Recover Registry entries old harddisk

Posted on 2004-09-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
My Old hard disk crashed, i received a new obe, but we where not able to make a disk-image so i had to re-install all the software.
Now, the old hard disk is still running (but some files are corrupted) i would like to get some registry setiings back.
I know, i've forgotton to export them first.
Is this possible and if so, where is the 'registry' located on disk.

Kinds Regards
Question by:HLEBOEUF
  • 4
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 12074080
Here are the locations of the Registry Database:

The Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 Registration Database is contained in these 6 files located in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config folder (default is C:\Winnt\System32\Config for Windows NT or C:\Windows\System32\Config for Windows 2000/XP/2003):

DEFAULT = stores the HKEY_USERS\.Default key.

SAM = stores the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Sam key.

SECURITY = stores the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security key.

SOFTWARE = stores the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software key.

SYSTEM = stores the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System key and the HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG Hive key.

USERDIFF = stores the HKEY_CURRENT_USER Hive key with a correspondent subkey for every registered user,
these 2 files located in the %SystemRoot%\Profiles\%UserName% folder:

NTUSER.DAT (Windows NT/2000/XP/2003) + USRCLASS.DAT (Windows XP/2003 only) = store the HKEY_CURRENT_USER Hive key,
and their automatically created backups from the last known good booting process (successful startup):

SYSTEM.ALT = backup of SYSTEM file above.

DEFAULT.SAV, SOFTWARE.SAV + SYSTEM.SAV = backups of first Hive keys created at the end of a successful (text mode) Setup.
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

Fatal_Exception earned 1000 total points
ID: 12074094
Forgot to reference the link:


You can import (load) the databases into your current registry, but be careful and backup your current registry first..
LVL 59

Expert Comment

ID: 12075304
Boot up in a parallel copy of XP.


If the information you want to access was in HKEY_CURRENT_USER: Highlight HKEY_USERS, choose "Load hive" from the File menu, open

C:\Documents and settings\<UserProfileName>\ntuser.dat.

When asked for a name, choose "OldProfile" (or whatever other easily remembered name you choose).  Access/backup the keys you're interested in. Once you're done, highlight the "OldProfile" key, choose "Unload hive" from the file menu.

If the information you want to access was in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System or in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software: Highlight HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, choose "Load hive" from the File menu, open




(no extension). When asked for a name, choose "OldSystem" or "OldSoftware" (or whatever). Access/backup the keys you're interested in. Once you're done, highlight the "OldSystem" or "OldSoftware" key, choose "Unload hive" from the file menu.
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Expert Comment

ID: 12075488

Start the Recovery Console.
Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.
Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.
If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the installation that you want to access from the Recovery Console.
When you are prompted to do so, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.

At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:
cd system32\config
ren system system.old
ren software software.old
ren SAM SAM.old
ren security security.old
ren default default.old
cd \
cd windows\repair
copy system C:\windows\system32\config\system
copy software C:\windows\system32\config\software
copy sam C:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy security C:\windows\system32\config\security
copy default C:\windows\system32\config\default

Click Start , click Shut Down (or click Turn Off Computer ), click Restart , and then click OK (or click Restart ).
Press the F8 key.

On a computer that is configured to start to multiple operating systems, you can press F8 when you see the Startup menu.
Use the arrow keys to select the appropriate Safe mode option, and then press ENTER.
If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, use the arrow keys to select the installation that you want to access, and then press ENTER.
In part two, you copy the registry files from their backed up location by using System Restore. This folder is not available in Recovery Console and is generally not visible during typical usage. Before you start this procedure, you must change several settings to make the folder visible:
Start Windows Explorer.
On the Tools menu, click Folder options .
Click the View tab.
Under Hidden files and folders, click to select Show hidden files and folders, and then click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box.
Click Yes when the dialog box that confirms that you want to display these files appears.
Double-click the drive where you installed Windows XP to display a list of the folders. If is important to click the correct drive.
Open the System Volume Information folder. This folder is unavailable and appears dimmed because it is set as a super-hidden folder.

Note This folder contains one or more _restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".

Note You may receive the following error message:
C:\System Volume Information is not accessible. Access is denied.

Open a folder that was not created at the current time. You may have to click Details on the View menu to see when these folders were created. There may be one or more folders starting with "RP x under this folder. These are restore points.
Open one of these folders to locate a Snapshot subfolder. The following path is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:
C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot

From the Snapshot folder, copy the following files to the C:\Windows\Tmp folder:
Rename the files in the C:\Windows\Tmp folder as follows:

Start Recovery Console (or by using a Windows 98 Boot Disk).
At the command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:
del c:\windows\system32\config\sam

del c:\windows\system32\config\security

del c:\windows\system32\config\software

del c:\windows\system32\config\default

del c:\windows\system32\config\system

copy c:\windows\tmp\software c:\windows\system32\config\software

copy c:\windows\tmp\system c:\windows\system32\config\system

copy c:\windows\tmp\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam

copy c:\windows\tmp\security c:\windows\system32\config\security

copy c:\windows\tmp\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

Note Some of these command lines may be wrapped for readability.
Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer restarts.

Click Start , and then click All Programs .
Click Accessories , and then click System Tools .
Click System Restore , and then click Restore to a previous RestorePoint.

best of luck
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 12076599

I do not think that will work, at least the way you describe it.  This is actually a method used to bring the system back from a corrupted registry as outlined at the Microsoft KB.  They need to import the old up to date registry from the slave drive over to the new drive...  that method you outline will not work in this instance..

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Expert Comment

ID: 12122416


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