I need to compare two Windows registry .reg files (taken before and after a problem appeared).

  • I tried WinMerge, but it does not display any highlighting even so the files are different.
  • I copied the files to Linux and tried Meld but it says before.reg appears to be a binary file.
  • Regshot can only compare the registry at the present time, it does not have any dialog to enter an existing registry file.
  • RegDiff Registry Differences Picker just dumps differences to a text file, no highlighting.


  • Highlight differences
  • Ideally shows keys as a hierarchy, so that I can press a [-] button to collapse the whole comparizon of HKEY_USERS for instance. A bit like some diff viewers can show differences between two hierarchies of folders.
  • Works file .reg files of 300 MB
  • Free
  • Any OS is OK, webapp OK too
  • Did you press the refresh button (F5) and activate a highlighting method in the View menu in Winmerge? Hard to believe it does not display differences. Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 13:07
  • Such a tool should consider the structure of the registry, i.e. ignore the order of items in each branch. Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 13:08
  • Nicolas, did you happen to find anything? I'm now facing the same problem, except with two different mounted hives in a live registry. If there isn't an existing one I might end up writing my own...
    – Bob
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 3:45
  • @Thomas: Hard to believe but I really tried for a while, including refreshing. If order is not semantically important, then ignoring it would be good, yes.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 5:49
  • @Bob: Not found yet, please star the question and add an answer after you write your tool :-)
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 5:50

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, my answer is not free, but it does most of what you want and it has a free trial, so I'm going to write it up as an answer.

BeyondCompare (Professional version) will do most of what you want. It works for Windows/Linux and Mac. It is not free, but the trial version will allow you to test the below functionality for 30days.

Beyond compare allows you

  • to compare different registry snapshots (reg files).
  • to highlight differences between registry snapshots.
  • It shows a hierarchy so that you can collapse folders that you don't want to see.

BeyondCompare Windows Registry Comparison and collapsable hierarchy

  • Not requested, but very userful- it allows you to skip to the next difference.
  • I'm not sure of the max file size that can be compared.

I'm not affiliated with the company. I've only recently started using the software.

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