Many errors and problems on a Windows computer can be traced directly back to the registry. While some are only minor annoyances, others can be quite significant. If these problems are not addressed in a timely manner, you can lose the functionality of Windows entirely once the operating system become unusable.
Such occurrences are signs that let you know your registry is terribly damaged or corrupt and needs to be repaired immediately. The purpose is this guide is to provide you with step by step instructions on how to repair the Windows registry.
Fix the Registry with System Restore
We will start with a method that only has a moderate degree of difficulty. System Restore is a Windows function that regularly makes snapshot backups of your configuration settings, operating system files, and yes, even the registry itself. This tool can really come in handy because if your PC crashes, you can restore it to a state where it was working fine by selecting a given snapshot taken before all the problems.
Since System Restore makes backups on a daily basis, particularly before major system configuration adjustments are made, System Restore is certainly worth a shot at repairing the registry.
To use this feature, simply follow the steps below:
- Open the “Start” menu, select “All Programs”, navigate to “Accessories”, then “Tools” and choose “System Restore.”
- On the “Welcome to System Restore” page, select “Restore my computer to an earlier time” and then click on the “Next” tab.
- Next, choose the date on the calendar you want to restore the system to, ensuring that it is a time when the computer was under normal working conditions. After making your selection, click “Next.”
- Verify your choice on the “Confirm Restore Point Selection” page and click the “Next” tab to initiate the restoration process.
Once you have completed the steps above, System Restore will revert the registry, system files, and configuration back to the time of your choosing.
Fix the Registry with Recovery Console
Unfortunately, your registry may be damaged to a point where you cannot access the System Restore feature on the operating system itself. When this is the case, you have to result to other measures, and one of them involves isolating the registry files and replacing the system settings responsible for all the trouble.
The best tool for this task is the Recovery Console, a built-in Windows utility that allows you to fix various problems related to your hard drive.
To access and use the Recovery Console, follow the steps below:
- Insert your Windows installation CD and restart your computer. It is important to make sure your system is configured to read the CD before it attempts to load the default Windows installation.
- When the system reboots and reaches the “Welcome to Windows” screen, press the “R” button on your keyboard to access the Recovery Console.
- On the next screen, you will be prompted to enter an administrator password. If no password was ever assigned, simply press enter and you will be taken directly to the Recovery Console.
The Recovery Console is a command line-based utility that looks quite similar to MS DOS. There are no icons or other options found in the standard Windows environment, so you must enter commands in order to perform actions.
To begin repairing the registry, enter the following commands and press enter after each line:
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak
copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default
After entering these demands, exit the Recovery Console and restart your PC. From here, you want to log into Safe Mode as more adjustments must be made to the registry.
From Safe Mode, you can access critical system files in the “C:\System Volume Information” folder. Within this folder, you will find subfolders that represent restore points. You can repair your registry by copying files from the archived restore points and pasting them over the damaged files, which can be found in the “C:\Windows\System32\Config” folder. From here, save the changes and restart Windows in normal mode. You should now be able to run your computer without all the registry errors and problems that prevented it from working properly.
Use a Registry Cleaner
As you can see, the steps above require you to get hands on in order to repair your computer. While these steps can be performed when following careful instructions, some users just do not feel comfortable tampering with such sensitive areas of a computer system.
The simple solution would be to use a registry cleaner. These programs have the ability to scan the Windows registry and automatically repair any problems that are detected. With a reliable tool, you can optimize your PC and ensure its health for a long time to come.