Windows registry stores many settings that your system and applications use for their operation. Permission issues in applications and frequent error messages related to system processes are primary indicators of corrupt registry entries. Some registry errors also lead to severe system problems like BSOD crashes.
Windows does not have good native options to repair the corrupt entries. You can either repair the improper registry permissions or restore the registry from a backup to resolve such issues.
However, some third-party apps are available on the internet that help clean and repair the corrupt entries and keys.
What Causes Corrupt Registry Errors
Here are the potential causes for corrupt registry errors:
- Malware infection altering registry entries or permissions.
- Unintentional mistakes while changing the entries.
- Entries left over after uninstalling apps conflicting with new entries.
- Abrupt power failures while the system is changing a registry setting.
How to Fix Corrupt Registry Errors in Windows
There are a few ways to fix corrupt registry errors in Windows. Some of the solutions need you to log in to your user account. If you can’t do so, boot in safe mode, sign in to the account and execute the method.
To boot in safe mode,
- Get to WinRE (see below) and go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
- After restarting, press 5 or F5.
Also, after repairing the corrupt registry, make sure to fully scan your system with the antivirus. Doing so prevent this issue from reoccurring if a malware was responsible for it in the first place.
Run Startup Repair
Using Startup Repair is the best way to fix registry errors related to boot and startup configuration. You need to run this feature especially if you can’t pass the startup screen and log in to your account.
Here’s how you can do so:
- Get to WinRE using any of these methods,
- Force shutdown your PC and reboot it three times in a row. On the third boot, click on Advanced Startup Options to get to WinRE.
- Insert a Windows installation or recovery drive in your PC and boot using the device. Follow the instructions till you reach the Install screen. Here, select Repair your computer.
- On WinRE, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options and select Startup Repair.
Using the installation or recovery drive is the best option to perform Startup Repair. So if using your system’s Startup Repair fails, execute the method with the recovery drive before moving on to the other methods.
Restore from Backup
You can also restore your registry from its backup to fix any errors in its entries and permissions.
If you have enabled automatic registry backups in your system, it periodically backs up the registry in the
%WinDir%\System32\config\RegBack folder. Previous Windows version enabled this process by default, but you need to manually enable it in the later versions.
It is also possible to manually backup the registry to the folder using the Task Scheduler.
To restore the registry from such backup, you need to use the Command Prompt form the WinRE. Here’s how you can do so:
- Get to WinRE using the steps from the previous method.
- Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.
- Enter the following commands:
cd /d “%WinDir%\System32\
copy config backup(to create a backup before restoring)
dir(If the files have value 0, your registry isn’t backed up, so you need to abort the process)
copy * ..\*
yfor all files after receiving the prompt to overwrite them.
exitafter the process completes to close the Prompt and restart your PC.
Restore System to Restore Point
Another method to fix corrupt registry errors is by performing a System Restore. If you had created a restore point at the time where there were no problems with your registry, you can fix any errors by reverting to that point.
Here’s how you can do so:
- Open Run and enter
- Select an appropriate restore point and follow the on-screen instructions.
If you can’t log in to your account, you can find the System Restore option on the Windows Recovery Environment inside Troubleshoot > Advanced options.
Perform In-place Repair
You can also repair corrupt registry permissions for the default registry entries by using an in-place repair. While it doesn’t fix corrupt registry settings for your apps and features, if your issue is solely with the registry permissions, you should apply this method.
An in-place repair installs the default Windows OS files over the previous installation without touching any application and user files. The complete process is as follows:
- Download a Windows ISO file matching the current version and language of your system.
- Mount it to a virtual drive by double-clicking on it.
- Open the installation drive and run
setup.exe. You can’t repair Windows from the boot, you need to be logged in and directly run this executable file.
- Click on Change how Setup downloads updates.
- Check Not right now and hit Next. You can download additional updates after performing the repair.
- Agree with the terms by selecting Accept.
- Click Install on the final page.
Use Third-party Registry Cleaners
As we mentioned earlier, Windows does not have native option to go through each registry entry and repair them. So, many developers have created third-party registry cleaners to perform exactly that process.
They alter any inconsistencies and remove the orphaned entries (entries left behind even after uninstalling a program).
You can check on the internet for a reliable software and use it to clean your registry. Make sure to check the reviews to look out for bloatwares and any potential issues.
Does System File Checker Fix Corrupt Registry Errors?
System File Checker does not fix the registry entries. It uses the Windows Resource Protection feature to check and replace (if corrupt) all protected system files by comparing with the files in the
Apart from the system files corresponding to the contents of the backup folder, it only checks the headers of the protected files.
Windows Resource Protection itself prevents any modifications of registry keys that are present as part of the OS. And the entries added after installing any applications do not add any backup in the above folder.
So if you want to fix corrupt registry entries, performing SFC scan is not effective.