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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    No longer able to back up registry using regedit in Windows 8

    We have all learned how important it is to backup the registry before tinkering with it. In the past I have always used the export function in regedit to backup the registry. This creates a .reg file. Double-clicking on the .reg file merges this file back into the registry and restores it to its original condition. This works with the entire registry or a selected registry key. This procedure always worked fine and allowed me to keep a fresh backup of the registry. Now comes along Windows 8. The above procedure simply will not work in Windows 8. The .reg file seems to be created OK but when you try to merge it back into the registry by double-clicking on it or right-clicking and selecting “merge”, you get the usual warning message, then you get the error message:

    Cannot import <.reg file>: not all data was successfully written to the registry. Some keys are open by the system or other processes, or you have insufficient privileges to perform this operation.

    Exactly what causes this error and why won’t it work as it did before Windows 8? No other programs are running and I have no idea what processes could cause it. I have taken ownership privileges of the registry key I am trying to backup and the .reg file. This has stumped me for over three weeks and any help would surely be appreciated.

    John

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    John,

    Have you attempted to read the file with Administrator Privileges? Try opening an elevated command prompt then navigate to the folder with your .reg file. Once there just enter the name of the registry file and press Enter. You'll be prompted just as if you double clicked on it. HTH
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  3. #3
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    I tried your suggestion but get the exact same error. Its strange how this worked in previous versions of Windows but won't work in Windows 8.
    Thanks for your help. Any more suggestions would be appreciated.

    John

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    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarome View Post
    This has stumped me for over three weeks and any help would surely be appreciated.
    John,

    Hello.. I know it's too late now ...but in the future.... "Image" ...There are programs that will do "System State" and others that will Image with compression the whole OS ... I use both free and "Pay for" ones ...I can recommend a free one to start .... Macrium Reflect Free ... Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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    I regularly use Acronis True Image and the Windows program to create images of my C: drive but unfortunately all the images I have contain the defective registry I want to restore. Windows Defender is broken and I need to fix it. The problem is the Windows Defender Service is missing and I need to import the proper registry key from a computer where WD is working properly into the machine where WD is broken to restore the WD Service. This is where I get into trouble as Windows won't let me merge the .reg file as described above.

    Thanks for your suggestion.

    John

  6. #6
    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain Fred View Post
    John,

    Hello.. I know it's too late now ...but in the future.... "Image" ...There are programs that will do "System State" and others that will Image with compression the whole OS ... I use both free and "Pay for" ones ...I can recommend a free one to start .... Macrium Reflect Free ... Regards Fred
    When all one wants to do is back up the Registry, taking a full image seems like overkill.

    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...name=c03485724 is HP's description of how to back up and restore the Win 8 Registry. It's pretty much the way jarome described it, though does explicitly refer to logging in as an administrator and using the 'import' function in regedit rather than simply double-clicking on the .reg file to perform the restore. Other descriptions found with a quick Google are similar, which suggests that jarome's system may in some way be unusual.

  7. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarome View Post
    Windows Defender is broken and I need to fix it. The problem is the Windows Defender Service is missing and I need to import the proper registry key from a computer where WD is working properly into the machine where WD is broken to restore the WD Service. This is where I get into trouble as Windows won't let me merge the .reg file as described above.
    Sometimes one has to resort to operating on the Registry while it's off line. http://www.pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/bootdisk.html contains one mechanism (though it doesn't appear to have been tested on Win 8). REGEDT32 allows one to load a Registry hive from somewhere else (e.g., if you multi-boot with another Windows system you could use for this purpose or could temporarily move your disk to another machine to do so), operate upon it, and save the result on older NT-based systems, but I have no experience doing this on Win 8.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I do not believe it is ever overkill to create a new Image. I realize just backing up the registry is sufficient for what the OP wants to do, but keeping an Up To Date Image is always appropriate in my view. I create a new Image every time I install updates on patch Tuesday. In this way my Image is quite up to date. I just installed a new beta AVG 2014 and I created an Image just prior to installing the beta app.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarome View Post
    I tried your suggestion but get the exact same error. Its strange how this worked in previous versions of Windows but won't work in Windows 8.
    Thanks for your help. Any more suggestions would be appreciated.
    John,

    Hello..Have you tried to enter Safe Mode? Last known etc. This might help Windows 8 Safe Mode Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  10. #10
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    The HP method is essentially what I am doing and it simply DOES NOT WORK! I have tried this on several computers, all running Windows 8 and it won't work on any of them. Most have minimal software installed and all are clean and working perfectly.

    Still looking for an answer.

    John

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    Rebooting into Safe Mode is one of the first things I tried. No better, works the same way. Also loading a previous Restore Point didn't work. Apparently the bad registry is in all previous Restore Points as Windows Defender is still broken. The plan as of now is to abandon Windows Defender completely and load AVG as my primary, on-line AV program. But still would like to know why I can't restore a .reg file.

    John

  12. #12
    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    I do not believe it is ever overkill to create a new Image.
    Does this mean, for example, that you'd create an entire series of images simply to ensure that you'd have a very up-to-date copy (and perhaps some previous versions as well) of a single file that you were actively updating just in case of a system malfunction? If not, I'll suggest that you're indulging in a bit of hyperbole and reiterate my statement that if all you want to do is back up your Registry (for whatever reasons, which in the absence of direct evidence to the contrary one should accord the poster the respect of assuming are good ones) then taking a full image indeed seems like overkill.

  13. #13
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarome View Post
    Rebooting into Safe Mode is one of the first things I tried. No better, works the same way. Also loading a previous Restore Point didn't work. Apparently the bad registry is in all previous Restore Points as Windows Defender is still broken. The plan as of now is to abandon Windows Defender completely and load AVG as my primary, on-line AV program. But still would like to know why I can't restore a .reg file.
    John,
    Hello.... Have you tried to run "sfc /scannow" from an "Elevated Command" prompt ? Space after sfc and no quotes ...Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  14. #14
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    Fred--
    Yes. I did try "sfc /scannow" from an elevated command prompt and it found no problems. Not sure if this would detect a corrupt registry.

    John

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    What is the problem with Windows Defender?

    Also, I do a lot of manual registry editing. The only thing I ever backup is the key I'm working on.

    When I'm doing a major overhaul (as in carving up Windows and putting it back together my way) I make a drive image at each successful stage.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-06-04 at 18:35. Reason: clarity
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

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