How To Backup Windows Registry with VB Script | JScript | command line

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(C) Kevin Languedoc (klanguedoc)


Backing up the Windows Registry is an accepted best practice before making changes to the Windows Registry. This is quite easy using the RegEdit tool in Microsoft Windows. You can export the whole registry or just one branch. This tutorial will show you how using the commandline method and also using VBScript. This is handy in a enterprise environment where you can't go from computer to computer.



Export (Backup) the whole registry (command line)

The Command Line method provides several options to be used in order to interface with the registry. For Exporting a branch or the whole Registry you can one of the following commands

The /e option notifies the regedit tool that is has to export the contents of the registry with or without a branch as follows:

regedit /e c:\reg_backup.reg

This command exports the complete registry to the reg_backup.reg file on the c drive. Note that the file does not have to be a reg file. Regedit can export to Word or a text file or a file of another type like rich text (rtf) also. See the screenshot below.

regedit /L:c:\system.dat /R:c:\user.dat /e c:\backup.reg

This command is similar to the first execept that it is using the system.dat and user.dat files which are the registry repositories.

regedit /e c:\backup.reg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows

This command would export on the specified branch and key. However I strngly urge anyone mofidying the registry to take a full backup because messing up the registry would have dire consequences on the computer's functiionality, even prevented Windows from starting.

Command Line RegEdit
Command Line RegEdit | Source

Export Registry using VBscript

Another way to export the contents of the Registry is to use VBScript or JScript. The principal is the same. If you are exporting a key then you would need to assign it to a variable as in the example below. Next assign a backup file to another variable like regFile. If you want to store the backups in a folder locally or on the network, make sure the location exists or check to see if it exists beforehand and create folder is needed. To get a handle on the file using VBScript, you will to create a FileSystem Object, like fso, in the provided example. Then check if the file exists assign the regedit command with the /E option and the backup file without a key or with a key. Both examples are provided below. Use the one that best fits your needs. Finally execute the command passing in the regCmd variable.


VB Script Code

oShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
regKey = " HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows "
regFile = "c:\backup.reg" Set oShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
' do not overwrite an existing file
If Not fso.FileExists(regFile) Then
'backup with no key
regCmd = "regedit.exe /E regFile

'backup with key

regCmd = "regedit.exe /E regFile & """ " & """" & regKey & """"


oShell.Run regCmd, 0, True
End If

Export the Registry using JScript

JScript can also be used to export the registry contents. The process is similar to SBScript except that syntax is a little different as the following example demonstrates.

JScript Code

Var shell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell");
Var fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject");

regKey = ("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows ");

shell.Run ("regedit /e c:\backup.reg" +regKey);

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Comments 2 comments

Marc 3 years ago

This is working in Win7, but not in XP, any idea what's wrong?


klanguedoc profile image

klanguedoc 3 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Marc,

The reg key the same in xp. Also check to see if you need to double quote for empty spaces

regCmd = "regedit.exe /E """ & backup.reg & """"

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