The Registry Cleaner: What It Is and What It Does


Among the things you can do as a PC owner to optimize the performance of your computer is clean the windows registry. Since manually accessing the registry is a highly risky endeavor, as any mistake can have potentially disastrous consequences, a crop of software has been created to do the dirty work for you. Here we will answer the basic questions of what the registry is, why it should be cleaned, and how this can help your system.

The Registry

The Windows Registry is a directory deep in the Windows system (not accessible through the file system in Windows Explorer, though it can be accessed by the user with the right command) which stores system settings. Among the entries stored in the registry are operating system settings, hardware profiles, settings relating to installed software, user preferences, etc. Examples of information contained in the registry include the settings entered in the Control Panel, and file associations which tell the computer what program to use to open which sorts of files.

Registry Errors

Just as your computer’s hard drive can become cluttered with extraneous files over time and your computer can accumulate spyware or adware unless you use spyware removers regularly, your system registry can get cluttered over time as files are created and deleted, programs installed and uninstalled, settings changed, etc. Many programs you install on your computer will create or modify settings on your machine, but another program that is installed later may want different settings. Over time, these bugs in the registry can slow system performance, and also potentially cause errors including:

– Runtime errors, or errors which occur during the execution of a program

– ActiveX errors, or errors relating to a Microsoft software environment (ActiveX) which can be used by web browsers and other programs to execute certain functions

– EXE errors relating to executable (*.exe) program files which often occur on system startup

– DLL errors, errors caused by missing or corrupt DLL files, which are file libraries used by executable program files to run a program. DLL errors can cause problems when trying to install or uninstall software, among others

– Blue Screens of Death, those infamous blue screen Windows produces when it cannot recover from a system error and must reboot

– System32 errors, which are errors in the Windows system often caused by missing or corrupt system files

– General Protection Faults, errors which arise from a program trying to use the hardware in an improper way

– Access Violation errors, which occur when a program tries to access storage which has not been designated for it

– Windows Explorer errors, which can cause the Windows Explorer user interface to freeze up

– iExplore errors, errors in Internet Explorer which cause it to crash (if you use Internet Explorer as your browser, that is)

– Windows Installer errors, which are caused by third party programs and can cause a system crash

Registry Cleaners

A registry cleaner is a program which scans the registry for missing files, corrupt files, files which are no longer needed by any program currently installed, references to files which do not exist on the computer, improper settings, and anything else which can cause errors like those listed above or other problems, and then correct the problems in the registry. These programs are meant to make it much safer to edit the registry, due to the noted problems which can be caused by trying to manually edit the registry if you are unfamiliar with it. Even advanced computer experts must back up the registry before making any changes so that any error which does result can be undone, and a good registry cleaner absolutely must have this feature.

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