Microsoft Kills Automatic Registry Backups in Windows 10
You might be the type to dig around in the Windows settings to make tweaks, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Windows registry contains a plethora of low-level settings that control various aspects of the OS. Microsoft used to perform regular backups of the registry, but that has now officially ended in Windows 10. If you want to save the registry, you’ll have to manually re-enable the feature.
Last October, Windows 10 stopped backing up the registry automatically, although the system reported the backups had completed. Navigating to the RegBack folder showed files that were 0 Kb in size. Users initially believed this was a bug, but now Microsoft has added a new support page that explains its decision to end these automatic updates as of Windows 10 version 1803.
According to Microsoft, ending the registry backups is a way to reduce the overall disk space footprint of Windows. That’s an interesting claim because the RegBack folder should not be a significant consumer of space. It should only be a few hundred megabytes on most systems, and storage space is getting ever cheaper. A better explanation might be that most people never use registry backups, and system errors can cause the folder to balloon in size with corrupted backups.
A damaged Windows registry can cause program crashes, freezing, and even boot failures. So, it’s usually serious business when you need a registry backup. It’s odd that Microsoft would stop backing up the registry without telling anyone some recent posts from online forums lament the empty RegBack folder when attempting to troubleshoot errors. Instead of registry backups, Microsoft wants users to rely on restore points. The company recommends making restore points before undertaking any activity that could make your system unresponsive of unbootable. You should generally try not to do those things in the first place, though.
For those who still want to back up the registry, Microsoft did you a favor by only disabling the backups rather than removing the feature altogether. You can re-enable registry backups using, what else, a registry edit. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and find
“HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerConfiguration Manager” in the nested list. Create a new “Dword” value called “EnablePeriodicBackup” and set the value to 1. After a reboot, Windows will begin backing up your registry again.