Registry Cleanup

Almost every computer system carries the weight of unused software. New computers often ship with a bundle of crippled production packages. This cluster mess of thrills-&-bells software seldom comes out of the crate.

Following behind this batch of dealer freebies is a group of unwanted download attachments. You sought after that neat weather tool, but you failed to notice all the game software that came attached to the installation process. Now the desktop and Program menu contain a multitude of unused icons and links. The hard disk has accumulated excess junk. The system runs slower and slower.

Registry cleaning the natural way.

A clean computer is the start of a clean Registry. The following multiple step process will help you rid your system of unwanted software.

The example starts with a download. Due to the nature of this article, I located and downloaded a trial Registry cleaning software package called RegServe (http://www.regserve.com/). This is our uninstall target. The product was selected at random. Do not count this a slander against this particular software.

Do not worry that this is not specific to your system’s software arrangement. If you wish to download and install the RegServe package do so with caution. Every new software installation presents certain operating system dangers. Think before you leap.

From now on out, the word RegServe represents “your problem software’s name”.

First stop: the Windows desktop.

Begin the removal process by identifying any desktop icons that were created by the sample software (Fig. 1). Know what icons belong on your desktop. This is a safe computing habit. The icon for this particular software bares a self-revealing name. This is not always so. Some software uninstall routines are very sloppy about cleaning up lose components. The final cleanup may include hand deleting of this icon.

One more step before moving into the actual software removal process. Locate and right click on the RegServe desktop icon. Left click on the Properties option. Make a note of the full path location of the target (Fig_2). You can also use Properties as an identification method for obscurely named icons.

Getting rid of waste software: Program Menu style.

1. Left click on Start, Programs, RegServe.
2. In the menu options offered by RegServe you will see an uninstall feature. Not all software will include this feature.
3. Start the routine by left clicking on Uninstall RegServe.
4. Notate the path shown in the Uninstall startup box (Fig. 3). This path may be different from the obtained through the icons Properties menu.
5. Follow the prompts until the software had registered as uninstalled.
6. Scan down the list of deleted files (Fig. 4). Look for and make note of any entry that does not contain some form of reference to RegServe. To view any items that exceed the display box, point the mouse and wait.
7. Close the application.
8. Check the desktop icon. If it is not gone, just delete it.

Check the hard drive for lingering file droppings.

No matter what means by which a program was uninstalled, this is a standard follow-up process.

1. Open Start, Search, Files and Folders.
2. Input “Regser” into to search box. I have abbreviated the file name. This better serves the purpose. Because this program did it’s job right, there are no results in the returns box. Otherwise you would have highlighted the results field, right clicked, and deleted any file droppings. So as to illustrate droppings, the example in figure five uses a different word search.
3. Close the search box.
4. Pull out the list of files paths that you previously created.
5. Open My Computer and visually check the drives for evidence of complete software removal.

Final Registry cleanup: Regedit style.

Regedit (http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/vista/vista_registry.htm) is a system included Windows Registry editing program. This is our final step in removing and cleaning up behind unwanted software. As I have already checked, RegServe did a through cleanup of itself. There are no traces left in the Registry. I would have switched to a different sample program, but the professional nature of this program impresses me.

A previous article on this site provides a step-by-step procedure for how to use Regedit to clean out unused Registry Key and Data entries. We will not go there again. Just remember that this is a final part of using free Registry cleaners.

Control Panel, Programs and Features: What to do when the software offers no uninstall options?

Some programs do not offer an inline uninstall function. In that event, there are two uninstall options: use a third party Registry cleaner that includes a software uninstall feature; or open the free Windows Control Panel. People tend to forget that the Control Panel is a graphic Registry editor.

I have gone back and reinstalled the RegServe software. Any time you uninstall software, check first in the Program menu. If there is an inline uninstall function, use it. For now, we will treat RegServe as though no such feature exist.

1. Select Start, Settings, Control Panel.
2. Open the Programs and Features utility.
3. Locate and right click the name of the program to be removed (Fig. 6).
4. Confirm the request to uninstall. Be sure to gather the information as shown in Figure 4.
5. When finished, go back and check the hard drive for lingering and related folders and files.
6. Use Regedit to click up any lingering Registry Key and Data entries.