dead simple to do.
This information will guide you through the steps required to backup and restore your Registry. We will go a step further here though; we will show you how to increase the number of back up copies of your Registry as well as provide you with a small, simple and extremely powerful program which allows you much greater control over how you manipulate these backup files.
The Standard Set Up
By default, Windows 98 will make a backup of your Registry just once daily, but only if you reboot during that calendar day. The standard setting keeps a backup for each of the previous five days only — a rather limited number if you ever get into trouble. Also, if you don’t reboot for an entire day, Windows will not create a backup. And it doesn’t matter how often you reboot, only one backup will be generated per day. This is critical because you may, through program installations or direct manipulation, make significant changes to the Registry during the course of your computing sessions on any given day. If you wanted to restore a version of the Registry from a point after you had made changes during the day you would be unable to do so unless you have more backup copies at your disposal. Remember though, each new backup will replace the oldest one archived by Windows 98.
Improving The Standard Set Up
We recommend that you make more immediate copies of your Registry on an as needed basis. Make a backup copy just before beginning an editing session or installing any program, even small ones, which modify the Registry. That way, should the results of your edits have undesired effects or if you make an error, you can simply restore the copy from a few minutes before, even if your machine has been rendered unbootable by your edits or installation. Presto – you’re back in business. That it is remarkably easy to do this should serve to encourage you to be diligent in backing up your Registry. We will also show you how to make more than five copies of your Registry a little later on in this article. For now though, let’s start with the fundamentals.