The Windows Registry contains all of the information Microsoft Windows needs to run on a specific system. The registry contains data regarding software and hardware that has been installed on the system, as well as specific user settings. Microsoft does not recommend editing your registry, as doing so could result in hardware or software malfunctioning within Windows, or may stop Windows from booting entirely.
If you find that your registry has been damaged, Windows has tools in place to allow you to recover the functionality of your computer quickly and easily. The following guide will walk you through repairing your registry, even if your computer will not boot properly.
Start here if you are not able to boot into Windows normally. If Windows starts up properly, skip to the next paragraph. Turn on your computer and tap the “F8” key as soon as the boot process has started. This will bring up the “Windows Advanced Options Menu.” From here, select “Safe Mode.” “Safe Mode” will boot Windows with minimal functions in place. Don’t be alarmed at the appearance of “Safe Mode,” as we will only be using it for a few minutes.
Click on the “Start Menu” in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and select “Control Panel” -> “System,” and click on the “System Restore” tab at the top of the Window. Click on “Restore my computer to an earlier time,” then click “Next.”
At this point, you will be presented with the available “Restore Points.” While you can select any “Restore Point,” I recommend selecting the most recent “Restore Point” first, as that will retain the majority of your other settings. If you find that restoring the earliest date does not fix your problem, then repeat this process and select another “Restore Point.” Once you have chosen your “Restore Point,” click “Next” and wait for Windows to revert to its previous state. Once the computer has restarted, you should be good to go.
In the future, if you do find yourself in a situation where you have chosen to modify your Windows Registry on your own, be sure to create a backup of the Registry before making any changes. To create a registry backup manually from the “Registry Editor,” click “File” then “Export.” In the “Export Registry File” window, ensure that “All” is selected under “Export Range” at the bottom of the window, enter a name for the backup, choose a location to save it, then click “Save.” To restore a registry backup created in this manner, simply double click on the registry backup file.