Is there a way I can import the WinXP registry from another installation?

Posted on 2007-07-26
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I need a tool to import the windows registry and settings in a new Windows XP installation from another old one. The problem is that I have broken my current XP and it can't be upgraded now (once installed on the final step - Finalyze installation, it starts to load and there's a blue screen appearing for a less than a second then my Laptop (Sony Vaio VGN-S38SP) reboots immediately, so I even can't see the message on the screen. I tried with another XP CD (the original, old ver) and the result was similar - a message on a green background saying that PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA occured). So, now I have a new copy of Win installed in a new directory and the old one, keeping all installed programs and settings and other important stuff there. The question again - is there a way I can import everything from the old one?
Question by:kkazssnnz
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    You shouldn't import everything - a lot of the registry is build specific and you could kill your system.  If you're not sure what you're doing in the registry you have great potential to break your installation of windows.  Also, always back up your registry before making any changes.

    You can open the previous hives from the registry editor, regedit.
    Select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then from menu bar, File>Load Hive.
    Navigate to the previous build's registry location and select the relevant file for the hive you want to import (system, software etc).  Give it a name (anything you like) and it will appear under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
    You can then navigate your old registry.  
    If you locate a key you want to import, highlight it and select File>Export and save as a .reg file.
    The highlight the loaded hive and select File>Unload Hive.
    Then you can edit the .reg file and correct all the key paths e.g. if you loaded the hive as 'loadedhive' the .reg file would have references like:
    These would ALL need to be corrected to point to the correct registry location on your current build.
    Then you can just import them by double-cicking the file.

    I reiterate, do not muck about with the registry if you are not sure what you are doing or don't know how to recover from any error you may make.
    I hope this is of some help.

    Author Comment


    It's a lot of work you know if you have almost hundreds of programs installed (many of them licensed and activated online and I guess there will be a problem with the activation again if registry lost). Also, the path to all installed programs is the same, since the old windows installation is within the /Windows directory and the new one is Windows.2, that's the only difference. Also, I don't have the installation binaries to a lot of stuff since it was a shipped OEM with ready installed programs from Sony and I don't have the discs. So, it will be a great help if I can find a tool which could help importing the necessary staff from the old one, I'll say it again - the paths to the programs and everything is the same.

    Author Comment

    And, where's the old registry location, I mean the path and the filename?! Thanks.
    LVL 2

    Accepted Solution

    It's not normally realistic to reinstall applications without the orginal setup files. Many programs update many areas of the registry, files in Progam Files and Windows, and other areas.  It may work for some simpler programs.  The old registry files are in C:\Windows\system32\config

    Author Comment

    I've copied the old registry files into the new location (the new Windows) and now there's the same error appearing during boot, after that the laptop reboot. So, I need a good tool for a registry repair and clean now. Any suggestions?

    Author Comment

    So, now I decided to proceed this way:

    1. I copied and overwrited

    into the new Windows location:

    2. Copied every profile from the C:\Documents and Setting\Old user to the new user profile
    (in my case user Sony to Sony.000, Default User to Default User.Windows.2

    3. Copied all filed that DO NOT exist in the new C:\Windows and its subfolders (did not overwrite anything), these are all DLLs and SYS and INF and etc. files that do not exist in the new installation(drivers for ex.)

    4. Reboot.

    5. Went to Control Panel/System/Device manager and let every adapter which was not found to Update its driver automatically and the windows installed the driver from system32/drivers or the folders around.

    So that's all. Now I have my new Windows installation and all programs from the old one working fine. Of course there're a few problems, Microsoft Office for ex. which should be re-installed but at least they are registered working with all previous settings now. Hope it will be of help to someone.

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