Automatic Windows 7 Registry Backup

March 1, 2011 at 01:23:08
Specs: Windows 7
I've used Windows 7 for several months, but I just re-installed
it after wiping the drive, and am setting it up. I don't recall
how backup worked. On Windows 98 SE, which I'm more familiar
with, five cabinet files are stored in the SYSBCKUP folder. One
of these cabinet files is created at the first boot of each day,
containing a copy of the Registry and not much else. I knew that
this was just a backup of the Registry, not a full backup.

I forgot that when I told Windows 7 where to store its back-up.

The first backup it created is over 7 GB. It is a backup of the
whole system, way larger than the Registry backup done by Win 98,
and was scheduled by default to take place only once a week.

Does Windows 7 also back up the Registry daily like Windows 98,
and can I tell it where to store those backups, even if I turn
off automatic full backups?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


See More: Automatic Windows 7 Registry Backup

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#1
March 1, 2011 at 05:12:20
Windows 7 uses a system restore which allows you to roll back your system to multiple prior dates if you have a problem. This effectively backs up system files and registry in a multiple recoverable system. Everytime you make a change, an update, an install or uninstall, as well as once a week this sets a restore point. As long as system restore is active, you are always covered. Also it is advised to make a recovery DVD in case your disaster is even more severe than system restore can handle. With these two and an automatic back up to a second or external drive, you are completely covered.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#2
March 1, 2011 at 07:02:33
Okay. To be perhaps a bit more clear, I had mistakenly assumed that
the backup I was setting was comparable to that on Windows 98.
Apparently the separate Registry backup function has been dropped in
favor of a whole-system backup. Is that correct? The Registry backup
on my Win 98 computer is 692 kB, while the first backup made by my
Win 7 computer is 7 GB. That is 10,647 times the size of the Win 98
Registry backup, and more than twice the entire disk capacity of my
Win 98 computer. Just for one backup containing no data files. I was
expecting it to take up a trivial part of the logical drive I was assigning
it to, but instead it takes nearly half the drive. So apparently I need to
either give the backup storage a fairly large portion of the physical
drive (or another drive), or turn it off completely. Is that correct?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#3
March 1, 2011 at 19:25:51
Back up by default in Windows 7 backs up your personal files, namely your Documents folder, Pictures, Music, etc. if they are in the normal locations it expects to find them. You have to think differently today, hard drives are larger and cheaper and people in general keep work, personal correspondences, photos, music, and sometimes saved emails for a long time and expect it to be a permanent place to keep them. For this you need a completely separate drive in case of a drive failure so you do not loose the backup along with the originals. I took the old 80GB drive from my old XP machine and use that for my back up destination, and that is considered as small by many. Two of my daughters use 320GB and 500GB external hard drives for their back ups, one mostly for photos and music, and the other for Autocad, Photoshop, and other schoolwork back ups.
I believe you can still make a registry back up manually, such as when you are making manual changes, but normally System Restore will cover you on this. Today with Windows 7, if you use back up for your personal files that are important to you, make a recovery disk for recovering Windows itself in the event of a major crash or disk failure, use System Restore for all of those more minor problems that will inevitably happen (system file recovery, registry roll back, failed installs and updates), you should be all covered.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#4
March 2, 2011 at 07:29:26
So, is there a way built in to automatically back up just the Registry
or whatever files are most likely to be corrupted, as there is in
Windows 98? Or does it have to back up the entire system every time?
The Registry backup is done on the first boot each day, and takes only
two seconds. The Windows 7 backup, being more than ten thousand times
larger, took five minutes or so on a much faster computer, almost all
of which must have been wasted copying system files that never change.

As I said in the first post, I used Windows 7 for several months before
wiping the disk clean and reinstalling it Monday. During that time, I
didn't change the backup storage location from the default, so I presume
it was stored on the Windows logical drive. Does that mean it stored
over 7 GB of backup data every week on the Windows drive?

I have other means of backing up my data, which is on separate drives.
But I'd like to have a backup of the Registry, too, similar to what
Windows 98 provides.

Since you emphasize making a recovery disk, could you explain what a
recovery disk contains that the installation disk does not?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#5
March 2, 2011 at 20:14:02
First read again what system restore does (google if you want to read more on it). With it you do not really need a registry back up unless you do manual registry changes.
Second, you can set back up to ONLY copy over files that have had changes made to them. By ONLY backing up the changed files and leaving the back up of the unchanged files, your back up will take a small fraction of the time that a full back up does.
Third, Whether your back up saves one copy or more than one copy is settable within the back up program.
Fourth, a registry back up CAN be made manually, but is not part of Back up, BUT is already done as part of System Restore (see above).
Fifth, a recovery disk can reinstall your system to the point you are currently at, including all of your preferences, rather than starting from scratch.

I have used System Restore with XP before and it can help you recover from a wide variety of problems. I have not needed to use it yet with Windows 7, but I have recommended it successfully to solve quite a number problems people have gotten themselves into. If you have a program or update install that goes badly wrong, you can use system restore to a time before the install, and it is as if you never even tried the install. Just as one example.

You are still thinking in the terms of Windows 98, you need to think in the terms of a more modern operating system.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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