Microsoft kicked off a small firestorm this week when it was revealed that the registry in Windows 10 has not been backed up since last October. Turns out, Microsoft decided to turn off that feature as part of an effort to reduce the overall size of Windows 10.
However, Microsoft not only neglected to inform end users of that decision, it appeared to them as though those backups were still occurring even though no data was being transferred. Microsoft has now added a new support page that explains its decision to end these automatic updates as of Windows 10 version 1803.
The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that stores low-level settings for Windows 10 along with applications that have been set up to employ it. The kernel, device drivers, services, Security Accounts Manager, and user interface configuration are all in the registry. Almost anyone can manually turn the automatic backup feature for Windows Registry back on, assuming they even know what it is or does.
There is probably only a handful of end users that rely on the Windows 10 registry as sort of last resort for recovering files, but most savvy managed service providers (MSPs) are aware of the potential value that Windows Registry can play when it comes to backup and recovery.
MSPs can benefit from using Windows Registry
Regardless of how widespread actual reliance on Windows Registry may be, any event that gets people to think about the backup and recovery fundamentals is always a good thing for MSPs. The biggest challenge most MSPs face is the frequent assumption that all of a customer’s data is magically being copied somewhere into the cloud.
In fact, MSPs should use this latest dust-up to have a conversation with customers about what level of control they want to exercise over backup and recovery. Microsoft and Apple have generic capabilities and services that customers can employ, but the policies surrounding those services are largely aimed to serve the needs of millions of individual consumers. Chances are, those policies are not designed to meet the needs of a business.
At the very least, most customers would appreciate a heads up from their MSP about what’s going on with Windows Registry. MSPs may even want to suggest they work with customers to define what automatic update policies are in place. After all, such policies in the event of a real disaster can only make the job of the MSP easier.
Like every victim of event that is beyond their control, most customers in a crisis are looking for someone to blame. MSPs that don’t alert their customers about changes to the Windows 10 Registry automatic backup policy could easily find themselves being blamed for something they themselves have no direct control over.
MSPs should continue to keep a sharp eye out for all those instances where a software or hardware vendor isn’t giving data protection the respect it deserves. Not only are most customers going to appreciate the effort, the application of proverbial stitch in time will be a major benefit to all concerned.
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