THE COMPUTER EXPERT doesn't glaze over Windows Pains on the Anorak Heaven Blog! In the third part of this FREE weekly advice series we'll show you how to spring clean and defragment the all important Windows Registry.
Windows is a dirty operating system in terms of retaining bits of old and obsolete program installations that you thought you had said goodbye to. Whether it's XP, the bloated and slow Vista, or the much improved Windows 7 it's dirty. Whichever programs you install and then uninstall from Internet Explorer toolbar add-ons to full integrated business packages such as Microsoft Office there will be a whole shedload of obsolete and defunct entries in the highly important Windows Registry.
Regard the Windows Registry, present in all versions of the Microsoft Operating system as a kind of directory of the pathways to the location of all the important program files on your computer's hard drive. Depending on how much software you have installed the registry can become very large, and as the whole file is read upon the boot-up of Windows, it can start to slow you system down considerably.
In addition to this if you install and uninstall alot of software, either full commercial products or freeware from the internet, you will find much lazily programmed software leaves your system without removing the various registry keys associated with it. A registry with lots of defunct keys and entries leads to a slower system and an unstable one too with more frequent crashes.
Help is at hand however, in the form of a useful piece of software called CCleaner that we downloaded during our tutorial last week. Full details of how to download and install CCleaner and use its powerful disk clean-up facilities are available from last week here.
To engage CCleaner's registry cleaning function, select the Registry icon.
This week we're specifically interested in using CCleaner's impressive registry cleaning facilities and we'll start by running the program, then selecting the Registry icon. Ensure all of the registry clean-up dialogue boxes are ticked and then click the 'Scan For Issues' button. To repair the registry simply click the 'Fix Selected Issues' button and make a registry back-up before fixing. And that's it! It's worth performing this task at least once per week if you try out alot of software.
Although you've now got a wonderfully clean registry, there's one important procedure that you must undertake to gain full benefit from registry cleaning, and that's registry defragmentation. For that we're going to use another piece of absolutely free and clean software: a registry defragmenter in the form of Eusing Free Registry Defragmenter available here.
Once you've downloaded and installed it, run the program, and click the 'Analyse Registry' button. The program will then calculate the amount of space that can be reclaimed in your registry from the obsolete entries removed by CCleaner. Removing these will once again significantly decrease the boot-up time of Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7.
Eusing Free Registry Defragmenter in the process of analysing my laptop's registry.
It turns out that from the above Eusing Free Registry Defragmenter's results for my registry, a defragmentation will compact my registry by 8.3% from 64MB in size to 59MB, a significant saving in file size and hence loading time.
Results of the analysis showing a compacting benefit of 8.3%.
To conduct a defragmentation, simply click the 'Defrag Registry' button, and the process will quickly complete. For the changes and rationalisation of the registry to take effect simply re-boot your computer when you're ready.
Its worth running Eusling Free Registry Defragmenter when CCleaner Registry Cleaner fixes a large number of obsolete registry entries. If the analyse procedure records more than five per cent defragmentation of the registry, run the registry defragmentation procedure.
Next time we'll take a look at more weekly housekeeping tasks to speed up your system: reducing the number of memory and processor power hogging running processes and start up programs in Microsoft Windows. Until then happier, speedier computing!