How to Clean Windows Registry

clean-windows-registry

Intro

In the beginning Windows’ registry consisted of two files totalling around 5mb in size. Today it consists of at least 12 files with the Software file itself being 30mb or bigger in size. As the size of the registry has exploded, so has the trash and clutter in it. It may seem like a daunting task, but cleaning the registry properly can fix system problems, speed your computer up, and make it run more efficiently.

I have spent many years developing and refining thousands of procedures to do just that. I could share these methods of hunting down the trash with you and let you find them and delete them by hand, but if you were to sit down at your computer right now and work nonstop, you would still be busy with them a week from now when the next issue of Ray’s Computer Tips arrives. By then your registry would have new clutter and you would have to start all over again.

To make registry cleaning easier on everyone, I wrote a program called RegVac Registry Cleaner (http://regvac.com/regvac.htm) to perform those procedures. It has been so successful that several companies have asked me to model their registry cleaners after RegVac and even more have copied processes that first debutted in RegVac.

The first place RegVac cleans is the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT section (the Classes Vac in RegVac does this). This section contains settings for the classes of Windows. Think of a huge box full of snakes and you will get an idea of how complicated and interwoven it is. It is so complicated that many registry cleaners bypass it or simply perform surface scans of it. RegVac uses over a hundred processes to follow each tentacle of each class deep into this area and make sure that they abide by the rules.

Next RegVac validates the entries in 22 lists with 7 different methods (the FilesList Vac does this). This is a minor part of RegVac but the bulk of most other registry cleaners even though they usually do not clean all 22 lists.

Another part of RegVac, the Software Vac, which is unique to RegVac, finds old software sections in the registry and provides a way to remove that software’s entire branch. Other registry cleaners only remove a few entries in this area often leaving huge portions of the registry that do nothing but take up space and get in the way.

Even more trash can be discovered in hundreds of stashes used to store data you will never use. Most registry cleaners do not even touch these. The Stash Vac lists these stashes and lets you go through and select which ones to empty out. Please use caution when using the Stash Vac because some of the items listed there may be important. For example, one folder in the Stash Vac lists places where data for international keyboards are stored. You probably will never use the data for Bulgarian keyboards, so you can remove it, but if you live in the US you may experience problems after removing the United States 101 keyboard. The items that you can safely remove are usually obvious.


Last but not least, when cleaning the registry, you should look for broken links to files on the computer (this is what the Bad Link Vac does). If a file is referenced in the registry but it does not exist on your hard drive, that is a good indicator that something is wrong. Many programmers start out writing a registry cleaner thinking all it has to do is check for these broken links and remove them. In fact, that is all many registry cleaners do.

Even though that is all they do, they often don’t do it correctly. If you check the results of such scans, you will find out that many of the broken links are really good links. I spent several months refining this part of RegVac so that as far as I know it is 100% accurate. Despite this, please realize that some software enter broken links in the registry and require them to be there in order for them to run. RegVac skips the ones it knows about, but you still need to be careful with this part of RegVac.

RegVac has six more tools that clean even more areas: the Add/Remove Editor, the System Config Utility, the OpenWith Editor, the AutoComplete Editor, the Junk Keys Editor, and Registry Backup, Pack, and Restore.

Many of you already use RegVac but if you don’t, you can downloaded a free 30 day trial of RegVac at http://regvac.com/regvacz.exe. For more information about RegVac Registry Cleaner go to http://regvac.com/regvac.htm. If you like RegVac, you can purchase it for only $29.95. All future updates are free.

Keep the Windows registry clean and running smoothly with RegVac Registry Cleaner.

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