Registry Fix

How to restore Registry from its secret backup on Windows 10

Windows 10 secretly makes a backup of the Registry in a RegBack folder, and you can use it to manually restore your computer to a working condition. Here's how.

Config folder showing RegBack folder with the Registry backup files in Windows 10

Usually, it’s never a good idea to edit the Registry, because the database contains low-level settings necessary for the OS and certain apps to work correctly.

However, sometimes, you may need to modify the Registry to change specific system settings, and if you forget to create the backup, or during an installation of faulty update the Registry gets corrupted, you can still recover Windows 10 using the secret Registry backup.

You probably didn’t know this, but the OS keeps a backup of a working Registry for recovery purposes, which you can use to manually restore your computer to a working condition when you don’t have a backup.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to manually restore the previous version of the Registry from its automated backup on Windows 10.

Important: Since the April 2018 Update, Windows 10 no longer creates automatic backups of the registry hives to reduce the system footprint. If you want this functionality, you must re-enable it manually using these steps. Also, remember that modifying system files can further damage your Windows installation if it’s not done correctly. It’s assumed that you know what you’re doing and that you have previously created a full backup of your computer. Proceed with caution and use this as the last course of action.

How to manually restore the Registry

Use these steps to manually restore the Registry on Windows 10:

  1. Start your PC with the Advanced startup options.

  2. Click on Troubleshoot.

  3. Click on Advanced options.

  4. Click on Command Prompt.

  5. When your device starts in Command Prompt, it’ll start on X:\Windows\System32. Now you need to move to the drive letter where Windows is installed. While the operating system is installed on C:\, when you boot your computer on recovery mode, this drive letter changes to something else. However, in most cases the drive letter is D:\. Type the following command to enter into the correct drive where Windows is installed and press Enter:

    d:\
  6. Type the following command to verify you’re in the correct drive and press Enter:

    dir
    Command Prompt in Advanced startup
    Command Prompt in Advanced startup

    If you see the Windows folder, you’re in the correct drive letter, if not, go back to step 5 and try another letter.

  7. Type the following command to enter into the System32 folder and press Enter:

    cd d:\windows\system32

    Remember to change D in the command with the correct drive letter for your scenario.

    Windows 10 Config folder
    Windows 10 Config folder
  8. Type the following command to create a folder to temporary backup of files on the config folder, which also happens to store a copy of the Registry, and press Enter:

    mkdir configBak
  9. Type the following command to create a temporary backup of the files in the config folder, and press Enter:

    copy config configBak

    Making a backup copy of the Registry on Windows 10
    Making a backup copy of the Registry on Windows 10
  10. Type the following command to move inside the RegBack, which contains a backup of the Registry, and press Enter:

    cd config\RegBack
  11. Type the following command to verify the content of the RegBack folder and press Enter:

    dir
    RegBack folder content
    RegBack folder content
    Warning: After running the dir command, the size of the files (SYSTEM, SOFTWARE, SAM, SECURITY, DEFAULT) should be similar to the ones you see in the screenshot. If any of the files shows 0, do NOT continue as you won’t be able to repair your Windows 10 installation and your device may stop booting.
  12. Type the following command to copy the files from the RegBack folder to the config folder and press Enter and Y on every question to confirm:

    copy * ..\*

    Restoring Registry from its backup
    Restoring Registry from its backup on Windows 10
  13. Close the Close button from the top-right.

Once you complete the steps, your computer will reboot, and Windows 10 should be able to start correctly.

We’re focusing this guide on Windows 10, but the concept also applies for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

Update July 3, 2019: This guide was originally published in November 2016, and it’s been revised for the latest version of Windows 10.