Registry Errors

Fixing Windows Registry errors can be simple or complicated. Registry corruptions range from irritating to malicious. Achieving a successful Registry repair may be as straightforward as the removal of a lingering and unwanted file name from the list of installed programs. On the other hand, a victorious Registry repair may be impossible, even when holding a recent Registry backup file.

Major Types of Registry Errors.

The following list identifies and defines several major types of Registry errors. Some of the list items may not hold true for every Windows operating system. Others seem somewhat contradictory to the general focus of previous points. One position holds absolute truth: to make a safe and accurate correction of Windows Registry errors the user should have some knowledge of the following issues:

1. Accumulated but Unused Keys and Values: As a source of Registry errors, the danger of unused keys and values is a disputable belief. Many computer professionals feel that modern operating systems do not require Registry cleaning. Windows Vista and Windows 7 clean and optimize themselves. But Windows XP is not a dead product, not is Windows 2000.
2. Registry Holes: Though lingering entries are argued as non-dangerous, it appears that empty Registry Keys are considered fragmental and volatile, resulting in drastic system slowdowns. If we were talking about pistols this would be like claiming that blanks are dangerous but unused bullets are not.
3. Inappropriate Computer Shutdowns: The Registry presides in system memory (not completely true for Vista and Windows 7). During a successful system shutdown, any changes to this memory get written to hard disk. Interrupted shutdowns or instantaneous system power downs prevent a proper Registry write out. The results can be devastating.
4. Stray or Redundant Keys and Values: Obsolete entries, redundant data, invalid DLL shares, and incorrect file associations create uncontrolled Registry growth. This contradicts the argument that lingering values do not affect system performance. Overweight is overweight. Big and cluttered computer files have always been a center for confusion.
5. Malicious Entries: They come from malware, Viruses, Trojans, and spyware. These are the most dangerous Registry threats.

Registry Errors and Solutions: Zooming In.

By default, Microsoft Windows includes “regedit.exe” as a means of direct Registry error repair. To execute this program, left click Start, Run, and then type “regedit” into the input box. Confirm the action by left clicking on the “OK” button.

But hold off for a moment. Look first at some other methods.

How to Remove Unused Registry Keys and How to Close Registry Holes.

Hand removal of unused and empty Registry keys can be slow and risky. You can use “regedit” to browse the Registry tree, search out problems key-by-key and value-by-value, and perform the most effect Registry cleaning available. If you have studied up, tried a few test runs, and proceed with care hand Registry editing is not too unsafe. Yet the risk is there. Deleting the wrong entry can result in a major system failure. So think about it. If lingering Key Values make no major impression on system performance, what is the point of hand working this task?

The repair of unused or empty Registry keys is the type of fix that serves best to be left to Registry cleaning software. Even if they stack the front end of the scan so as to create a loaded error report, most of these tools will address parts of this issue. This is the quick and simple solution. Any missed entries will not be a major concern.

Still want to do it by hand?

Using a demo version of the ACDsee photo editing software package, I set up the following example:

· Installed ACDsee.
· Uninstalled ACDsee.
· Confirmed that folders and files that pertain to ACDsee have been removed from the system (Fig. 1).
· Bring up the Registry editor: Start, Run, type “regedit” into the prompt box (Fig. 2).
· Use File, Export to create a Registry backup.
· Locate and open H_KEY_CURRENT_USER. Warning: stay clear of H_KEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
· Under CURRENT_USER, locate and open the “Software” folder.
· Locate and open the “ACD Systems” folder.
· Browsing within the folder reveals many unused Keys and Values (Fig. 3). Four different Registry cleanings software tools missed this.
· Browsing also reveals Registry holes (Fig. 4).
· Delete the entries by Right Clicking on the “ACD Systems” folder (Fig. 5).
· Close H_KEY_CURRENT_USER and then expand H_KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
· Repeat the same cleanup procedure.
· Use the Edit, Find menus to search for any remaining instances of “ACD”. Set the search to look under Keys, Values, and Data (Fig. 6).
· Cautiously remove any lingering ACDsee items, taking care to be certain before deleteing.
· Close shop and reboot the system.

How to Remove Invalid File Names for the Installed Programs List.

You open the Control Panel, left click on Programs and Features, and the list displays the name of a file that is attached to nothing useable but it cannot be uninstalled or removed. This is one of those areas where Registry Cleaning software shines. Most all of these packages now include Control Panel tools.

Look for a feature that is identified as a Software Uninstaller. When opened, it will bring up a listing that looks somewhat like the familiar Windows Programs and Features list, only with a few extra options (Fig. 7). This kind of Registry Cleaning software feature provides for an easy Click, Click, and Gone for an Invalid File Name.

Use Regedit to rid yourself of any lingering Registry components of the file.