How do I back up the Windows Registry?
Whenever I try to import my backup copy of Windows Registry Editor, I get the
message "Not all data was successfully written to the Registry. Some keys are open by the system or
other processes." How do I fix this?
If you're trying to use RegEdit to save and restore your Windows Registry, you're going to run
into this problem. RegEdit is a simple tool designed only to edit individual Registry entries and
not back up or restore the whole Registry. Otherwise, you'll be trying to overwrite Windows
Registry entries which are in use, and you'll do more harm than good.
If you want to back up the Windows Registry, one easy way to do this is to use the NTBACKUP
application. This tool is installed by default in Windows XP Pro, but can be installed from the
VALUEADDMSFTNTBACKUP folder on the XP Home installation CD.
If you check the "System State" box when performing a backup, a copy of the Registry will be
backed up along with the rest of your system. Backup copies of the Registry are also made whenever
a System Restore point is created—either when you create one manually, or once every 24 hours the
system's been up.
This was first published in August 2006