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  1. #1
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Hardware settings backup

    I was having printer issues today, and finally resolved them by restoring a registry backup. Thing is, by doing that I may be messing up installed or changes made since the backup. So...

    Could I start out with a bare metal Windows install, then install just the hardware (drivers and settings), and then export that registry, so that if I have hardware issues later on down the road I could import that backup without disturbing any other software install(s)?

    Regards,
    Chuck Billow
    -------------------------------------------------
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment."

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    That won't work. It will indeed disturb whatever you've installed (that writes keys/values to the registry) after that registry export.

    Regular drive/partition imaging cures those kinds of ills.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    I know I can use imaging. That's how I do my backups. I was hoping for a solution that wouldn't require the time and space it would take to do constant imaging (in order to make sure all the data files etc. are included).

    Ah well...

    Thanks,
    Chuck
    -------------------------------------------------
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment."

    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

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    Unless you can work out exactly which key to modify to fix your issue there is not much you can do. The registry is complex and bulk changes will cause problems.

    cheers, Paul

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    When you use an external HDD for the system images, it just over writes the existing one so it wouldn't saturate the HDD.

    When I create my system images for an OEM machine, I include the D: Recovery drive as well so each one created is a full system image.

    I use a Seagate 500GB external drive and as well as the images for both my laptops, I also have images on there for two relatives who don't download anything and mainly use them for Facebook/e-mails with one of them prone to the odd infection and there's still over half the disk free.

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    I back up my system to an external as well. I was trying to avoid the (often) hour(s) that could be involved backing up the current drive, and then restoring one that works, and then picking up the "pieces" of new data etc. that were put in place after the backup was made.

    There have been many times that it was just the registry that was messed up somehow.
    -------------------------------------------------
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  7. #7
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Paul, I'm not clear on something: If I start with a bare metal Windows install, then add just hardware, and then export it (the registry), won't those settings remain constant regardless of software installed? They should, shouldn't they? So that if I later import that registry -- not restore or recover it over the current one, but merge it -- why would any settings be disturbed for software or other settings that weren't there to start with? And the hardware settings that are there should be the same as those initial settings, shouldn't they?

    Chuck
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  8. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWBillow View Post
    There have been many times that it was just the registry that was messed up somehow.
    Do you by any chance use a "registry cleaner" from time to time?
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  9. #9
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWBillow View Post
    Paul, I'm not clear on something: If I start with a bare metal Windows install, then add just hardware, and then export it (the registry), won't those settings remain constant regardless of software installed? They should, shouldn't they? So that if I later import that registry -- not restore or recover it over the current one, but merge it -- why would any settings be disturbed for software or other settings that weren't there to start with? And the hardware settings that are there should be the same as those initial settings, shouldn't they?
    A merge would revert hardware settings to the bare metal registry settings and leave most of the rest intact, but if by chance you've updated a driver in between, that would be lost, as well as any Windows Updates that have updated any registry keys/values.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Driver updates are few and far between, so that isn't an issue. As for the Windows Updates, It would be easier, I would think, to just run the Update process again, rather than having to figure out how many changes the various software programs might make. Software changes would not affect hardware, and vice versa, yes? So, as long as all I had in that registry was the hardware and network settings and the Windows registration info, wouldn't those settings be able to merge without incident?
    -------------------------------------------------
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment."

    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

  11. #11
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    How about post #8? The only registry issues I've ever had to deal with were those I created myself, tinkerin' around in the registry.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  12. #12
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    I have on occasion (used a "cleaner"), yes. BUT...I always back up the registry first (via ERUNT ) -- in fact it is set to back up every thirty minutes automatically -- more out of paranoia than from any history of mishaps. I do though install software and updates somewhat frequently, but again, that shouldn't affect hardware settings should it? And, if it were to do so, I am back to my original question about restoring just the hardware settings via merge.

    I don't edit the registry directly, I "rely" on anything I install to do their own settings -- silly me.

    Chuck
    Last edited by CWBillow; 2014-09-28 at 15:57. Reason: typo
    -------------------------------------------------
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  13. #13
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I've gotten elbow deep in the registry A LOT, but that's because I don't run a Microsoft-sanctioned installation of Windows. I move Program Files, ProgramData and Users off the HDD that the OS is on, and put them on a separate HDD in their own separate partitions/logical drives. So there's a lot of registry editing to be done. But, once it's done, it's done.

    All along that route, whenever I make a move, I make a drive image first. I don't backup the registry at all - it's in the drive image. I don't use a registry cleaner, and strongly advocate against their use. The closest I get to that is using Revo Uninstaller in advanced mode to uninstall programs/apps/utilities, which does root through the registry and highlight pertinent keys/values associated with whatever it is I'm uninstalling.

    Drive imaging is my mainstay. Dual boot is my productivity enhancer. I can restore the OS in under 10 minutes while I'm working in the other side of my dual boot. As far as registry import/export or backup, I just don't. It's in my drive images. Critical data I duplicate and also write to DVD, so I'm covered multiple ways in that regard.

    Yes, merging a bare metal registry with your current registry will restore all your hardware registry keys/values to the bare metal state. But a merge overwrites any keys/values that already exist. The only warning you get is "Are you sure you want to merge?" It's not like merging folders, where you are warned that a file already exists. It just overwrites any duplicate with the contents of the merge.

    I just don't know what the downside of that might be. I'm not familiar enough with the intricacies of how Windows Update operates to know whether or not such a merge will compromise Windows Update to the point that it won't correct any errors that might be created by such a merge.

    Hopefully someone with more knowledge/experience in this area can jump in and give you a better answer.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  14. #14
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    I agree with what you are saying for the most part. In response I might give you an example that just occurred a couple days back:

    I have a wireless printer that I in fact seldom use or need. As often happens, however, when I DO need it, I DO, and often in a time-critical manner. So, the other day I went to print a document, and the printer wasn't being seen at all. I tried re-installing it to no avail. I "played" with it for about 30 minutes with no progress.

    When I restored the registry from a backup some two hours old, it worked. That then is where my question sprouted from, because if that DID work, and it IS hardware set up once and then unchanged, and the registry restore DID fix it -- this time -- why couldn't I put aside a backup of just the hardware and go from there?

    Chuck
    -------------------------------------------------
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment."

    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

  15. #15
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    What method do you propose to use to "restore" a registry backup?

    What had you changed on the system since the last backup?

    Joe

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