What the heck is a registry?
The Windows registry is essentially a database of all the important information your operating system uses when your computer completes various tasks. This database is pivotal to your PC’s functioning, as it is used by Windows to manage all interactions with the computer’s hardware and software. The registry is constantly being accessed and interacted with in the background while your computer is running.
What causes problems within the registry?
Your normal everyday computer use, like it or not, affects the and alters the registry. Whenever you change screensavers, add a new user, install or uninstall a program, or create a desktop shortcut for a program, new registry entries are created, altered and deleted. So far so good…
The problem is that these entries often don’t do a very good job of cleaning up after themselves; leaving all sorts off invalid file paths, redundant registry keys, missing drivers and orphaned files. At first this may not have much of an effect on your computer, however given enough time these faulty entries and errors begin to pile up and they start to overwhelm your computer. This usually leads to a steady decline in system performance in a best case scenario, and a system crash and loss of files in the worst case.
This is why a clean and well-structured registry is so important to the proper functioning of your computer. For anyone with enough technical know-how it is possible to examine and edit the registry manually, however this tends to be very tedious and time-consuming. It is by no means an exact science; usually consisting of making very slight alterations within the registry, then rebooting the computer to observe the results, then repeating the process. Furthermore, manually editing the registry will always have the risk of making the problem worse, and potentially incapacitating the computer.
A safer and much less time-consuming alternative is to use a good registry repair program to do this for you.
How do registry repair programs work?
Registry repair software runs through the entire registry and identifies incorrect or obsolete information. A few clicks and a couple of minutes later and the program will have corrected, updated and removed unnecessary registry entries that hinder your system’s overall performance and stability.
Here is a sample of some of the most common errors and how registry repair software fixes them:
Program Shortcuts – Broken or erroneous program shortcuts can cause a program to take far longer to start or even render it unable to do so. These shortcuts are identified and corrected by registry repair software.
Empty Registry Keys – The software removes these obsolete entries, thus trimming the registry of these unnecessary files.
File/Path References – Occasionally, the registry will create a filepath to temporary files and once these files disappear, a filepath dead-end is left behind. These references are consequently removed.
Windows Start Up Items – Many programs and software functions are activated on start up. If these programs contain errors or are improperly installed, they can cause issues within the registry. The repair software makes quick work of these pesky problems.
Application Paths – Any errors within the application paths of software running on your computer will invariably cause these programs to malfunction and crash. By identifying and correcting the invalid paths, the registry can properly interact with these programs once again.
Uninstall Entries – Often when programs are uninstalled they leave behind data within the registry, which is now obsolete. Registry repair software cleans out all of that junk data.
Font Entries – Missing or invalid font files can cause problems with word processing software. Once these issues are resolved by the registry repair software, any applications that use these files will have a more stable operation.
Shared DLLs – Computer stability can be severely affected when the registry’s shared DLL section becomes corrupted. By restoring these files to their proper state, registry repair software will prevent any negative issues associated with this section of the Windows registry.
Backup and Restore – When registry repair software is run on your computer, it automatically performs a full backup of your registry, allowing you to effectively “reverse” any changes you make to the registry. As an added benefit, registry repair software can, to some extent, help prevent viruses and malware that use the registry to effect their damage.
The benefit of having registry backup and restore points is that if you start to notice problems developing on your PC, you can simply revert it to a previous point before the problems began.
The registry repair software that’s produced the most thorough and consistent results that I’ve seen is called RegCure. It’s also among the least expensive programs available.