When installing Windows 2000 or Windows XP, a backup copy of the registry hives is stored in the C:\Windows\Repair directory which can be used if the registry becomes corrupt at some point of time. The problem is that registry hives in the Repair folder do not get automatically updated whenever you install or uninstall a software, customize your profile or make configuration changes in your system. Therefore, if you restore the registry hives from the Repair directory in case of a disaster, all of your settings would be lost.
Fig 1: Repair directory containing the default registry hives
It’s important to keep the Repair folder updated, especially if don’t have a registry backup tool (such as ERUNT) installed in your system.
Updating Registry Hives in the Repair folder
Before proceeding, ensure that the system is running stable. Also, make a backup of the files in C:\Windows\Repair to a separate folder.
The Windows\Repair directory can be updated by running a System State Backup using the native NTBackup Tool in Windows XP. When you perform a backup operation with the System State option enabled, NTBackup updates the Repair folder. If you’re using Windows XP Home Edition, note that the NTBackup tool needs to be installed from the Windows XP CD-ROM. See article How to install the Backup utility from the CD-ROM in Windows XP Home Edition for more information.
1. Click Start, Run and type NTBackup.exe
2. Click Advanced Mode
3. Select Backup Wizard (Advanced) option
4. Select Only back up the System State data, and click Next.
5. Type a name for the backup, choose the destination path, and click Next.
6. To start the backup, click Finish.
7. When the Backup Status changes to Backing up files from your computer…, click the Cancel button to stop the System State Backup operation. By that time, the Repair folder would have been updated.
If you’re wanting to perform a System State backup in addition to updating the Repair folder, then don’t click the Cancel button.
In the following figure you can see that the Repair folder is updated. Compare the Date Modified field in Fig 1 with Fig 8.
Fig 8: Repair directory containing the updated registry hives.
You may consider updating the registry hives every week. The updated registry hives in the Repair folder can come in handy if you experience a registry corruption error when starting Windows XP. In addition to the above, it’s recommended to backup the registry regularly using ERUNT.
About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.