Recover registry settings from a dead Windows installation (v4 or earlier)

This is for Advanced Users Only!

Note that this procedure is only suggested as a last resort. You should be backing up your Windows PCs regularly, including the registrysettings. Check that your Backup procedure saves the Windows registry!

This article applies if you had a VPOP3 installation on a Windows NT based computer (Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 etc, not Windows 95/98/ME) and that computer has died. The disk must still be accessible, but you can't start Windows.

The instructions for moving VPOP3 to a new PC describe how to transfer a VPOP3 installation to a new PC, but you have to be able to run RegEdit on the old PC in order to export the settings from the registry.

This article explains how you can copy the registry settings from the hard disk of the old PC. Note that this really is for advanced users. If you try to do what is described in this article, and get it wrong, you may render the new installation of Windows unusable as well!

The following instructions are for Windows XP/2003 or later on the new PC. It is possible to do it on Windows NT/2000, but it is much more complicated, so, if possible try to do this on a Windows XP/2003 or later computer. This procedure produces a suitable .REG file for importing into the new VPOP3 computer'sregistry, so the procedure does not have to be carried out on the VPOP3 computer itself.

  1. Make sure that the old disk is accessible on a Windows XP/2003 or later computer

  2. Run RegEdit on that computer


  4. Go to File → Load Hive

  5. Find the 'SOFTWARE' hive on the old disk - it's usually in c:\windows\system32\config - called 'SOFTWARE' (change the drive letter to use the old disk)

  6. Give it a name like 'oldsoftware'

  7. Now, in RegEdit, you'll see 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\oldsoftware' as well as the original entries. That's the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software hive from the old PC.

  8. Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\oldsoftware\PaulSmith\VPOP3

  9. Export that to a .REG file

  10. Select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\oldsoftware

  11. Go to File → Unload Hive

  12. Open the .REG file into a text editor such as Notepad, and do a search & replace to change 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\oldsoftware\' to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\software\'

  13. Import the edited .REG file into RegEdit on the new VPOP3 computer, and you should get the settings

Be careful that the .REG file only contains the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\PaulSmith registry key - not any others, or you may stop your new Windows installation from working

If you wish we can do this for you over a remote connection as part of our paid support.