Whenever you make an edit to the Windows registry, it’s always a good idea to back it up first. You can back up the entire registry easily enough but then everything is restored. If you’re only editing one or two registry keys, and you plan on making other edits to the registry later, the backup won’t suffice. You can take a fresh backup each time but that’s a lot of backups to sort through. It’s much easier to backup individual keys, especially if you edit the registry often. You can backup and restore registry keys from the registry editor. Here’s how.
Backup Registry Keys
Open the Windows registry and navigate to the key you want to backup. Right-click it and select ‘Export’ from the context menu. Save the registry key to a location you won’t accidentally delete it from. If the key has other keys under it, they too will be backed up.
Restore Registry Keys
There are two ways to restore a registry key. The first is from the Windows registry editor itself. Go to File>Import, and select the registry key that you want to import.
If that’s not the way you want to go, navigate to the folder where you’ve saved the registry key. Right-click it, and select the Merge option. You will see an on-screen alert warning you of the dangers of editing the registry. Accept it, and the key will be added. You don’t need to open the registry editor or anything. The key will merge and you will get an on-screen alert telling you it’s done.
Any difference the key makes might may appear right away, or it may require that you restart your system. That depends on the key, and what it was for, and the kind of change it makes so we can’t say for certain whether you will need a restart or not. For good measure, restart your system anyway.
You need administrative rights to import a registry key so before you see the warning about editing the registry, you might have to authenticate with the administrator account.
We should mention that if you plan on backing up a lot of registry keys, it’s always a good idea to keep them organized. You can always open a .REG file in Notepad and look at the contents of the file to see what changes it will make or you can keep them organized in folders that tell you what they’re for.