Archive for March, 2012

How to Fix a Corrupt Registry

Many errors and problems on a Windows computer can be traced directly back to the registry. While some are only minor annoyances, others can be quite significant. If these problems are not addressed in a timely manner, you can lose the functionality of Windows entirely once the operating system become unusable.

Such occurrences are signs that let you know your registry is terribly damaged or corrupt and needs to be repaired immediately. The purpose is this guide is to provide you with step by step instructions on how to repair the Windows registry.

Fix the Registry with System Restore

We will start with a method that only has a moderate degree of difficulty. System Restore is a Windows function that regularly makes snapshot backups of your configuration settings, operating system files, and yes, even the registry itself. This tool can really come in handy because if your PC crashes, you can restore it to a state where it was working fine by selecting a given snapshot taken before all the problems.

Since System Restore makes backups on a daily basis, particularly before major system configuration adjustments are made, System Restore is certainly worth a shot at repairing the registry.

To use this feature, simply follow the steps below:

  1.  Open the “Start” menu, select “All Programs”, navigate to “Accessories”, then “Tools” and choose “System Restore.”
  2.  On the “Welcome to System Restore” page, select “Restore my computer to an earlier time” and then click on the “Next” tab.
  3.  Next, choose the date on the calendar you want to restore the system to, ensuring that it is a time when the computer was under normal working conditions. After making your selection, click “Next.”
  4.  Verify your choice on the “Confirm Restore Point Selection” page and click the “Next” tab to initiate the restoration process.

Once you have completed the steps above, System Restore will revert the registry, system files, and configuration back to the time of your choosing.

Fix the Registry with Recovery Console

Unfortunately, your registry may be damaged to a point where you cannot access the System Restore feature on the operating system itself. When this is the case, you have to result to other measures, and one of them involves isolating the registry files and replacing the system settings responsible for all the trouble.

The best tool for this task is the Recovery Console, a built-in Windows utility that allows you to fix various problems related to your hard drive.

To access and use the Recovery Console, follow the steps below:

  1.  Insert your Windows installation CD and restart your computer. It is important to make sure your system is configured to read the CD before it attempts to load the default Windows installation.
  2.  When the system reboots and reaches the “Welcome to Windows” screen, press the “R” button on your keyboard to access the Recovery Console.
  3.  On the next screen, you will be prompted to enter an administrator password. If no password was ever assigned, simply press enter and you will be taken directly to the Recovery Console.

The Recovery Console is a command line-based utility that looks quite similar to MS DOS. There are no icons or other options found in the standard Windows environment, so you must enter commands in order to perform actions.

To begin repairing the registry, enter the following commands and press enter after each line:

md tmp
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak

delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
delete c:\windows\system32\config\default

copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

After entering these demands, exit the Recovery Console and restart your PC. From here, you want to log into Safe Mode as more adjustments must be made to the registry.

From Safe Mode, you can access critical system files in the “C:\System Volume Information” folder. Within this folder, you will find subfolders that represent restore points. You can repair your registry by copying files from the archived restore points and pasting them over the damaged files, which can be found in the “C:\Windows\System32\Config” folder. From here, save the changes and restart Windows in normal mode. You should now be able to run your computer without all the registry errors and problems that prevented it from working properly.

Use a Registry Cleaner

As you can see, the steps above require you to get hands on in order to repair your computer. While these steps can be performed when following careful instructions, some users just do not feel comfortable tampering with such sensitive areas of a computer system.

The simple solution would be to use a registry cleaner. These programs have the ability to scan the Windows registry and automatically repair any problems that are detected. With a reliable tool, you can optimize your PC and ensure its health for a long time to come.

How to Fix Windows Errors Using a Registry Cleaner

Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world, renowned for its power and user-friendly features. Though it is relatively easy to use, there is a lot going on behind the scenes and many complexities that lie beneath the surface.

Every time you run your computer, several entries are being placed to an important part of the system known as the registry. Over time, significant changes are made to this area and even if you are someone who practices safe computing and tries to maintain a healthy PC, unwanted entries are bound to be left behind.

This is especially true if you have added on or deleted any software applications. Once these entries accumulate, your system might start to experience performance problems and become terribly unstable before too long. Registry cleaners exist to remove these insignificant entries, eliminate Windows errors and restore the natural performance of your computer. Despite their intent, the results you get depend on a number of factors.

How Registry Cleaners Work

The basic operation of a registry cleaner is to scan your entire operating system and remove keys and values you no longer need. View it as a personal assistant that tunes up your PC every now and then to make sure it continuously runs efficiently. Instead of having a computer mechanic at your disposal, you have a software tool that can perform the entire tuneup in anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.

Most of these applications work in a click-and-point manner that allows you to utilize the mouse to input several option, sit back and wait for cleaning process to be completed. Although they all strive to deliver the same results for the most part, not all registry cleaners are created equal.

Registry cleaners are essentially available in two forms: basic and advanced tools. As you have probably gathered, many of the advanced products offer more sophistication and are geared towards the technically inclined user. For example, this type of program generally allows you to pick and choose the entries you want to delete after the scan has been conducted.

If you are not sure of the results, you could end up deleting files or folders that are critical to the operation of your computer. This is why it is highly recommended to perform of a backup of your registry before any manual or automated edits. If you do not believe you can accurately identify the items that need to be removed, it would best to choose a more user-friendly registry cleaner that does all the work for you.

The disadvantages an advanced registry cleaner offers to the novice is a major plus for the seasoned computer user. By giving you the option to control what entries are deleted from the system, you can better assure that important items mistakenly detected by the scanner will not end up hurting your computer. This sort of functionality is ideal for users who have customized settings on their operating system and do not want to run the risk of utilizing a more basic tool.

Regardless of your experience level, it is remains important to backup your registry even when relying on an advanced product. This will allow you to restore the system should any problems occur.

What to Look for in a Registry Cleaner

The features you want to keep in mind for a registry cleaner all boil down to your specific preference and needs. With that said, one of the most important factors that must be considered is the quality of the product and the reputation of the company who developed it. This is critical because you don’t want to install any software that could end damaging your system and stirring up even more trouble.

You can learn more about the available registry cleaners by performing an online search to gather feedback from customers and expert opinions. There are a number of review sites that can point you in the right direction and also provide insight in which products you might want to stay away from.

As far as the features are concerned, there are a lot of advanced options you can do without, but one you definitely want to consider is a backup and restore function. We noted earlier the importance of backing up the registry before making any changes and having the ability to completely restore it is equally essential. In the end, the right tool is one that works best for your needs and removes Windows errors from the registry with you doing as little as possible.

The Risks You Take in Using a Registry Cleaner

Windows computer users are increasingly looking for ways to maintain the health and enhance the performance of their systems. If this sounds like you, then you should be aware that the registry is a critical area that has a huge impact on the aforementioned factors.

Thanks to advancements in computer software technology, meeting these goals is no longer the challenge it used to be. Today, registry cleaners are widely available to Windows user just like you. These tools offer the promise of being able to automatically detect and repair items that are resulting in your performance issues. This all sounds good on the surface but what are the risks involved?

Is it Really Safe to Use a Registry Cleaner?

In recent times, there has been much debate about the overall efficiency and dangers involved in using a registry cleaner. While some are in favor of these programs, others attest that they actually do more harm than good. The truth is that some applications are totally safe to use and others pose a significant threat to the data on your computer. The key is knowing how to choose a product and find one that presents as few risks as possible.

Outdated Registry Cleaners

Some of the outdated registry cleaners on the market can indeed damage your computer system. This is because they are not actively maintained and may no longer be compatible with your PC, especially if you frequently receive the recommended Windows updates. Outdated products are typically free software tools that are not backed by a development team or support staff. Although some are efficient, most free registry cleaners are tools you should use at your own risk.

Registry Cleaners with No Backup and Restore Feature

The Windows registry is so important because it essentially controls your entire computer system. Despite the implementation of advanced technology, some cleaning tools simply cannot adequately deal with all the possible errors that might show up in the Windows database. Therefore, there is always the chance that problems might occur after running such a tool on your system.

While this is rare, it can happen, especially when relying on a freeware product. To elude potential problems, we strongly recommend only using registry cleaners equipped with a backup and restore option. In fact, you should backup this area before doing any editing, whether these adjustments are made with an automated solution or manually.

There is simply too much at stake here to risk losing everything on your computer. A quality register cleaner will give you a peace of mind by providing a feature that allows you to easily backup and restore the Windows registry.

Rogue Registry Cleaners

Perhaps the biggest risk you take is downloading and installing something that isn’t a cleaning tool at all, but something far more sinister. What appears to be a helpful application could be a dangerous program in disguise.

Cyberspace is infested with malware and their malicious codes are often bundled in software products that are seemingly harmless. So what is the big risk? Why should you be concerned? Because catching an infection could leave your PC with issues that stem far beyond performance problems.

Viruses, spyware and Trojan horses are just a few members of the malware family, resulting in problems that range from subtle annoyances to major catastrophes. If a virus slithers into your system, it could modify a small number of files or delete the entire contents of your hard drive. At the very least, it will propagate and spread the infection to your friends and associates.

Spyware could make your system run incredibly sluggish and considering that is has the ability to spy on your computing activities, it poses a direct threat to the confidential information residing on your computer. A Trojan could install even more malicious items on your computer and open up a backdoor that enables a hacker to gain complete control of your system. All of these nasty critters will leave your registry cluttered with unwanted entries.

Choose Your Registry Cleaner Wisely

When it comes down to it, the risks you run all depends on the registry cleaner you select. These risks can be drastically reduced by choosing a reliable product. The best tools are up to date, come included with options that allow you to backup and restore your system, and most importantly, free of malicious code. Keep all of this important information in mind as these tips alone can go a long way in helping you find a safe and reliable registry cleaner to tune up your PC.