The Best Registry Fix for XP
by Jeff Orloff
The registry is a database found in all Windows operating systems that contains information about the software and hardware used by the computer. Many different things can detrimentally affect the registry in your Windows PC: among them, adding and removing software, malware, and installation and removal of device drivers. Problems with the registry can cause your computer to run slowly or crash altogether.
Evaluate the different registry cleaners before you install one on your computer. Whether or not to use a registry cleaning software is one of the great debates among computer professionals. While most don't see the need for a registry cleaning software, there are many tools written for home computer users that claim to easily clean their computer's registry. Since no registry cleaning software can distinguish between a registry key that is invalid, redundant or neither, it is not recommended that a third party application be installed to clean the registry.
Many companies who sell registry cleaners are nothing more than a scam. If you decide you must use a registry cleaner, try one of the recommended programs listed. Alternatively, you can download a program called PageDefrag that is supported by Microsoft. While it will not clean the registry, it will defragment it to help increase the computer's performance.
Unistall software properly. When you wish to remove a program from your computer, use the "Add/Remove Software" tool in Windows. Properly uninstalling any software will help keep the registry clean. The same can be said for installing new hardware on the computer. Use the "Add Hardware" wizard whenever possible.
Use updated security software. One of the biggest threats to the registry is malware. By frequently scanning your computer for malware, you will help to protect your registry from threats and fix any errors caused by malicious software writing to the registry itself.
Go to Microsoft for help. The registry is unique to the Windows operating system. If you are having issues with a corrupt registry, turn to the Microsoft Knowledge Base for support on specific registry issues. Visit Microsoft Support (see Resources) and type "Registry" in the search box. Then, click on the orange icon that looks like a magnifying glass. You will find a wealth of information about registry issues and troubleshooting.