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Obviously I would loose all my data on my C drive. I'm at my last resort before new install on a new drive, so I'd like to know some things.

I have a total of four drives, System, Programs, Data, Backup.

My system drive is failing (bad sectors), I was too lazy to keep up with an up to date image backup. So I was able to retrieve a full registry backup.

Can I re-install windows on a new drive and restore my registry? What kind of problems could this bring.

The only programs that were programs/differences on the C drive are programs which I could not change the path to (google chrome) and a few utilities CCleaner Auslogics DD.

For the most part excluding a few random files, all my files should be on my data hard drive.

Acronis and clonezilla were a no go. Though right now I'm in windows making an image to my second drive getting and hopefully I won't have to reinstall and just restore image on my second drive.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Restoring your registry wouldn't do what I think you're hoping it will do. –  KronoS Oct 16 '12 at 18:56
    
What exactly are you hoping to get back from registry restore ? Are you hoping that all programs run by copying them directly without installing again ? –  Lamb Oct 16 '12 at 19:27
    
Well I was able to get a backup image and save it to my second drive. I've set up two partitions to that second drive one with the image the other with more than enough room to restore, would I need to install windows 7 on this partition for the image to restore? In windows repair disc my second partition isn't available(not picked up by the restore process). –  RzK Oct 16 '12 at 19:29
    
All my program files (program files x86) are on another hard drive, my C drive only has windows 7 installed, data and programs are on separate drives. My OS drive is failing, I'm trying to clone at the moment. Windows image recovery failed, I tried saving the image to a 200GB partition and I had an empty partition of 250GB ready for the restore, but restore wasn't picking up the empty partition as a point to restore to. I'm trying clonezilla right now. –  RzK Oct 16 '12 at 21:05
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1 Answer

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Operating system

You can use your registry backup for recovering some of your configuration data. For example you can recover network, security policy and desktop configuration.

You should NOT overwrite (or import backup) registry with backup because that will lead you to even bigger troubles. Windows generates many different and unique identifiers for internal use and after fresh install those identifiers are not same that they used to be in you old system (or in your currrent registry backup).

If there is some settings that you want to get from backups then you should:

  1. Think about what you need to get and write it down in ordered list.
  2. Rearrange you list so that most important thing is first and least important last.
  3. Start going through your list:
    1. Is it easier/possible to do by normal gui configuration methods? If it is, skip.
    2. Find out where OS/application stores information you need. Google will help.
    3. Backup that part of fresh registry.
    4. Replace from backup and test if it works as expected.
    5. Go to next item.

Programs

Most programs does not use registry as only place where they store their settings/other information. There is a lot of stuff written to files, some could be found under %USERPROFILE%\AppData\ others, well, anywhere (yes, it depends...).

However, some information could be found from registry but usually stored passwords and this kind of stuff is either stored encrypted or in some file that is not part of registry.

Also bookmarks, address books, emails and so on is most probably stored in filesystem rather than registry.

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Figured as much, if I can't get windows to restore the image or clonezilla to clone, it's going be a long trial and error setup. I do remember using this program a while back that would first scan for bad/curropt sectors then recover the data. I don't have much data recovery software but if there is any good suggestions I'll bite. –  RzK Oct 16 '12 at 21:06
    
Even though I managed to clone my drive, had it not been possible I would have taken your route. –  RzK Oct 17 '12 at 20:08
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