The Registry: What Is It?

Dennis Faas's picture

One of the scariest parts of Windows is the Windows Registry. You can reduce your Windows computer to a inefficient low wattage heater with a single keystroke if you start playing around in it. This thing is the one area that MUST be approached with care.

No, I'm not kidding!

The registry is important for the smooth and efficient operation of the computer. It tells Windows where, how, what, and when to run. It's cryptic and complicated. And the smallest thing can cause problems so don't mess with it without knowing what you're doing.

But, sometimes you have to. If you don't fix registry problems when they arise or try and prevent them from even happening at all (which is impossible to do), then you may soon find yourself faced with sudden system crashes, stalls, or severe degradation in operating speed. Working to fix registry issues and to prevent system crashes should be a top priority whether you use your computer for business or pleasure, and you'll have a greatly enhanced computing experience by doing so.

Fortunately, there is a safe way to handle the beast. Reg Clean is actually a freeware utility from Microsoft that helps to repair a number of registry problems that are somewhat common to Microsoft products. While Reg Clean isn't nearly as thorough or useful as some proprietary solutions such as Registry Mechanic, it does serve the needs of millions of low-risk users.

Registry Mechanic goes further down the road than Reg Clean, and is intended for the more adventuresome users. I suggest getting both. Reg Clean for day-to-day use and Mechanic for really heavy duty use.

If, like the elephant child, you have a bad case of 'satiable curiosity', go to Winguides for a good start (hint: Winguides is the same company who develops Registry Mechanic). You will find a number of tools there but be careful; you will not need most of them for a while. Just get Registry Mechanic and read to your hearts content, because this is THE place for information. When you get to the site, you'll see some downloads listed first. Skip over these for now. Below the software listings are the information icons. These Guides and Forums cover just about everything you ever wanted to know about Windows, and maybe a lot you do not. When you get through all that 'stuff', you will be knowledgeable about Windows. So treat yourself to a few hours of learning and surprise your friends, you'll be glad you did.

As always, HAVE FUN!

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