Keeping a clean registry is a fundamental maintenance task that all Windows owners should do on a regular basis. This article brings together some simple ways of cleaning registry files along with some useful tools for automating the process (e.g. Registry Easy).
Knowing how to clean registry files is a simple way of speeding up your computer. There are three stages to the process
- Back up the registry file.
- Manually clean out unused keys (via the control panel, *not* by manually editing the registry).
- Using clean registry repair software to automate the remaining clean out of redundant keys and optimizing the keys that are kept.
Making a versioned copy of the file is essential before any registry clean up. Doing this ensures that you can recover lost data from the PC or laptop backup file if anything goes wrong. It is actually a best practice to make a version before installing or un-installing any software as this is the principal situation where the registry is altered and prone to being damaged.
- See also: From Microsoft – Backing up an XP registry file
2. Manual Registry Clean Up Using The Control Panel
Manually editing the registry file is strongly advised against unless you really know what you are doing. The file contains thousands of entries and it is never apparent how altering one key could affect numerous applications.
The simple approach is to use ‘Add/Remove Programs’ from the Control Panel to clean hard drive directories of old, unused software.
This process will clean registry keys that are used by the application alone (and so can be safely removed without affecting other software). This also helps me when my computer is slow by freeing up disk space (keeping more than 10% free ensures Windows operates smoothly).
3. Clean Registry Repair Software
For the majority of users the easiest approach is to use software to automate the process. The following two examples exhibit the two types of software (a download-able application and an online service).
- Registry Easy is a popular application for cleaning registry files which you download and install to your computer. It can clean out redundant data, repair registry error faults and optimize key settings (giving you a faster PC by speeding up internet connections/improve hardware usage/etc.). The benefit of having it installed on your PC is that it can be reused over and over again.
More info & free scan.. | Registry Easy Review