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Windows 2000 Registry files copy

Posted on 2000-03-09
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
Dear Experts:

If I am not mistaken, Registry in Windows 2000 is represented by 5 files (Default, Sam, Security, Software and System) residing in \System32\Config\. Unlike under Windows 98, these files cannot be copied "on the fly", i.e. directly *from within* Windows (in order to create backups, for exapmple). What can I do if I want to get copies of exactly these files (not whole "exported" registry, or odd registry subkeys) without unloading windows (dropping out to DOS, etc.)? Are there any work-arounds?
Your advice will be highly appreciated.

Respectfully,
PP
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Question by:ppdanila
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by:SysExpert
ID: 2602570
Create an emergency boot disk. Under NT4 it used to be rdisk /s. I'm not sure about W2k. On the emergency floppy it keeps a compressed version of all 5 files, and also backs them up in the \winnt\repair dir.
I'll check what w2k uses and get back to you.
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SysExpert earned 75 total points
ID: 2602596
OK, choose Help from the Start menu and do a search for ERD, it says - how to create and Emergency....
There is a shortcut to the backup program and instructions.
It runs from the backup program now.
I hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:ppdanila
ID: 2602937
Hi,
Thank you, but I'm not interested in an emergency disk. Besides, these files cannot possibly be put on a floppy, for they are more than 10 MB. I would like a copy on the HD - not a compressed one, - and am looking for a tool to obtain such.

PP
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 2603118
Doesn't the backup program allow backing up the registry /system files? It should allow this by choosing to backup any file in the winnt dir and checking the bacjup local registry option.  As for the
5 files (Default, Sam, Security, Software and
                    System) residing in \System32\Config\.
Don't forget that the ERD compresses them to fit on a floppy !! This is also how the repair function is supposed to work when it requests the ERD. I'll see if there is another way, but an ERD is important in any case !
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Author Comment

by:ppdanila
ID: 2605963
Hi,
No, it doesn't, not in a way I am thinking about (like copying *individual* files to a different location), because msbackup converts any file, any directory, or any number of files into another compressed *file*, a kind of an archive of a non-conventional format. I don't like this procedure.

But, I think that I'll accept your previous comment as an answer, because now I understand clearly, that using msbackup utility is - so far - the only way to cheat Windows a little. While pretending we are trying to create an ERD, we can "backup" the Registry files to the Repair Folder, and then copy them from there to any location.

The only thing I don't quite understand is why the Registry files created in the Repair Folder *differ in size* from those in \System32\Config? Don't you think it's very unusual? What is the trick? Maybe, you can enlighten me?

Anyway, Thank you and All The Best,
PP
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 2606109
Like I mentioned. When creating an ERD ,Windows creates a special compressed version so that it WILL fit on a floppy. The registry is a database, and a lot of compression can be done on it. The same goes for most of the other security related files. Lucky for us databases compress so well !!
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Author Comment

by:ppdanila
ID: 2606589
I see. But the 5 files created in the Repair\Backup Folder are unlikely to be compressed variants. They are apparently regular copies of the original files. Therefore, I can't understand why they are of different size.
PP
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 2608654
The repair directory is used for a backup copy, and is full size so that if windows has problems booting, it can immediately restore from the repair directory without having to worry about decompressing the files. Also on the hard disk, NT does not normally worry much about file size. On floppies, it has no choice but to compress them. The ERD ( rdisk program on NT4 ) when run as rdisk /s would first backup the files to the repair directory, and then ask you if you wanted a diskette ERD, and it would then compress them onto the floppy. I hope this helps.
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 2608656
The repair directory is used for a backup copy, and is full size so that if windows has problems booting, it can immediately restore from the repair directory without having to worry about decompressing the files. Also on the hard disk, NT does not normally worry much about file size. On floppies, it has no choice but to compress them. The ERD ( rdisk program on NT4 ) when run as rdisk /s would first backup the files to the repair directory, and then ask you if you wanted a diskette ERD, and it would then compress them onto the floppy. I hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:ppdanila
ID: 2608757
When I said "different in size", actually I meant that they are a bit smaller, but not compressed. If files in the Repair Folder are supposed to be *regular copies* of the authentic Registry Files, why then they are not exactly the same? That's what I don't understand.
PP
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Author Comment

by:ppdanila
ID: 2608779
Besides that, I cannot see RDISK in Windows 2000. I am afraid, it doesn't exist in NT5. Or, it would have been extremely convenient to run rdisk /s for my purposes. Very unfortunate.
PP
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 2609758
Thr registry  has both dynamic and static elements. Part of the directory is created while booing ( dynamic ) while the rest is read directly from the reg files. The backups do not contain the dynamic part of the files/registries/databases. I hope this helps explain things.
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Author Comment

by:ppdanila
ID: 2610252
Thank you for the explanation. Now I feel convinced and calmed down. By the way, thanks to yor help, my batch procedure for system and sensitive files backup has been completed by now. I am satisfied.
PP
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