Although the registry is an integral part of a Windows XP system, the operating system does not come equipped with a simple to use built-in registry cleanup tool. Over time, the system registry grows due to the accumulation of unwanted and invalid entries leading to uncontrolled registry growth that makes the system unstable. This, in turn, increases the frequency of system errors and crashes.
But don’t lose hope! There are certain techniques and methods that you can use to fix the registry and return it to a healthy state. In this article, we will discuss certain manual methods and software programs that you can use to perform registry cleanup and repair.
Uninstall Unwanted Programs
All programs that you install on your system add entries to the registry, thereby increasing its size. Moreover, these programs occupy certain amounts of disk space where they store their files. Therefore, the first step that you must take to improve your system performance is to uninstall the programs you no longer use. Doing this will not only help in reducing registry size, but also free up a good amount of disk space.
To remove programs from your system, open ‘Control Panel’ and select ‘Add or Remove Programs’. Use the Add or Remove Programs window to browse through the list of programs installed on your system, and uninstall all programs that you don’t use any longer.
Uninstalling programs will remove all files associated with the application you uninstall and remove the registry entries that were added when you installed the application.
Remove Orphan Files and Entries
Although uninstalling unwanted programs will considerably free up disk space and reduce the registry size, this is not a fool proof method to solve your problems. The uninstall programs method does not perform a complete cleanup. Certain junk or orphans files are left behind on the disk and the registry, respectively. Until you free your system from these files and registry entries, your cleanup mission isn’t complete.
You can remove these files manually or by using a registry cleanup program. To manually remove system files, first navigate to C:\Program Files\application_folder. Application_folder is the folder of the application you uninstalled. If this folder still exists, delete it. Sometimes, you might get an error message that deleting a particular application folder will affect the registry. Even if the message does not appear, it is always a good idea to check the registry for orphan entries.
You can perform manual registry cleanup using ‘Registry Editor’. To open the ‘Registry Editor’ window, run the ‘regedit.exe’ file. Before deleting the entries from the registry, remember to create a registry backup. For this, in the ‘Registry Editor’ window, select ‘Export’ from the ‘File’ menu. This displays the ‘Export Registry File’ dialog box. Here, select the location where you want to save the backup, enter a name in the ‘Save in’ file and select ‘All’ option in the ‘Export Range’ section. Finally, select ‘Save’ to create the backup. Next, search for application_name.exe file and delete any entries that you find in this name.
Manual system and registry cleanup is a tedious process and requires you to be vigilant. If you delete any important file or registry entry, it might render an application or even the complete system useless. To prevent such a situation, you can always choose to download a reliable registry cleaner tool from the Internet. A good registry cleaner tool automates the process of scanning the registry and even the system for orphan files. All results of the scan are usually displayed in a separate window. You can go through the listed errors, choose the entries and files you want to delete and easily perform system and registry cleanup.
Registry cleaner tools also offer easy registry backup and restore features that help you maintain regular backups of your registry. In case the registry fails, you can restore it to the last known good configuration by using the most current backup file. Registry cleaners also enable you to defragment the registry and remove unwanted Internet BHO files.
When you frequently install and uninstall files from your system, a large number orphan system files and registry entries creep in. To free your system from this junk, you must perform system and registry cleanups. You can use both manual and software-based methods to perform cleanups. Manual methods require that you be very careful, and this cleanup process is also a bit tedious. Therefore, downloading a registry cleaner program to perform the cleanup activities can take a lot of tension off your shoulders and provide you with excellent results.