Hives have an
arcane format, making direct editing all but futile. Fortunately, theRegistry Editor conveniently supports the
importing and exporting of any number of keys and values with
Registry patches. Patches
.reg files) are ordinary ASCII text files that
can contain anything from a single key to a dump of the entire
Registry patches can be created with Registry Editor or a standard text editor, such as Notepad. You can also use Notepad to view and modify patches, and then use Registry Editor to reimport the patch.
Patches have many practical uses, including creating local backups of portions of the Registry as a preventative measure before editing keys (see the previous section). You can create a Registry key on one computer and apply it on another, useful for migrating a single setting or a whole group of settings to any number of Windows systems. Patches can allow easier editing than with Registry Editor, and certainly afford quicker and more flexible searches.
To create a Registry patch, highlight the key you want to export and
select File → Export. Once you’ve
chosen a filename, the selected key, any subkeys, and all their
values and respective data will be saved in a single file with the
extension. In most cases, you
wouldn’t want to select My Computer to export the
entire Registry, since, for no other reason,
is enormous and you wouldn’t want to reimport it in
Before making any changes ...