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Best way to clean registry?


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#1
garaden

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My registry is doubtlessly cluttered, but so far I only see three rather unsavory options for cleaning it:

1. Shell out $30 for a 1-year license for professional and well-reviewed cleaning software.

2. Use disreputable freeware instead.

3. Removed by Administration, as it is against our TOS.

4. Cleaning it by hand.

Option 1 seems to be the best, since both 2 and 3 involve running arbitrary code on my system (usually something people try to avoid), again, removed. And 4 would take me several millenia, without taking into account me crippling the system eight times before I'm through. I'd really like to avoid having to pay that much for a one-time use, though. Besides, technically, nothing is broken, but my laptop is a good deal sluggish. Suggestions?
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#2
Kat

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Hello. First of all, I edited part of your posts. You'll find my edits in red. We don't allow any discussion of what you had posted here on GeeksToGo. Thanks for your cooperation in that matter. :)

I'm going to quote you something Sari (one of our GeekU teachers) said recently on this matter, as she sums it up perfectly:

In general, we do not condone the use of registry cleaners. They can be extremely dangerous, especially in the hands of someone who doesn't know what they're doing. Deleting the wrong entries can render a PC unusable, and none of us want to be in the position of helping a user recover from that. There is also no evidence that cleaning out the registry has any effect on the overall speed of a PC. It will speed up searches within the registry, but that has no effect on performance.

I'm going to offer some links to additional reading about this topic.

Miekiemoes, who is an expert here and many other places, has an excellent blog here.

This is an excellent summary at WTT. The entire thread is worth reading (it was started in 2005, but is still relevant), but that post is especially worthwhile.

If you have any questions or comments about this subject, please don't hesitate to post them here.



You will find this is the general consensus amongst almost all of the Staff and Experts here at GeeksToGo. If you do choose to use some type of Registry Cleaner, I strongly urge you to back up your entire registry before beginning, and proceed with caution.
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#3
Major Payne

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Even Microsoft has pulled support and has been removed from all Microsoft download sites for the RegClean utility once recommended. Microsoft Office XP and Microsoft Office 2000 users should read this before using.

Even PC World provides a note about this one utility which should be taken as a warning instead for all Registry Cleaners:

Note: Although this program still works, it is no longer supported by Microsoft.


Ron

Edited by Major Payne, 03 June 2008 - 11:34 AM.

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#4
1101doc

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Registry "Cleaners" actually provide no real benefit to the user.
Windows easily 'skips over' any orphaned or invalid Registry entries in nanoseconds.
In some rare cases where a system has been extensively used for tons of installs and un-installs, removing invalid Registry enteies may free up a very small amount of disc space, but even that will hardly be noticed by the ordinary user.

I have never read a post in which the user said that such a "Cleaner' corrected any problem. If the issue is with an improper Registry entry, the only solution to the problem is to edit the entry to reflect the correct values. I have read many (many) posts in which the user said that the problem began after running a Registy "Cleaner."

In one interview a Microsoft MVP stated that he had been running XP since it was first released and had never "cleaned" his Registry. His system had never had any problems. Read this thread in which Bill Castner (a name we should all know) quotes Mark Russinovich (head of Sysinternals and creator of Process Explorer, Autoruns, and many other excellent utilities for Windows): http://www.windowsbb...ead.php?t=61015

Here's what Ed Bott has to say: http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=643

So~ Bottom line: Not Recommended! by people who know Windows best.
What should be done about every users Registy? Back it up!

Erunt is the best choice here: http://www.larsheder...nline.de/erunt/

This free utility makes a complete backup of the Registy which can be restored using the .exe contained within the backup folder. If allowed to make a backup automatically at boot, it will create a directory of the last 30 days from which you can select. Upon discovering 'goofyness' all it takes to "Go Back" to the day of your choosing is to open that date's folder, double click the ERDNT.exe file, wait 30 seconds for it to work, and reboot.

Upon rebooting you will discover that your system is just like it was the day the backup was made.
Painless, and in my opinion, better than System Restore. I won't boot without it.

Making a manual backup before a 'tricky' install allows complete un-install with a reboot, and a backup of a "clean" system can be used to eliminate the effects of malware as well. I hope you get it today and put it to work protecting your Registy. Here's a Tutorial(easy): http://www.larsheder...erunt/erunt.txt

As far as "Cleaners" go: Fageddaboutit! :)
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#5
wizzy2k5

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In general, we do not condone the use of registry cleaners. They can be extremely dangerous, especially in the hands of someone who doesn't know what they're doing. Deleting the wrong entries can render a PC unusable, and none of us want to be in the position of helping a user recover from that. There is also no evidence that cleaning out the registry has any effect on the overall speed of a PC. It will speed up searches within the registry, but that has no effect on performance.

I'm going to offer some links to additional reading about this topic.

Miekiemoes, who is an expert here and many other places, has an excellent blog here.

This is an excellent summary at WTT. The entire thread is worth reading (it was started in 2005, but is still relevant), but that post is especially worthwhile.

If you have any questions or comments about this subject, please don't hesitate to post them here.



I agree with sari as I have seen what this can do and I would not reccomend anyone to clean the registry and as sari mentioned it can be extremely dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. The example I saw of this was when my-self and someone else was working on a laptop and the user went into his registry and the keyboard stopped working, the touchpad was unusable, I couldn't attach a external keyboard/mouse also their cd/dvd writer was useless and in the end we needed to format his laptop hard drive on another machine to fineally get somewhere so please listen to what Kat, sari Major Payne and 1101doc have just said :)

Regards

Edited by wizzy2k5, 03 June 2008 - 07:11 PM.

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#6
garaden

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Wow: thank you for the enthusiastic responses! I was not aware that invalid entries actually don't do anything but take up negligible disk space. Yeah, definitely not worth the risk. I guess this is a classic example of Windows Rule #1: if it works okay now and trying to fix it would brick your box, LEAVE IT ALONE!

That said, now that that lead's dried out I'm still having performance issues. Ja, it's still a laptop, but surely my specs aren't that bad. The only thing that doesn't meet the requirements for Battlefield 2 is my Nvidia GeForce 5200 (you can stop laughing now, I did say it was a laptop :P ).

I followed the tweaks for controlling my system startup. Services all look good too, though I haven't checked them out thoroughly. Still getting a weird error message about ctfmon.exe on limited user accounts though... sounds like a job for Rule #1, but messing with all this stuff should all be reversible as long as I don't accidentally shut off the Internet or something.

Maybe this counts as off-topic or trivial or both, but I'd like to get this thing running smoothly again in spite of many years of use. I'm trying to get it to the point of the Dell desktop we have. Admittedly, it doesn't have as much stuff installed on it (plus another 512 megs of RAM), but that shouldn't matter as long as the programs are all lying dormant in magnetic storage. After checking for malware, removing unnecessary startup programs from the list and establishing that messing with the registry is a really bad idea, what's my next performance optimization step?
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#7
cmpm

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Well it's a shame that microsoft can't maintain it's own operating system.

I mean just look at all the sites like this and tons of software just to keep the darn thing running right.

And the same goes for software that can't clean up after itself.

Personally I run reg cleaners and a few other cleaning tactics.
Although my care plan does yields results.
They are minor improvements compared to the many fixes here at gtg.
When faced with critical problems.

The repair install for XP isn't as good as reinstalling win 98 over the top of win 98, when it was the main OS. Never lost any data, just had to run the updates again.

Don't get me wrong, I think XP far out performs 98.
But some things just didn't carry over that were good fixes.
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#8
1101doc

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Stop that pesky ctfmon.

To stop ctfmon from autostarting and running all the time:
Control Panel>Regional and Language Options>Languages>Details>Advanced,
and check the box that says "Turn off advanced text services."

Beyond that, open the System applet of the Control Panel.
Find the "Advanced" tab and press the "Settings" button under Performance. Mark the radio button for "Adjust for best performance." and then Apply. OK.

Your OS interface will look alot like '98, but you will not be using resources on "eye candy."
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#9
garaden

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Actually, I followed Microsoft's guide to removing it and succeeded in preventing it from running. Bizarrely, the problem seems to stem from ctfmon.exe not running. I'm thinking about temporarily making the limited accounts administrator to see if the problem persists and to check their startups without restriction, but I haven't run the tests yet. Anyone have any ideas as to why some application is requesting to use ctfmon?
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#10
Major Payne

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It may be because it's require by Microsoft Office XP programs and runs each time you open one up.

From Micro$oft:

Can I Remove the Ctfmon.exe File?
Removing the Ctfmon.exe might cause problematic behavior in your Office XP programs, so removing it is not recommended.

Why Will Ctfmon.exe Not Go Away When I Remove It from MSConfig?
Removing Ctfmon.exe from MSConfig does not disable Ctfmon.exe.


Source: Frequently asked questions about Ctfmon.exe

Ron

Edited by Major Payne, 09 June 2008 - 01:59 PM.

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