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Win10 Registry Backup Task Broken

At least three recent versions of Windows 10 suffer from a Task Scheduler task failure. By default, Windows 10 is supposed to back up the Windows Registry when the OS is idle. That’s why the related task is called RegIdleBackup. (It resides in the \Microsoft\Windows\Registry subtree in Task Scheduler.) As I just confirmed for myself, this task is broken in Build 1803, 1809 and in current Fast Ring/Skipahead Build 18272. Why do I say Win10 registry backup task broken? Let me explain . . .

How to Tell if Win10 Registry Backup Task Broken on Your PC

Windows 10 stores registry backups in a folder named %windir%\System32\config\RegBack. If you visit that folder on your PC, and the folder is empty, the registry backup task is broken. This is true right now for all my 1803, 1809, and Build 18272 installations (9 physical plus half-a-dozen VMs).

When you try to access this folder, you may get the following error message from Explorer (I did on all of my PCs):

Win10 Registry Backup Task Broken.cantfind

Although the folder is present, Explorer may present this error message should you try to navigate directly into it.

If that happens to you, simply visit the parent folder (C:\Windows\System32\config). Then you can manually navigate into the RegBack folder from there. Sure enough, all of mine were empty:

Win10 Registry Backup Task Broken.folderempty

If the folder is empty, the RegIdleBackup task is not backing up the registry.

Even so, if you visit the Task Scheduler and check on the RegIdleBackup task, it will report its successful completion some time in the recent past. Here’s what I saw:

Win10 Registry Backup Task Broken.tasksuccess

Even though no backup files are present, the task still reports success. Go figure!

Oops! Good thing I don’t rely on registry backups much (or at all). That’s because I use Macrium Reflect to create an image backup of my production PC daily at 9 AM. I can always mount that image, or run it as a VM, to regain access to prior registry snapshots.

Other Registry Backup Tools

If my solution isn’t for you, there are other third-party registry backup tools available. In fact, my personal favorite is from UK-based Bleeping Computer, and is called Registry Backup. Otherwise, more such tools are cited in the Raymond Computers article (10/27/2016) entitled 5 Ways to Backup and Restore the Windows Registry … You may also want to check that out.

[Note: Thanks to Martin Brinkmann at ghacks.net, whose 10/31 story Windows 10 bug prevents Registry backup creation brought this matter to my attention. I’ll be curious to see how soon MS gets around to fixing this potential gotcha.]

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