Restore selected registry keys from full backup

Posted on 2013-11-19
Last Modified: 2013-11-30

I recently installed a program to view a video that I couldn't see in any of my existing programs. Unfortunately, it took it upon itsself to grab virtually every media extension, without even asking.

I would like to restore the registry file extensions to how they were before this installation. However, the only backup I have is a full Genie Backup Manager one.

Is there any way to bring back the registry files to another location and select the original file extensions key from there? I'm not even sure which files make up the registry in XP.

Any help will be gratefully accepted.


Question by:JoanEdington
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 39659982
Some video players have a menu option to re-associate extensions to that application. It displays a list of extensions, and you check off which ones to associate with that application. That doesn't work with Windows Media Player, however. WMP must be fixed through Windows Explorer by following these steps:

1. Open the folder that contains the file you want to change.
2. Right-click the file you want to change, and then click Open With.
3. Click the program that you want to use to open this file automatically.
4. Select the Always use the selected program to open this kind of file check box, and then click OK.

Author Comment

ID: 39662232
Thanks for that Thomas. As you suggested, I had already attempted to go to each application I used and re-associate file types, after dis-associating everything from the offending program. Most are OK, in that they open the correct program and are listed correctly in the file associations. However, they don't always display the correct icon against the files in explorer. I can live with that though. My main problem is that I don't honestly know what some of the file types actually are and what used them previously. I will have to do a bit of research there. I guess I'll go with what I have until something doesn't work, then I can change that particular file type.

I was really hoping to be able to restore the file associations in the registry but, if that is not possible, I'll plough on.

If anyone does know of a way to restore the registry file associations, it would still save me a lot of hassle.
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

ThomasMcA2 earned 250 total points
ID: 39663980
OK, now that I understand your issue better, let's get back to your original question. File associations are stored in the HKCR (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT) hive of the registry. You could restore the entire hive using the REG command. However, the command only works with backups that were created with the REG SAVE command - I don't know if your Genie backup conforms to the REG SAVE format. If it does, you could do something like this:

Save your current settings first
if not exist HKCR.reg reg save HKCR HKCR.reg

Open in new window

This restores the relevant portion of the registry:
:: Load the Genie backup into a temporary location of the current Registry
reg load HKLM\TempHive

:: Copy the HKCR hive from the backup
reg copy HKLM\TempHive\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT HKCR /s /f

Open in new window

Once you are sure that the problem is fixed, delete the temporary hive:

reg delete HKLM\TempHive /f

Open in new window


Author Comment

ID: 39673096
Hi Thomas,
I'm sorry not to have been back to you yet but I'm trying to get help from Genie Backuo support about the format of their registry backup and how I may get this key extracted. I will post again when I have heard back, either with success or not.
Many thanks for the help in the meantime.
Kind regards,
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Author Comment

ID: 39678530
I have heard back from Genie support and what I really wanted to do is not posssible. Selected keys can only be restored if they were backed up separately. Since I backed up the full registry, that is all I can restore.

Would it be possible for me to somehow export the current registry, restore my previous one, export the FileExts key only, restore the backup of my current registry then load the exported correct FileExts key?

I'm not sure how that might be done and would be worried what might happen to my system during the process.

Kind regards,

LVL 14

Assisted Solution

ThomasMcA2 earned 250 total points
ID: 39678624
Another option may be to use System Restore to undo the registry changes (from

1.    Click Start, click Run, type %SystemRoot%\System32\Restore\Rstrui.exe, and then click OK.
2.    On the Welcome to System Restore page, click Restore my computer to an earlier time (if it is not already selected), and then click Next.
3.    On the Select a Restore Point page, click a bolded date that is prior to when you installed the video program - bolded dates contain 1 or more restore points. (If there are no bolded dates that are prior to your installation date, then this process cannot be used to restore your Registry setup.) In the On this list select the restore point area, click an entry that is named "Guided Help (Registry Backup)," and then click Next. If a System Restore message appears that lists configuration changes that System Restore will make, click OK.
4.    On the Confirm Restore Point Selection page, click Next. System Restore restores the previous Windows XP configuration and then restarts the computer.
5.    Log on to the computer. When the System Restore confirmation page appears, click OK..

Author Comment

ID: 39687329
Many thanks for the help offered here. However, I think I will have to live with this for now since I don't really want to roll my PC back to an earlier point in case it upsets anything else that has been going on in the meantime. I'm still running Win XP so will have to be thinking of a new PC and OS very soon which will start out clean.
Thanks again.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39687332
I have marked what I think would have been the best solution if I had been backing up my registry in a differnt manner.

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