How to Fix or Recover a Corrupt Windows Registry

In this Windows XP tutorial I will show you how to recover from a corrupt Windows registry. The Windows registry is a database of all the configurations and settings of any Windows operating system (OS) and sometimes it gets corrupt or damaged. There are a few ways a registry can become corrupted. One way is if a user accidentally deletes a registry key that is necessary for the OS to function. Another way is if your computer shuts down unexpectedly during an update or other important event. Sometimes when you uninstall a program and the uninstaller messes up then your registry could be damaged. Regardless of the method I will show you how to use the backup registry that is created by the system restore function in Windows to replace the corrupted registry. Let’s get started.


1. Shut down the computer and remove the hard drive from the computer with the corrupt registry.

2. Now attach or slave the hard drive to a working computer.

3. Click on the My Computer icon to see all the attached drive on your system. Find the drive of the attached hard drive and click on it.

4. Next step is to change to folder view so you can see the hidden registry files. To change the view click on Tools and then choose Folder Options from the menu.

5. Click on the View tab and under the Advanced Settings section click the Show Hidden Files and Folders box, then un-check the Hide Protected Operating System Files option. When you do this you will get a warning box asking you to confirm your selection; just click Yes. After that press the Apply button and then hit OK.

6. Now make sure you’re at the attached drive and double click the Windows folder, then the System32 folder, then the Config folder. You will now see the five important registry files called Default, SAM, Security, Software and System. These are the files that will need to be replaced. Leave this windows open.

7. Open another window by clicking on the Start button and then My Computer. Click on the attached hard drive and then click on the System Volume Information folder.

If you get an Access Denied message when trying to open the System Volume Information folder the follow these steps. Click on Tools -> Folder Options -> View Tab -> Advanced Settings -> Un-check Use Simple File Sharing option. Now click Apply and then OK. Now right-click on the System Volume Information icon and those Properties. Click on the Security tab and then the Advanced button at the bottom. Then click on the Owner tab and highlight the Administrators group and check the Replace Owner on Subcontainers and Objects box. Now click Apply.

8. Click on the _Restore folder and now choose a RPXXX folder that is a week to three weeks old. Next click on the Repository folder and now you will see the five backup registry files created by Windows.

9. Now go back to the attached hard drive Config folder and create a new folder called Old. Cut and paste the five corrupted registries into the Old folder.

10. Next step is to copy and paste the five backup registry files from the Repository folder into the Config folder of the attached drive. Once the files have been copied you must rename them as follows: Default, SAM, Security, Software and System.

11. Once the files have been added and renamed you can detach the hard drive from your computer and place it in the original system and start the computer. Now your problem is fixed.


– You can also fix a bad registry using the Windows recovery console if you don’t another computer available.

– Once you’ve recovered the Windows registry it is a good idea to completed all the Windows updates immediately.

That’s it! It’s really that simple. We hope the tutorial “How to Fix or Recover a Corrupt Windows Registry” using Windows XP has helped you with your computer repair issue.

You can watch this tutorial on video by clicking the play button below. For the full screen version click the second button from the right on the video.


If you need more help regarding this Windows XP “How to Fix or Recover a Corrupt Windows Registry” tutorial then let us know by visiting our Repair Questions page.