This guide shows you how to fix a corrupted registry for the following Windows versions: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, or 10.

Fix a corrupt registry in Windows XP

To fix a corrupt registry on a Windows XP system, follow these instructions:

  1. Insert the Windows XP setup CD and restart the computer
  2. Press any key to boot from the CD
  3. Press R to access Repair Console
  4. Enter the Administrator password. When the Command Prompt appears, type the following commands, one at a time and press Enter after each command, replacing C: with the Windows’ drive letter:
    md tmp
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak
    Backing up current registry hives

    Backing up current registry hives

    delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
    delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
    delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
    delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
    delete c:\windows\system32\config\default
    Deleting current registry hives

    Deleting current registry hives

    copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
    copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
    copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
    copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
    copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default
    Restoring registry hives from a repair folder

    Restoring registry hives from a repair folder

  5. Type exit and remove your CD:
    exit
  6. Press Enter
  7. Restart your computer
  8. Boot into Safe Mode by repeatedly pressing the F8 key after booting until the Startup Options menu appears
  9. Choose to boot into Safe Mode
  10. Start Windows Explorer (or open any folder or open My Computer)
  11. Click Tools
  12. Click Folder Options
  13. Go to the View tab
  14. At the Under hidden files and folders, select Show hidden files and folders and then click the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box to be cleared (unchecked)
  15. Click Yes to confirm these actions
    Windows XP show hidden files screen

    Windows XP show hidden files screen

  16. Go to My Computer > C:\ drive or the drive where you installed your Windows
  17. Click on the System Volume Information folder.If you receive Access denied, please follow these guidelines to get access to that folder: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309531.
    You’re most likely to receive Access denied if your Windows XP is on NTFS and not on FAT32.
    If it’s on FAT32, you can continue the steps below.
  18. Open any folder that wasn’t created at the current time, e.g. when you logged into the computer at this session.You can check this by right clicking on the first folder and check its date.The title format of these folders is something like this:
    _restore{87BD3667­3246­476B­923F­F86E30B3E7F8}
  19. Open any RP folder in that folder, e.g. RP1, and go to Snapshot.These are called Restore Points. Here is an example of path:
    C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3­73EF­47BC­A0EB­A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot
  20. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following files to C:\Windows\Tmp
    • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM
    • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
    • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
    • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
    • _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT
  21. Once copied, rename these files in the Tmp folder (not the Snapshot folder) as shown below:
    • Rename _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT to DEFAULT
    • Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY to SECURITY
    • Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE to SOFTWARE
    • Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to SYSTEM
    • Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM to SAM
  22. Restart your computer and boot from the CD again
  23. Press R to access Recovery Console
  24. Once Command Prompt has loaded, type the following commands, each at a time, press Enter after each command:
    del c:\windows\system32\config\sam
    del c:\windows\system32\config\security
    del c:\windows\system32\config\software
    del c:\windows\system32\config\default
    del c:\windows\system32\config\system
    Deleting current registry hives

    Deleting current registry hives

    Continue with these commands:

    copy c:\windows\tmp\software.bak c:\windows\system32\config\software
    copy c:\windows\tmp\system.bak c:\windows\system32\config\system
    copy c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak c:\windows\system32\config\sam
    copy c:\windows\tmp\security.bak c:\windows\system32\config\security
    copy c:\windows\tmp\default.bak c:\windows\system32\config\default
    Restoring registry hives from the backup

    Restoring registry hives from the backup

  25. Type exit, press Enter, remove your CD:
    exit
  26. Restart your computer
  27. Once restarted, go to System Restore and click on Restore to a previous point:
    • Click Start
    • Go to All Programs
    • Select Accessories
    • Then select Tools
    • Click System Restore
  28. Follow the System Restore wizard steps

Fix a corrupt registry in Windows Vista

To fix a corrupt registry in Windows Vista, you can try any of the following:

Startup Repair

To run Startup Repair, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the original Windows Vista DVD in the disc tray
  2. Boot from the DVD
  3. Choose a language and keyboard layout
  4. At the Welcome screen, click on Repair your computer
    Windows Vista Repair Your Computer Menu

    Windows Vista Repair Your Computer Menu

  5. Choose your operating system from the list
  6. Click Next
  7. At the System Recovery Options window, click on Startup Repair
    Windows Vista System Recovery Options

    Windows Vista System Recovery Options

  8. Follow the instructions to complete the process

Upgrade Install

An Upgrade Install may fix a corrupt registry as it will install Windows Vista again without affecting your personal files.

While an Upgrade Install procedure shouldn’t touch your personal files, backup your files before you continue.

Before you continue with the set of instructions below, please note:

  • If your Windows Vista has SP1 (Service Pack 1) installed, your original installation DVD also must have SP1.
  • If your Windows Vista has SP2 (Service Pack 2) installed, your original installation DVD also must have SP2.

The instructions are:

  1. Log into Windows Vista as an Administrator
  2. Insert the Windows DVD in the disc tray

    Do not boot from the DVD at boot. You must insert the Windows Vista DVD while you’re logged in as an Administrator in Windows Vista.

  3. If AutoPlay doesn’t open the DVD automatically, go to My Computer and double­-click on the DVD drive
  4. Click Install Now
    Windows Vista Repair Your Computer Menu

    Windows Vista Repair Your Computer Menu

  5. Select Do no get the latest updates for installation.After you perform the Upgrade Install, you can manually update Windows Vista with the latest updates available.
  6. Do not type the license key
  7. Leave the Automatically activate Windows when I’m online option unchecked
  8. Click Next
  9. At the Do you want to enter your product key now? question, select No
  10. Select what type of Windows Vista you purchased and then check the I have selected the edition of Windows that I purchased option
  11. Click Next
  12. Click Upgrade
  13. Follow any instructions left and remove the DVD

After you performed the Upgrade Install, add the license key:

  1. Boot into Windows Vista
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Go to System
  4. At the Windows activation section, click Change product key

Command Prompt

To replace the registry in a Windows Vista system, follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt
  2. Type C:\, where C: is the letter of the drive where your Windows Vista is installed:
    C:\
  3. Press Enter
  4. Type cd Windows\System32\Config
  5. Press Enter
  6. Type MD Temp and press Enter
  7. Type the following commands and press Enter after each:
    copy BCD­Template Temp
    copy COMPONENTS Temp
    copy DEFAULT Temp
    copy SAM Temp
    copy SECURITY Temp
    copy SOFTWARE Temp
    copy SYSTEM Temp
    Backing up the registry hives

    Backing up the registry hives

  8. Type the following commands and press Enter after each:
    ren BCD­Template BCD­Template.bak
    ren COMPONENTS COMPONENTS.bak
    ren DEFAULT DEFAULT.bak
    ren SAM SAM.bak
    ren SECURITY SECURITY.bak
    ren SOFTWARE SOFTWARE.bak
    ren SYSTEM SYSTEM.bak
    Renaming the old the registry hives

    Renaming the old the registry hives

  9. Then type these commands, one by one, and press Enter after each:
    copy Regback\BCD­Template BCD­Template
    copy Regback\COMPONENTS COMPONENTS
    copy Regback\DEFAULT DEFAULT
    copy Regback\SAM SAM
    copy Regback\SECURITY SECURITY
    copy Regback\SOFTWARE SOFTWARE
    copy Regback\SYSTEM SYSTEM
    Restoring the registry hives

    Restoring the registry hives

Fix a corrupt registry in Windows 7

To fix a corrupt registry in Windows 7, you can try any of the following:

Startup Repair

To run Startup Repair, follow these instructions.

Method #1

  1. Insert the original Windows 7 installation DVD in the disc tray
  2. Reboot the computer
  3. Press any key when it says “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD..”
  4. Select a language and keyboard option
  5. Click Repair your computerWindows 7 setup Install Now dialog, with repair your computer link
  6. Select your operating systemStartup repair lists available operating systems to repair.
  7. Choose Startup Repair
    Windows 7 System Recovery Options Screen

    Windows 7 System Recovery Options Screen

  8. Follow the wizard instructions to complete the procedure

Method #2

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Press the F8 key several times during booting before the Windows 7 logo appears
  3. At the Advanced Options screen, select Repair your computer
    Advanced Boot Options on Windows 7

    Advanced Boot Options on Windows 7

  4. Select a keyboard and language
  5. Select Startup Repair
    Windows 7 System Recovery Options Screen

    Windows 7 System Recovery Options Screen

  6. Follow the wizard instructions to complete the process

Upgrade Install

An Upgrade Install may fix a corrupt registry as this option will install your Windows 7 again without affecting your personal files.

While Upgrade procedure shouldn’t touch your personal files, backup your files before you continue to make sure.

The instructions are:

  1. Boot into Windows 7

    Important: You need to run the Windows 7 DVD while you’re logged in Windows 7.

  2. Insert the Windows 7 DVD
  3. If AutoPlay doesn’t open automatically, open the DVD directly from Computer
  4. Click Install Now
  5. Make sure the I want to help make Windows installation better option is unchecked
  6. Click Go online to get the latest updates for installation
  7. Accept the license terms
  8. Click Next
  9. Click Upgrade
  10. Uncheck the Automatically activate Windows when I’m online option
  11. Click Next
  12. Click Ask me later at the Help protect your computer and improve Windows automatically screen. You can install updates for your Windows 7 once this process is done.
  13. Continue with the instructions to complete the upgrade

Once this process is done, go and activate your license key:

  1. Go to Control Panel
  2. Go to System
  3. At the Windows activation section, click Change product key

Command Prompt

To replace the registry in a Windows 7 system, follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt
  2. Type C:\, where C: is the letter of the drive where your Windows 7 is installed
  3. Press Enter
  4. Type cd Windows\System32\Config
  5. Press Enter
  6. Type MD Temp and press Enter
  7. Type the following commands and press Enter:
    copy BCD­Template Temp
    copy COMPONENTS Temp
    copy DEFAULT Temp
    copy SAM Temp
    copy SECURITY Temp
    copy SOFTWARE Temp
    copy SYSTEM Temp
    Backing up the registry hives

    Backing up the registry hives

  8. Type the following commands and press Enter after each:
    ren BCD­Template BCD­Template.bak
    ren COMPONENTS COMPONENTS.bak
    ren DEFAULT DEFAULT.bak
    ren SAM SAM.bak
    ren SECURITY SECURITY.bak
    ren SOFTWARE SOFTWARE.bak
    ren SYSTEM SYSTEM.bak
    Renaming the old the registry hives

    Renaming the old the registry hives

  9. Then type these commands, one by one, and press Enter after each:
    copy C:\Windows\System32\Config\Regback\BCD­Template C:\Windows\System32\Config\BCD­Template
    copy C:\Windows\System32\Config\Regback\COMPONENTS C:\Windows\System32\Config\COMPONENTS
    copy C:\Windows\System32\Config\Regback\DEFAULT C:\Windows\System32\Config\DEFAULT
    copy C:\Windows\System32\Config\Regback\SAM C:\Windows\System32\Config\SAM
    copy C:\Windows\System32\Config\Regback\SECURITY C:\Windows\System32\Config\SECURITY
    copy C:\Windows\System32\Config\Regback\SOFTWARE C:\Windows\System32\Config\SOFTWARE
    copy C:\Windows\System32\Config\Regback\SYSTEM C:\Windows\System32\Config\SYSTEM
    Restoring the registry hives

    Restoring the registry hives

Fix a corrupt registry in Windows 8 or 8.1

To repair a corrupt registry in Windows 8 or 8.1, you have these options:

  • Run Automatic Repair
  • Refresh. The Refresh option will not affect your files. Windows 8 will reinstall any applications you installed and create a copy of these applications on your desktop, but backup your data before you do a refresh.
  • Reset. A Reset option will remove all your personal files and delete any settings or configuration you did on your computer.

Run Automatic Repair

To run Automatic Repair which will attempt to fix a corrupt registry on your Windows 8 or 8.1 system, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings panel
  2. Go to General
  3. At the Advanced Startup panel, click Restart now
    Windows 8 Advanced Startup

    Windows 8 Advanced Startup

  4. At the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot
  5. At the Advanced Options screen, click Automated Repair
  6. Choose an account and login, when prompted to do so
  7. Automatic Repair should now start and your computer may reboot during this process
Windows 8 Advanced Startup screen

Windows 8 Advanced Startup screen

Refresh

To perform a Refresh on your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 system, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings panel
  2. Go to Change PC Settings
  3. Click Update and recovery
  4. Click Recovery
  5. At the Refresh your PC without affecting your files section, click Get started
  6. Follow the instructions to complete the refresh procedure
Windows 8 Recovery Screen

Windows 8 Recovery Screen

Reset

To do a Reset of your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 system, follow these steps:

A Reset procedure will erase personal data from your computer. Backup your files before you continue.

  1. Go to Settings > Change PC Settings
  2. Click Update and recovery
  3. Click Recovery
  4. At the Remove everything and reinstall Windows section, click Get started
  5. Follow the instructions to complete the refresh procedure
Windows 8 Recovery Screen

Windows 8 Recovery Screen

Fix a corrupt registry in Windows 10

To repair a corrupt registry in Windows 10, you have these options:

  • Run Automatic Repair
  • Refresh. The Refresh option will not affect your files. Windows 10 will reinstall any applications you installed and create a copy of these applications on your desktop, but backup your data before you do a refresh.
  • Reset. A Reset option will remove all your personal files and delete any settings or configuration you did on your computer.

Run Automatic Repair

To run Automatic Repair which will attempt to fix a corrupt registry on your Windows 10 system, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings panel
  2. Go to Update & Security
  3. At the Recovery tab, click Advanced Startup -> Restart now

    Windows 10 Advanced Startup

    Windows 10 Advanced Startup

  4. At the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot
  5. At the Advanced Options screen, click Automated Repair
  6. Choose an account and login, when prompted to do so
  7. Automatic Repair should now start and your computer may reboot during this process’
Windows 10 Advanced Startup screen

Windows 10 Advanced Startup screen

Refresh

To perform a Refresh on your Windows 10 system, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings panel
  2. Go to Update and Security
  3. Click Recovery
  4. Click Get Started
  5. At the Reset This PC section, click Get started
  6. Click Keep My Files
  7. Follow the instructions to complete the refresh procedure
Windows 10 Recovery screen

Windows 10 Recovery screen

Reset

To do a Reset of your Windows 10 system, follow these steps:

A Reset procedure will erase personal data from your computer. Backup your files before you continue.

  1. Go to the Settings panel
  2. Go to Update and Security
  3. Click Recovery
  4. Click Get Started
  5. At the Reset This PC section, click Get started
  6. Click Remove Everything
  7. Follow the instructions to complete the refresh procedure
Windows 10 Recovery screen

Windows 10 Recovery screen

Troubleshooting

Registry permissions in Windows XP

In Windows XP (only the Professional version), the permissions of the registry can block you from editing certain keys.

Method #1

To unblock this and fix the permissions, follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt
  2. Type this command:
    secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\repair\secsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose
  3. Press Enter
Fixing permissions with secedit

Fixing permissions with secedit

Method #2

If Method #1 doesn’t work to fix the permissions, try these steps instead:

  1. Download SubInACL Tool from Microsoft directly: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=2351…
  2. Run the .exe file
  3. Open Command Prompt
  4. Type this command and press Enter:
    cd "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Resource Kits\Tools
  5. Enter the following commands and press Enter after each:
    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f 
    subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
    subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive%\ /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
  6. Restart the computer
Fixing permissions with SubInAcl

Fixing permissions with SubInAcl

More Information

Support Links

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP (all editions)
  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows 10 (all editions)

Propose an edit






Tagged: