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  1. #1
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    Registry Cleaning Products

    To all,
    I'd like to cleanup my registry safely and completely (wouldn't we all?). Does anyone have any products they can recommend?
    I've downloaded Registry First Aid and Registry Mechanic and run their scans to see what (if anything) is broken. Each product gives different results and **seems** to have different sections it tests!! <img src=/S/exclamation.gif border=0 alt=exclamation width=15 height=15> I don't get a warm feeling from this! Part of the problem seems to be that I can't simply printout a report of the analysis from these products for side-by-side comparison.
    I do backups and defrags. Registry cleaning seems to be the next plateau to keep your system running smoothly. Can someone help?
    Thanks in advance.
    Mark

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    I am definitely in the minority when I say "leave the registry alone." I have little faith in any cleaning products that purport to scour the registry and clean it up. Even Microsoft, who once had a tool for this purpose, yanked it several times and it finally died the death that it deserved. You can see for yourself just what a guessing game it is by running the tools you mentioned. They cannot seem to agree on what is "broken" and what is not. Registry cleaning is not the next plateau to keeping your system running smoothly. In fact, the more you screw with it the more problems you are asking to have.

    For my own purposes, I let Norton SystemWorks scan the registry for errors, and it has always been safe. Does it provide a benefit? Hard to tell, really. But you get that warm fuzzy feeling from having run a cleanup and the appearance of something being fixed. The only other tools I use and can endorse beyond SystemWorks are Erunt and NTRegOpt. I use the former for registry backups (discovered thanks to this forum) and the latter to keep its size on disk small.

    I will note that all that NTRegOpt does is to copy the registry hives (files that make up the registry) to a new location, making them contiguous files. That has a logical function - fragmented files are a performance hit, and it would stand to reason that the registry would be even more sensitive to fragmented hives. But it does NOT go into the registry itself and look for problems.

    You are sure to get all kinds of suggestions, but I am going to urge you to be careful and not believe the hype. Stick with tweaks and performance changes that have a noticeable impact on your Windows experience. Mucking with the registry is not one of those. If you want a clean registry, reinstall Windows.
    -Mark

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    Was glad to learn about NTRegOp and learned about Erunt from here also (cowboydawg). I use Registry Mechanic 2.1 as well Mark and my reasoning was that I've read a lot of the info besides the many many regedits on the Winguides site (about 1000 and growing) and I have the Tweak Manger. I'm convinced that the author has a deep interest in the registry and understanding of Windows and too much insight and respect for the registry not to make a safe quality product.

    SMBP

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    Tweaks, surely! Some things can only be changed in the registry and for some of those there is no nice GUI front end. But "cleaning" it and removing things? That, I think, is not something that is worth the effort. I have been using computers for years, and Windows since its infancy - and I really, really do not believe that anyone can perceive a noticeable benefit from registry cleaning products beyond that "warm fuzzy feeling." That does not mean that there is no market for such things, but can a person really tell the real-world difference between a system that has a 2.0 GHz processor and one that has a 2.3 GHz processor, with all other factors being identical? Considering that, could you tell a real world difference between a "clean" registry and a "dirty" one? The only significant difference I have ever seen is when you install Windows clean and there is nothing in the registry but the default values.

    It comes down to personal preference, and I prefer to avoid needless "optimizing" in favour of things that have a tangible effect on my computing experience.
    -Mark

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    I have used Registry Mechanic for a long time with no problems, not even one. Will you see a difference after cleaning the registry, well that all depends on how much <img src=/w3timages/censored.gif alt=censored border=0> you have in it that needs to be cleaned. It will clean lots of things not just the registry. Using theses kinds of tools is why I and many others don't have to do clean installs once a year are more as some do, or claim they need to do. I find a clean House Refreshing and Healthy as do I my Computer. Is it necessary, I don't know, is it? To each his own. I build and repair computers and I say a clean computer is a healthier and smoother running computer. Will you notice a difference in performance,,,,, maybe , maybe not, many different things would have to go into that equation, but as I said, I like a clean house...

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    After an MS online support expressed severe doubts about the impact of the MS RegClean on my system many years ago, I have stayed away from RegCleaners altogether. If something I have installed has proved to be ~100% <img src=/S/rubbish.gif border=0 alt=rubbish width=15 height=15>, I will probably review the registry by hand, but that's as far as it goes.

    Clearing out dust bunnies and having an adequate cooling system inside the housing are one thing, but the chances of a RegCleaner having a material impact are more luck than judgement. Once upon a time, removing surplus programs from the Run registry keys had an impact, but that has not really been the case since Swap files ceased being a day to day issue.

    The point you make about fragmentation is a valid one, but the key issue - which no one addresses is compacting. The registry is a database. With entries being added and removed, it starts sprawling and becomes inefficient. The effective compacting which arises on a clean install is where the performance boost arises. No product, however, AFAIK offers to compact the Registry - perhaps wisely.

    The frightening way in which Word, for example, can still hook deep into the OS shows that Windows has not been rebuilt from the ground up since the end of 3x. Perhaps the Linux/Unix peope have it right when they say that Windows is still built on a series of kludges. If that were so, then there would be no fairly comprehensive standard as to what is safe to clean in the Registry - as a false step could crash your system. <img src=/S/hmmn.gif border=0 alt=hmmn width=15 height=15>
    Gre

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    <img src=/S/hello.gif border=0 alt=hello width=25 height=29> Mark

    Happy Holidays to you, and I should say that what I propose may not be what you really want to hear, but for a registry clean up I use a:

    <font color=red> BACKUP data file* </font color=red> and <font color=blue>INSTALL APPLICATIONS</font color=blue>.

    This always cleans the registry and I do this process once every quarter, and I am happy with it.

    Wassim
    <font color=red>*</font color=red> This also includes any settings or applications that you don't have on disk, which you should not have too many off.
    <img src=/S/compute.gif border=0 alt=compute width=40 height=20> in the <img src=/S/bagged.gif border=0 alt=bagged width=22 height=22>

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    First, a reference. You might want to take a look through <!post=the thread starting here.,293551>the thread starting here.<!/post> But please note that way on down in that thread, I too had trouble with a non-working application after running a so-called registry cleaner. I've since decided to fall back on the strategy in Mark's (and other's) comments that one should do a clean re-install "whenever" you really feel the need. These kinds of software products are just too suspect to be worth the risk.

    In my case, the only reason I ever thought about "cleaning" the registry is because of the crappy housekeeping done by MOST software UN-INSTALL operations! One can always browse through the registry and find tons of references to stuff that's no longer on the system. But, truth be known, I don't think that kind of thing results in a perceivable performance hit and now I'll just close my eyes to it and if the system still works, leave it alone.

  9. #9
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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    I was thinking after I posted that this is supposed to be computer science and as even a shred of a scientific statement I don't have a clue as to 1)what any of these things are doing to the registry--the usual "hype" is that they will remove broken or corrupt strings and other less than healthy elements but I don't have a clue and I think your point is that there may be considerably more harm than good. 2) Even if I knew exactly what each of these cleaners were doing relative to each other, then what I'd scientifically like is a series with big numbers and a head-on double blind study of them with a lot of superimposed statistical analysis, reviewed critically in the literature, and I'm not going to get that. So basically I have a very positive feeling toward the maker because he has done considerable work to collect reg hacks-- and has a positive site, which still means I don't know squat about the comparative merits of these cleaners or what they do.

    A lot of the software a lot of people get is based on getting desirable interesting productive results--like a photo manager or image software, Elements, Photoshop, PictureIt, PaintShop Pro 8, but here you're applying software to go in and modify something where a small detail can trash your system and so paradoxically I know and can find out next to nothing about these. Probably a compelling reason not to use them. So like cbd I haven't had problems with Reg Mechanic, but I don't really know much of anything about what it does.

    I hate to say it, but I can extend that to much of the software I use.

    SMBP

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    Thanks a lot for this. You could read through a ton of stuff and a lot of books and not get insights like this.

    SMBP

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    Unkamunka--

    When you say "the frightening way in which Word for example can still hook deep into the OS shows that Windows has not been rebuilt from the ground up since the end of 3X" would you mind elaborating this a little in detail--I'd just like to learn more about what you mean and it'll add to some OS perspective.

    SMBP

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    Ditto from me. This has been very informative. I don't need to clean the registry if it isn't going to make a difference in terms of (a) NOTICEABLE performance ([img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] removing problems and broken links that could (how can you tell?) cause crashes.

    OTOH, having worked with databases for some time, I do know that removing unused items to make the database smaller DOES improve performance. What isn't clear to me is how often Windows does database type operations like queries and searches on this database called the registry.

    The backup and compact utilities therefore seem immediately valuable. I might try System Mechanic based on recommendations here.

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed. It's amazing what a sense of community Woody has fostered with this BB.
    Mark

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    I thought I would touch on registry compaction since Unkamunka brought it up.

    In Windows NT, you could accomplish this by running RDISK -s. That tool disappeared in Windows 2000 and XP. Windows 98 included the SCANREG tool that could compress the registry by running the command SCANREG /OPT. In WIndows 2000 and XP operating systems, you can compress the registry by using the Backup tool included with Windows, and then backing up your System State. When you back up the system state on a non-domain controller workstation, you include the following:
    <UL><LI>Boot files
    <LI>The COM+ class registration database and
    <LI>The registry.[/list]Running the System State backup option creates a compacted version of the registry, not an image of it. You can then restore the compacted version if you choose. By and large, Windows 2000 and XP handle the registry's management quite well on their own, and this is mostly a needless step - but at least it is an option. The SCANREG tool is notably absent from the NT based operating systems because it really is not that necessary.

    As far as I know, there is no tool that can rebuild the index for the registry database, which also should not be needed. If the indices were to get corrupt, you would end up with a non-working system anyway.

    Hope that little bit of extra information helps!
    -Mark

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    Word and the Windows OS is not a 5 second topic. You probably need to understand Word itself, as a start. Most of Woody's Word 97 Annoyances is still highly relevant and that is a good place to start. Once you have digested that, you might try looking at some of the threads over on the Word Board. If you try the Word Board before Woody's book, you'll probably end up very puzzled.

    The other thing to consider is what is a well-constructed, robust OS. If you look entirely at Windows, you'll soon stop seeing the wood for the trees. Unix has been round the block a fair number of times more than Windows. There are a fair number of Linux and Apple sites on the web. On the basis that you don't have access to an Apple system, starting to roll up your sleeves with Linux is relatively low-cost - albeit highly "techie". If you start at Slashdot and Google, you're bound to come across sites that can put Linux in some sort of language you can get your arms around.

    HTH
    Gre

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    Re: Registry Cleaning Products

    Thanks. Tech TV has done a bang up job of putting plenty of easy to understand Linux orientation material on their site and some excellent Linux links and instructions on downloading ISO'S/context, and gets Linux gurus to write very clear articles, Have Woody's 97 should read it along with tons of other word material. You're dead on about reading before trying to get a grip on much but not all of the word section posts. I was trying to get my arms around your phrase "Word can hook deep" but realize that might be a complex long discussion.

    SMBP

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