The registry is one of the fundamental components of the Windows XP operating system. It serves as a central hierarchal database repository of all Windows configuration data, related hardware, and software installed on your system. It also stores user preferences and setup information within it. In fact, there’s not a single task that can be performed on your XP system without an entry being added to or referred from the registry.
The registry hive comprises five root keys- HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKEY-CURRENT_USER, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, HKEY_USERS, and HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. Your Windows system stores all file associations, preferences and settings for the current user, and hardware, software, and operating system settings in these five root keys. Each key consists of many other subkeys and data values. If you open the registry by running the regedit.exe file, you will find a structure similar to the folder structure you see when you open Windows Explorer.
Causes of Registry Errors
Almost all registry errors are caused by an accumulation of obsolete, redundant, incorrect and invalid data in the registry. When you install and uninstall applications, run programs, or change system settings, many subkeys and values are added to the registry. Many of these keys and values are removed automatically when you uninstall an application or complete a particular activity. However, some of these stay put. Additionally, some of the values leave behind vacant spaces that lead to unwarranted growth and fragmentation of the registry. This, in turn, leads to frequent system errors, crashes, and general system slowdown.
However, not all registry errors display error messages on your system. As a matter of fact, you can say that registry problems are like slow cancers that do not become visible until your precious PC is already into its last stages. The unwanted errors keep getting stored in the registry and increase like cancer cells until a day comes when all hell breaks loose and your system is stalled. Such situations not only make you feel helpless, but you may also lose a lot of precious time and even important data.
Preventing and Fixing Registry Errors
Registry errors are troublesome; however, if you take proper care you can not only remove these errors but also prevent them. To prevent registry errors you need to be a vigilant user.
- Do not download and install applications and games from dubious Web sites.
- Do not open suspicious email attachments—they can be viruses or Trojans.
- Follow correct procedure to uninstall programs—use program uninstaller.
- Uninstall programs and applications that you do not use.
Sometimes, despite good preventive measures, some errors and unwanted entries creep into the registry. The best way to free the registry from these errors is to scan the registry for these errors and repair them. You can do it manually by using the Registry Editor. However, manual scan is quite complicated and any mistake can do more harm than help. Therefore, you can download a registry cleaner program from the Internet.
Registry cleaner programs help you automatically scan the registry for errors such as invalid file associations, shared DLLs, malicious values, and obsolete entries and help you efficiently repair them. Most of the registry cleaner programs enable you to back up a copy of registry before you proceed with the changes. Certain advanced tools also provide many other PC diagnostic and maintenance options such as Internet BHO remover, Startup programs organizer, Privacy Remover, Orphan files remover, and Registry defragmenter, help you not only maintain the health of your registry, but also keep the system files in good condition.
If you want your computer to continue to perform at the highest level, you need to carry out regular maintenance activities on it. You also need to be a vigilant user and avoid performing activities that can damage the registry and your system, leading to frequent PC errors and failures. You can keep registry errors at bay by performing regular registry scans and removing all unwanted information. You can also download a reliable registry cleaner software from the Internet to automatically perform regular registry scans and fixes.
Driver Update: Many errors are related to driver problems such as obsolete, outdated or incompatible drivers. A driver update tool is recommended to scan your system for corrupted and outdated drivers and to ensure that all your drivers stay up-to-date.