How To Speed Up Your PC By Cleaning Windows Registery .pdf
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How To Speed Up Your PC By Cleaning Windows Registery
Let’s start with a little quiz. I say, “Big, bloated, and full of errors.” What do you
say? Right, “Windows Registry.” One more: “Messing with it is risky.” If you
guessed the registry again, you pass. While fooling around with your Windows
registry does involve some risk, cleaning it out can have a positive impact on your
PC’s overall performance.
The Windows registry is a repository for a massive collection of details about your
computer—where programs are stored, which helper programs (known as DLLs)
are shared among your various applications, listings of all your Start menu
shortcuts, and pointers to the programs that fire up when you click on an icon.
And that’s just the beginning.
The dark and scary place known as the Windows registry.
Practically everything you do in Windows is recorded in the registry. For instance,
the URL for this article probably has an entry now, somewhere. The paths to the
last dozen or so images or documents you opened are there, too, as are the
details of the programs you have installed or uninstalled.
Here’s the problem: If you pry open the registry, you’ll find it about as cluttered
as a teenager’s bedroom. That’s because Windows doesn’t efficiently clean up
after itself as it goes about its daily business. It constantly creates new entries, but
seldom—if ever—removes old entries after they’re no longer needed.
Compounding this problem is the fact that applications are usually too inept to
uninstall all of the registry entries they create. Far too often, program updates
and installers leave unneeded pointers in the registry, so the registry becomes
bloated with unnecessary entries, slowing down your system.
Registry cleaners: Boon or boondoggle?
The big question we’re asking in this piece is whether a registry cleaner will
indeed speed up your PC, making it boot more quickly and run faster. The answer
is, emphatically and unequivocally, maybe. That’s right, a big, fat perhaps—
because everything depends on the condition of your registry. It also depends on
the effectiveness of the registry cleaner you choose, and there are a lot to choose
To find out which registry cleaner catches the most errors, is the safest and
easiest to use, and (just as important) creates the fewest hassles, we tested five
popular registry cleaners, many of which came recommended
by PCWorld readers. We examined two free products (Advanced Windows Care
and RegSeeker) and three commercial ones (jv16 PowerTools, Registry First Aid,
and RegSupreme Pro).
We tried each tool on three computers: a messy work PC using Windows XP SP3,
on a pristine Fujitsu Lifebook T-Series laptop running Vista, and on an old
ThinkPad laptop.* We ran the registry scan and repair module of each application,
rebooted the system, and watched for problems that would indicate that the
“cleaning” process broke something. We also tried to determine whether the
system seemed friskier post-cleanse. After each test, we restored the systems to
their original state of disarray with Acronis TrueImage. (Read a review of Acronis
True Image 2015 and download the demo.)
Before we reveal the results, we offer some important tips to keep in mind
before, during, and after your forays into the registry. Being prepared for what’s
involved and taking the proper precautions are critical to making this a successful
undertaking. If you want to skip ahead to the results, you can click the entry for
each program in the table of contents on the left.
Top 10 registry dos (and don’ts)
Messing with the registry—and doing so incorrectly—can destroy Windows and
cause you great distress. Seriously. If something goes sideways in the registry
you’ll be looking at a full reinstallation of your OS; that’s how dangerous it is to
tinker with it. Here are the top 10 tips to keep your system running, and to keep
1. Back up your data. The best protection from registry hassles, or any
computing disaster, is to have a current backup. As in, you ought to do one
now while you’re thinking about it. See this article for some guidance.
2. Back up your registry. Make sure to back up your registry before you open
any registry cleaner. This is a bit redundant, since the registry cleaner will
back up any changes it makes, but an extra level of security never hurts,
and will help greatly if something goes awry.
3. Pay attention. In most programs that guide you with wizards it’s no big deal
if you don’t pay attention and merely keep clicking the Next button. That
isn’t the case with registry cleaners.
4. Minimize conflicts. When you begin scanning, make sure you don’t have
any other applications running. It’s also smart to disable/unload any
programs running in your system tray because open apps are constantly
making registry changes, and you want the registry cleaner to do its work
with no interference.
5. Use caution. After the scan, the program will let you remove—or in some
cases, repair—the registry errors. If you’re given the option, set the registry
cleaner to remove errors only at the safest and least-intrusive level.
6. Seriously, use caution. Choosing which of the errors to remove or repair
can give you a migraine. We scan for things that look familiar. For example,
we saw almost 100 registry entries left over from a package of Dell drivers
that had been uninstalled months ago, and one registry cleaner spotted
invalid paths to dozens of entries for MP3 files that were moved to a new
Examine the errors you see and look for familiar programs before moving
After a couple of days, if your PC doesn’t do anything weird, such as showing
error messages on boot or when trying to launch a program, try another scan, this
time allowing the registry cleaner to scan more aggressively Always examine
entries marked with “Caution,” “Extreme Caution,” or some other indicator of risk
7. Step away from the PC. Once you give the software the go-ahead and it
starts removing registry entries, walk away from your PC. Play with the dog,
have some coffee, or watch TV. This is for safety purposes.
8. Backup to the rescue. If you discover a problem (for instance, maybe Excel
no longer launches), don’t panic. And don’t do anything aside from using
the registry cleaner’s restore feature, which ensures that only the changes
the program just made are reversed.
9. Maintenance. You needn’t perform a registry scan more than once a
month or so, especially if you don’t often make changes to your PC.
Scanning more frequently won’t hurt anything.
10.Come one, come all. Are you a techno-fanatic who needs the registry to be
squeaky clean, with absolutely no stray entries and trimmed of all fat?
There’s no harm in using multiple freebie registry cleaners—provided you
use them one at a time.