How To Manually Restore Registry In Windows XP

When registry files are corrupted, a number of error messages may be returned. These include missing or corrupted files or hives that cannot be loaded. It may be possible to recover the registry using Recovery Console and System Restore. There is some caution to be exercised when using this procedure, as full system recovery is not always guaranteed. A copy of Windows XP is needed.

Existing registry files should first be backed-up to a temporary folder, and the current files deleted. The files from the temporary folder can be copied to System32/config to be used to start Windows XP.

After loading Windows XP, and the PC restarted, press R to start the Recovery Console, at the “Welcome to Setup” screen.

When prompted enter the Administrator password, if  applicable.

At the Recovery Console command prompt,  the system, software, sam security and default files can be backed up to System 32 /Config and the existing files deleted. The required syntax is normally : copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak ” for backing up and “delete c:\windows\system32\config\system” for deleting.

To  complete the initial repair the command “copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system” is entered

The computer will automatically restart when The Recover Console is exited.

To complete the procedure, you must be logged on as an administrator. The registry files are copied from their backed up location by using System Restore. Some changes of  the settings may be required to make the folder visible, including displaying hidden files and folders. The System Volume Information folder can now be opened. This folder is normally unavailable  because it is set as a super-hidden folder,and contains one or more _restore {GUID} folders.

One of these folders should be opened to locate a Snapshot subfolder. The following path is an example of a  path to the Snapshot folder:

C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot. The registry files can then be copied to the Windows/Tmp folder and renamed with the following syntax:

Rename _Registry_User_Default to DEFAULT

Rename _Registry_Machine_Security to SECURITY

Rename _Registry_Machine_Software to SOFTWARE

Rename _Registry_Machine_Systemto SYSTEM

Rename _Registry_Machine_SAM to SAM

A new restore point and a new folder  that includes a copy of the registry files  is created with a new GUID under System Volume Information. It is important not to use the most current folder, with the same time stamp.

The registry files that were copied to the Tmp folder in the C:\Windows folder are moved to make sure that the files are available under Recovery Console. These files must be used to replace the registry files currently in the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder.

The existing registry files, must then be deleted and the System Restore Registry files copied to the Windows\System32\Config folder using the System Recovery Console. At the command prompt,  the delete and copy commands can be entered, in the following syntax:

del c:\windows\system32\config\sam  and copy c:\windows\tmp\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam  for the security,software, default and system files. The computer will restart on exiting the Recovery Console.

The final step involves restoring the computer to a previous point. This is easily done using System Tools in the Accessories Program.

As you may notice, this manual registry repair can be a tricky process, that can result in damage to your registry if it is not properly handled. Fortunately there are Registry Repair tools available that simplify the process. If you don’t feel like attempting this on your own, feel free to check out PC Health Advisor or Registry Booster. These registry cleaners can do a lot, leaving you with a much lighter stress load.

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