Most of you already know what the Windows registry is and what it does. I’ll tell you about it anyway, just in case you’ve forgotten. The Windows registry is the keeper of all the settings in Windows and many of the programs you install. If something goes wrong in the registry, you can end up with a PC that won’t even boot properly.
In some of the older Windows operating systems, such as Win95, 98 and ME, your PC used to back up the registry every time you rebooted. If you are using Windows 2000, XP, Vista or Win7, this isn’t true. In those older systems, you could restore an older copy of the registry while you were booting up. In the newer systems, you can’t do that.
Many years ago, I ran into a program called ERUNT that solves this problem to some extent. The name stands for Emergency Recovery Utility NT. ERUNT allows you to back up the registry completely and restore older copies of the registry if you run into any problems. It has saved me plenty of headaches over the years.
The ERUNT program is fairly small. The installer is about 772kb when you download it. The installation is fairly standard up to the final option. You will be asked if you want ERUNT to run every time Windows starts. I always tell it No’, but it’s a great safety option.
Once installed, you can launch ERUNT from your Start menu, or a shortcut. You’ll see a screen like this.
As you can see, the default location of the backup files is a folder called ERDNT inside the Windows folder. Once you click the OK button to start the backup operation, it actually does it’s job fairly quick.
Now that you have a backup, what good is it? Let’s use me as an example. I had recently tried out a new image viewer and I didn’t like it after trying it. I tried to uninstall it, and I found out that the uninstall wouldn’t work. The image viewer had changed all of my image file type settings and now there was no way to return them to the original settings.
If I had used ERUNT before installing the image viewer, I’d be able to restore the registry to make all of those changes vanish. Unfortunately, I hadn’t made any backups, and I ended up with far more trouble. Hopefully, I won’t do that again.
To recover the registry from an earlier backup, you need to go to the C:\Windows\ERDNT folder, then into one of the dated backup folders. Once inside one of the date folders, you’ll see the ERDNT.exe file.
Double click the ERDNT file to launch the restore operation. Once it’s finished, you will be prompted to reboot the PC. During the reboot, Windows will load the backup copy of the registry.
Here’s what I recommend for the use of ERUNT.
â€¢ Back up the registry just before installing new programs.
â€¢ Back up the registry just before you start a Windows update.
â€¢ Back up the registry on a regular basis (like once a week).
ERUNT works in Windows NT, 2000, XP, and I’ve read it also works with Windows 7 and Vista.
When you install ERUNT, it also provides you with a utility called NTREGOPT. This is a registry optimizing tool and supposedly compacts the registry to remove wasted space in it. I don’t use it often, but you may find it useful.
Techie Buzz Verdict:
If you want to prepare for disaster, you should always keep full backups of your Windows hard drives. For smaller and quicker backups, you can use ERUNT to back up the Windows registry. It could save you hours of trouble, and I could almost say it’s a must have‘ utility.
Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)