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Editing the Windows Registry by Hand or with a Cleaner

written by: corruptmonk•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 5/9/2009

There are two methods for cleaning up your Windows Registry; you can either do it manually or you can use third-party applications Registry Cleaners to do it.

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    Manual Registry Cleaning

    Manually cleaning up your Windows Registry entails loading the Registry Editor and looking for the sub-keys, entries, and values you wish to remove or edit. Here are some tips that should help you out.

    1. Always make a backup before modifying your Windows Registry so that you can revert back to its original setting in case things go wrong. We showed how to do this in the previous article.

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    Using Registry Cleaners

    Registry Cleaners are usually the best solution in organizing or cleaning up your Windows Registry. These third-party applications scan through all the entries and values in your Registry database to check for errors and vulnerabilities; confirm the validity of installed programs along with its files and components; and remove unused entries that take up space and clutter up the database.

    One advantage of using Registry Cleaners is how it makes your task easier. These applications only require a few clicks of a mouse button to get it going. Here are the basic functions and process of known Registry Cleaners today.

    • Automatically scans through all the registry values to search for invalid entries and values that will slow down or cause problems for your PC;
    • Uses its own codebase to check for possible malware (adware, spyware, trojan, virus, or worm) infections in your Registry;
    • Remove unwanted components;
    • Optimize and organize all valid entries for faster lookup;
    • Automatically or by prompting the user create a backup of the Registry before starting with the clean up. This allows users to load a functional version of the database in case of errors cropping up afterwards.

    Components included in the Registry Cleaner scans include ActiveX components, applications (paths and related files), file types and extensions, history, shortcuts, shared files, multimedia files, drivers, and more.

    Before trying out a Registry Cleaner program, you first need to determine the credibility of the company or the developer of the software. There are tons of malicious programmers on the Web that takes advantage of this access to your registry to initiate attacks on remote computers. or at least install some adware.

    It's advisable to make use of Registry Cleaners from well-known software companies and avoid downloading those from unsolicited email or ads on the Web. Beware of free programs offered on the Internet since these are often infected with Trojans and worms that can wreak havoc on your machine's performance.

Editing the Windows Registry by Hand or with a Cleaner

There might come a time that editing your Windows Registry might be the only option left to improve its performance.
  1. What is the Windows Registry and How to Back it Up
  2. Editing the Windows Registry by Hand or with a Cleaner