Registry Editing Tips

The Registry Files

As a centralized database of your system's configuration settings, you might be wondering where is the Registry stored after numerous finds for a large .reg file. Amazingly, the Registry is actually made up of two separate files: USER.DAT and SYSTEM.DAT. The USER.DAT file contains information specific to the user, while SYSTEM.DAT contains information specific to the system. The reason that the Registry divides its database into two separate files is to simplify network administration. However, we mention these filenames because each time you start Windows 95 successfully, it backs up these two files, thus backing up the Registry. Windows 95 backs up USER.DAT as USER.DA0 and SYSTEM.DAT as SYSTEM.DA0.

If you made a mistake on the Registry and Windows won't boot properly, Windows won't back up the two files which means there is still a good copy of your Registry on the last successful boot up. This means you can restore the system by copying the backups over the corrupted files if Windows fails to start after you've made changes to the Registry.

You'll find both the DAT and DA0 files in your Windows 95 folder. However, if you've created a user profile, you'll find the two USER files in the Profiles folder. You can easily track down any of the files using Windows 95's Find utility.

Restoring A Corrupted Registry

Now for the hard part. In any case Windows won't start because of registry errors, we have a cure. Go to Command Prompt via the F8 menu. On the command prompt, type

cd c:\windows
attrib -h -r -s system.dat
attrib -h -r -s user.dat
attrib -h -r -s system.da0
attrib -h -r -s user.da0
copy user.da0 system.dat
copy user.da0 user.dat

Windows will restore the Registry the way it is on the last successful boot. We recommend you to copy this into a .txt file in case you can't remember the command. This can be viewed with the Edit utility under DOS.

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