Registry Error Tips

by Rod Dunne on June 9, 2010

in Articles, Registry Cleaners Articles, Tips and Tools

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Knowing how to fix computers when the root cause is a registry error boils down to (a) doing your research and (b) keeping back-up copies of the registry. This article shows how to research the causes & resolutions for making an effective PC and registry repair.

Step 1: The first point to mention is that you should always make a copy of Windows registry before starting into any computer repair jobs or actions. Keeping a back-up copy just means you can roll back to an earlier version if things go wrong.

Step 2: Start your repairs by researching any registry error message that Windows throws up to establish how the registry has been damaged. Search Google and the Microsoft Knowledge Base for ways to fix error/exception codes you have seen. If you are in luck then there will be a work-around, a fix patch or advice for your specific computer error.

If you do not have an error code or message to look up then it is worth noting that, in general terms, registry errors are normally due to one of the following three events:

  1. Virus damage
  2. Hardware issues
  3. Software faults

Attempt to repair virus damage through first running an anti-virus scan. Depending on your anti-virus software, this may not repair registry damage but it should isolate any virus files (meaning they won’t run).

Hardware issues affect the registry usually after attempting to install new hardware. Try removing the hardware to first re-establish the health of your computer. Double check that the device drivers (software applications provided with the hardware) are compatible with your operating system version (i.e. the driver was tested for your Windows 7/Vista/XP computer). Then try re-installing the hardware.

For software faults, the root of the registry error may be more complex (especially if you are looking for a slow computer fix). Try removing the software. This should reinstate the registry key settings to their prior settings. If this is not possible, then use the last known good configuration option when Windows is booting up. Additional options are given in our post about how to fix DLL errors.

Step 3: If manual attempts do not succeed then it is better to resort to registry repair software to automate the error fix. The following tools both provide a free scan option which means you can run a scan to first establish the root of the registry problem.

Our article on the best registry cleaner utilities tools a three-way comparison of the top three tools.


Additional Information

The following registry error message/codes are some of the most common found that relate directly to registry problems.

Error Message: BAD_SYSTEM_CONFIG_INFO
This registry error happens when important registry keys and values are missing. In hardware terms, it may also happen if the memory is faulty/damaged.
Resolution: Boot up Windows using the ‘last known good configuration’ setting when Windows is starting up. If you have installed new RAM prior to the fault then try reverting back to the old memory cards.

Error Message: CRITICAL_SERVICE_FAILED
A service (one of the background applications that run your hardware, do updates, etc.) couldn’t initialize properly. This is usually due to corrupted settings in the registry file.
Resolution: If this occurs after installing some new piece of hardware then unplug the hardware and attempt to restart the system again. Recheck installation instructions ensuring the right drivers were installed. If this fails, boot up Windows using the ‘last known good configuration’ setting.

Error Message: STOP Code 0xc0000218
This is caused when the registry hive (a grouping of keys and values relating to a specific user). This is most likely due to the settings being removed (possibly while altering/removing software).
Resolution: A full repair would require reinstating the hive keys. This can be done by reimporting a versioned copy of the registry (if available). Alternatively, the keys can be reset using tools like Registry Booster, Registry Easy or XP Repair Pro.

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