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What is a Windows Registry and How Do I Clean It?

Updated on August 10, 2012

What is a Windows Registry and How Do I Clean It?

The Registry in your Windows-based computer (Windows 95 through Windows Vista, Win 7, and Win 8) serves as a repository for configuration information. Any program installed on your computer can use the registry to store data.

Is your registry dirty? Does it need to be cleaned?

Yes, your registry is probably dirty. How dirty it might be is subjective. Some registry information is absolutely necessary for the correct operation of your Windows computer, some is merely helpful, and some is a pure hindrance. Depend on a reputable software vendor to provide a Registry Cleaner utility that knows the difference.

RegEdt32, a free utility from Microsoft

RegEdt32, a free utility from Microsoft
RegEdt32, a free utility from Microsoft

How does a Registry Get Dirty? Should You Clean Your Registry?

Your registry doesn't accumulate filth as your living room rug does. In general, digital dirt consists of data that is no longer related to any program installed on the computer. The smaller your registry is (within reason), the more efficiently your computer will operate. However, Don't delete everything in your registry.

How do you know it's dirty? Hmm.... run a Registry Cleaner program and let it tell you. That's the easiest way to find out.

If you just can't stand the thought of your registry being dirty, feel free to clean it. Choose a reputable registry cleaner; don't accept just any program from a stranger standing on a street corner. In a perfect world, be sure to back up all your files before running any cleaner. Registry cleaning is a sensitive process that carries the possibility of utter destruction. A corrupted or improperly cleaned registry could cause you to loose everything on your hard drive.

Can You Manually Clean Your Registry?

Yes, you can use a utility called Regedit32 to manually make changes to your registry. The program is free. Download it from the Microsoft web site if you don't already have it. Warning: you are downloading a swiss-army knife flamethrower nuclear warhead. If you are in any way uncomfortable about makeing changes to your registry, think twice about thinking twice before you proceed. You have everything to loose.


How to run, disable, and enable the use of regedit.


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    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      A spyware program or any other malicious program was written by a programmer, and any programmer can make mistakes. Generally these people are not interested in destroying a computer, but in the process of taking over your machine they may introduce a problem in the registry or even corrupt it.

    • profile image

      Opinion Duck 8 years ago


      Do malicious programs have the ability to corrupt the registry?

      Thanks for the tip on Mark Knowles

    • Eaglekiwi profile image

      Eaglekiwi 8 years ago from -Oceania

      Aha , bookmarked ,thankyou good hub .I will check it again in the morning, or its back to live chat via India ,sigh. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      jenna may 8 years ago

      Whatever do you mean I have always had the most amazing sense of Humour par excellence. Its just most don't get it hahaha String does indeed Rock, and it costs so little. I mean you can actually make many many thing from string. I am wearing a string vest at the moment, with of course modesty gear underneath as it is a tad revealing.

      I(f you have a G/friend that can knit here goes the pattern, Knit two large squares one front one for back back If you are fat which I know you are not knit a couple of big strips for the sides. around 100 stitches rin, then put over to rubber bands It is a sexy sight. String can be used as dental floss u need to divide in half and then carefully pull between the teeth.

      Make a nice flannel for bathtime out of string. Good if you are remotely masochistic. Give string as a present.

      I just bloody love string.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      String rocks! Congratulations on the newly found sense of humor!

    • profile image

      jenna may 8 years ago

      Having used a variety of products to clean my registry, including, saline solution detergent, window cleaner, I came to the realisation that my Registry was destined to always be dirty, So I finally was really rapt when a Schoolfriend gave me an idea.

      The following wrap string around a pencil and rub on the Registry.

      it will stay cleaner longer, and less mess.

      Thank you. But my way is better. String the miracle thing.


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