Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.


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    Chapter 15. Windows Registry

    We have already mentioned the Registry database, which you can edit, if you are brave enough. But always remember to create a restore point before you change anything in the Registry database.

    What is a Registry database?

    Registry is a database, which stores all the settings and options that are a part of Windows. There are settings for hardware, software, users and the whole computer in general. Every time we, for example, alter a setting in the control panel or in Windows Explorer, or if we install new programs, then this results in new information in Registry.

    Purely physically the database is stored in the folder C:\Windows\System32\Config. You cannot edit directly in these files, which means you need a Registry Editor".

    Main category

    Contains information about

    HKEY_CLASSES
    _ROOT

    File association, clipboard and OLE. Shortcuts and central parts of Windows' interface.

    HKEY_CURRENT
    _USER

    Settings for the user, who is logged on

    HKEY_LOCAL
    _MACHINE

    Computer specifics about installed hardware and software, etc., generally for all users.

    HKEY_USERS

    The individual settings for every single user.

    HKEY_CURRENT
    _CONFIG

    Computer-specifics about installed hardware and software, etc. for the active user.

    Figure 85. The five main categories in the Registry database, which can be seen in Regedits left window.

    The editor

    Windows' own registry editor called Regedit is built-in. (see page 55). It is divided into two windows. You can see the database's hierarchic structure in the left window:

    Windows' own registry editor doesn't give users much help apart from a search function. So there are a number of utilities you can purchase on the net, which give a much better functionality.

    Reg Organizer

    At the address www.chemtable.com you can download the Russian program Reg Organizer. It can scan the registry database itself and diverse invalid data.

    Figure 86. The function Registry Cleanup finds errors in the registry database by itself.

    The problem with this sort of tool is that the editor might find about 587 different pieces of information, which can be deleted. You can say yes to this. I have tried this with the predictable result that the computer broke completely down. Windows simply would not start-up again:

    Even though an automatic scanning for registry errors sounds attractive, it requires a lot of knowledge to be able to use the scanning.

    But if you are going to work with Registry, there is no doubt that Reg Organizer is an excellent program. It also has a lot of other smart functions. Among other things it is easy to scan hard disks for superfluous files. This is done with the function Advanced Cleanup, which can find thousands of mysterious files.

    Again the rule applies that you shouldn't believe blindly in the whole lot. The function, which, in fact, works even though you haven't paid for the program, should be used prudently. Search for the different sorts of file garbage, which you are sure you can delete.

    Figure 87. Advanced Cleanup has found lots of temporary files on the computer's hard disk. The files should be deleted.

    Several kinds of this sort of tool can be found. I can, for example, name Complete Registry Cleaner at www.abexo.com, which can among other things defragment the registry database, which will improve the computer's general output. A lot of people are also pleased with Registry Medic, which can be downloaded at the address www.iomatic.com.


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