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PC Tools had it right when it decided to call this registry cleaner application “Registry Mechanic." After all, computers can be figuratively compared to vehicles. Having those annoying, yet helpful, warning windows pop up is just like having the engine light on your dashboard come on. Sometimes your computer starts running as slow as a sloth on holidays--no different than your car acting sluggish. So why, when our vehicles start to misbehave, do we immediately begin troubleshooting and take them into the shop for repairs, but when our computers start lagging behind, we just accept it and tell ourselves we’ll get to looking at it later?
Registry Mechanic can save you the expense of bringing your computer into the shop for repairs, and can increase the performance and reliability of your computer, just as if you’ve had your car's 5,000-mile service maintenance check.
You might be asking, "What is a registry cleaner?" Let me explain what a registry is. Any time you make changes to your operating system--including software installations, file associations, control panel settings, and all other modifications to your options and settings--it’s all stored on the registry. The registry can be broken up into two categories: keys and values. The registry keys are like folders and the values are like data held within these folders. If you consider how often things are being changed on your computer--from installing and removing software to customizing user account options--you can begin to appreciate how things could get jumbled or stored in the wrong place, or even become corrupt. This is where a registry cleaner comes in handy. Its purpose is to remove unneeded and/or unwanted stuff--invalid entries and orphaned shortcuts--from the registry. This stuff can come from software that has been improperly uninstalled, orphaned startup programs, and missing or corrupt hardware drivers. Registry Mechanic can take the bits and pieces (fragmented files/orphans) collecting dust and clogging your computer and either delete or repair these files, to allow for optimum performance and increased reliability. When your vehicle warns you that you’re low on fuel, you go and fill up the tank; registry cleaners can also warn you when potential trouble begins occurring, so you can deal with the issue before it leaves you stranded on the side of the road.
Deciding on the right registry cleaner is essential. You need something that you can understand; otherwise, you could potentially do serious or even fatal damage to your computer by removing vital data. If you aren’t particularly computer-savvy, you need a registry cleaner that can explain the importance of each action to help you have a better understanding before making decisions.
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User InterfaceRating What's Hot:
There’s no need to pull out the GPS to find your way around Registry Mechanic; the user interface is welcoming and favors the novice. Everything is laid out nicely and divided into sections, helping to assist you with a trouble-free experience.
Hovering over the buttons on the side bar provides you with a brief description of their function.
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Installation & SetupRating What's Hot:
Registry Mechanic works with Windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP. Basic support for Windows Vista is also offered.
I did not encounter any problems with Registry Mechanic’s installation or setup; it was simple and speedy.
Though it wasn't a problem, during the setup process Registry Mechanic asked me if I wanted to install a free Google toolbar for Internet Explorer. Personally, I prefer software that isn’t going to be packaged with this sort of thing. I find it to be a put off.
[See: Google Toolbar]
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Price to ValueRating What's Hot:
Registry Mechanic will cost you $29.95. Other registry cleaners on the market are very similarly priced. The features, reliability, and ease of use of Registry Mechanic make this application good value for your money.
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Product FeaturesRating What's Hot:
Registry Mechanic offers an array of features to help you keep your computer running smoothly. You can decide if you’d like to do a full scan or a custom scan. After the scan is complete, you are presented with a list of found registry errors. The list includes an error urgency bar to help you understand the importance of the problem. The list of errors is broken up into sections along the left side, making it easier to view the scan results.
[See: Scan Results]
You are given the option of either removing the invalid entries automatically or manually. If you are a bit nervous about making any amendments in fear of messing things up further, Registry Mechanic provides you with an automatic backup feature, so recovering any changes made is possible. If you’re running Windows XP or Vista, you also have the option to create a System Restore point before executing any repair changes.
Registry Mechanic not only scans your computer, but can also monitor it and alert you when a certain amount of changes have been made to the key areas of the registry. If you like, this option (as well as the regular scanning) can be configured to run automatically when Windows starts up. Registry Mechanic will then run a silent scan automatically if you configure it to do so.
With so much going on in the registry of your computer (as mentioned previously), keys become corrupt. Another problem that occurs is the creation of unnecessary free space. Picture your child’s room, for example. When it’s tidy, he or she has plenty of room to move around and play, but then things get moved around, taken out, added, broken, and so on. Before you know it, you’re sending in a search and rescue team to locate your child. The free space is still there, but totally disorganized and unusable. Registry Mechanic offers a compacting feature that assesses the situation and then moves in to rebuild and compact the registry by removing the corrupt keys and unusable free space. It “cleans house," if you will.
[See: Registry Compacting]
Registry cleaners may detect items that you really don’t want to remove, which is why you have the option of manually deselecting items that you do not want to be removed. But what happens the next time you run the scan? The very same items are once again identified and you have to go through the same steps? Not with Registry Mechanic. You can avoid pesky reoccurring detections by adding them to an ignore list. The items can be selected through the results of the scan or added directly.
Registry Mechanic has a System Optimizer feature that provides you with an easy way to access and monitor your computer and its performance. It will also direct you to important maintenance areas of your computer, such as Windows Disk Defragmenter. With the System Optimizer, you can actively monitor your computer's disk space, usage, processes, CPU/memory, and view your system’s information. If you want Registry Mechanic to automatically optimize your system, it will apply a set of patches and tweaks directly into the Windows Registry to improve your computer's performance.
[See: System Optimizer]
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PerformanceRating What's Hot:
Registry Mechanic performs exactly as advertised. In my testing, the keys that were identified as being safe to delete, were indeed safe to delete. Registry Mechanic did not slow down my computer--even when it was running in real time.
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Help & SupportRating What's Hot:
Registry Mechanic has a Quick Start Guide available via the Help button, which will provide you with a brief description of the functions of Registry Mechanic and how to navigate around it. If you want more thorough information and help, you are provided with a link to PC Tools' online help section. This section is very detailed and does a fine job of explaining things. Should you feel it isn’t answering your questions, Registry Mechanic also offers web support where you can fill out an extensive web form and include attachments, should you feel it necessary. PC Tools also has a comprehensive FAQ area on its website.
Registry Mechanic has a Smart Update button, making it easy to check, download, and install updates.
"Registry Mechanic peut être configuré pour courir dans quatre langues différentes." Huh? Ahem, pardon my French; what I mean to say is, Registry Mechanic can be configured to run in four different languages--English, Dutch, Spanish, and French.
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ConclusionFor those looking for a registry cleaner, Registry Mechanic is a perfect choice. It’s easy and safe to use, reliable, well supported, and reasonably priced.
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Related ProductsRegistry Repair Pro, Registry Booster