ERUNT (Emergency Recovery Utility NT) backs up and restores your registry – completely and quickly. Despite its name, it works with XP and Vista (32 or 64-bit). My guess is that it’ll work fine with Windows 7 as well.
I don’t necessarily recommend everyone do this, but I turn off System Restore and use ERUNT instead. It’s quicker and doesn’t fail (like System Restore can) if registry files are corrupt.
Windows Restore points are connected to previous points. If one is corrupt or missing, System Restore won’t work. ERUNT registry backups exist independently of one another.
If you decide to use ERUNT, remember, it doesn’t automatically create a backup when you do something that might harm your registry. You’ll have to remember to run it before doing such things.
Not everyone hates System Restore, but I do. I’ve tried using it a few times – and it’s failed me every time.