Using file compare to see changes made to the registry

If wanting to see what registry entries are modified when performing a certain action, then one can use the Registry Editor to export the Windows registry before before performing the action and export after having performed the action.

Then one can use the file compare utility to see what changes have been made:

FC before.reg after.reg > diff.txt

Note when exporting the registry hives in Windows 2000,XP,2003 then they are exported as unicode (Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00). To perform a file compare on two unicode files:

FC before.reg after.reg /U > diff.txt

Note instead of exporting the registry, then one could also use Process Monitor by SysInternals.com to see the registry changes made by an application.

Updated: 25 September 2007

Comments:

  1. Hussainsat says:

    When you sayed ..

    Note instead of exporting the registry, then one could also use Process Explorer ,
    I think you meant [Process Monitor] not [Process Explorer]

    Thank you

  2. snakefoot says:

    Hussainsat
    I think you meant [Process Monitor] not [Process Explorer]

    Yes you are right, have now updated the article.

  3. Kenneth says:

    This is absolutely perfect! I was looking for a way to export my Windows "tweaks" into a reg file so that I could easily replicate my tweaks on future system builds. I knew there had to be a way to "compare" a before and after export, but I wasn't sure of the utility to use... just needed to go a little old school. Thanks again for your contribution.

  4. Eric says:

    Thank you! This saved me a LOT of headache! :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *