After the release of Windows 10 in October 2018, it was speculated that Windows 10 might have a bug which is preventing the successful execution of the registry backup task, usually enabled by default on PCs running the operating system. After eight months, Microsoft has now come back with an answer to this speculation, by stating that it was not a bug but a change in “design” that prevented the execution of registry backups. All along these eight months, users were not notified about this change in feature by Microsoft. Around 800M Windows 10 users would have lost their data, if by any chance, the Windows System Restore point would have failed.
Last week, Microsoft released a support document stating Windows 10 version 1803 onwards, Windows will no longer back the system registry to the RegBack folder, by default. Also it has been said that this change is “intended to help reduce the overall disk footprint size of Windows.” If browsed through the Windows\System32\config\RegBack folder, all registry hives are still present, however with each having 0kb file size.
Registry backups are extremely important for users as they are the only option available, if the Windows System Restore point fails.
How to manually switch back automatic registry backups
Though Windows will not support registry backups by default, Microsoft has not entirely removed the feature. Users can still create registry backups automatically by using a system restore point.
Windows 10 users can change the new default behavior using the following steps:
- First configure a new REG_DWORD registry entry at HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Configuration Manager\EnablePeriodicBackup.
- Assign it to value 1.
- After restarting the system, Windows will back up the registry to the RegBack folder.
- A RegIdleBackup task will be created to manage subsequent backups.
- Windows will store the task information in the Scheduled Task Library, in Microsoft\Windows\Registry folder. The task has the following properties:
Image Source: Microsoft Document
Users are skeptical that Microsoft has removed registry backups, for saving disk footprint space.
A user on Hacker News comments that, “50-100MB seems like a miniscule amount of space to warrant something like this. My WinSxS folder alone is almost 10GB. If they wanted to save space, even a modest improvement in managing updates would yield space saving results orders of magnitude greater than this.”
Another user adds, “Of all the stuff crammed automatically on Windows 10 install .. they can’t be serious about saving space.”
Another user wrote that, “This sort of thinking might have been understandable back during the ’90’s. However, today, people have plenty of free space on their hard disk. The track record of Windows 10 has been so poor lately that it’s surprising that MS got so overconfident that they decided that they didn’t need safeguards like this any longer.”
Read the Microsoft support document for more details.