The registry is the heart and soul of all Windows operating systems, and this makes registry maintenance a very important PC activity. To simplify this task, a large number of registry cleaner shareware programs have been made available for download from the Internet. You can easily download one of these programs and perform registry maintenance activities on your system.
Steps to Use Registry Cleaners
Discussed here are a few general steps to download, install, and use registry cleaners on your Windows XP system.
Step 1: Download the software
On your Windows system, open the Web browser and perform a search for registry cleaners. Open the download page of the software that meets your requirements and download the software in a folder where you can easily locate it.
Step 2: Install the software
The file you download is usually an exe file and is a Windows install program. Double-click on the file to install the registry cleaner program on your system. Next, follow the instructions displayed during the installation process. You will be asked to accept the license agreement, provide the folder path to install the software, and specify the locations, such as Desktop and Quick Launch, where you want to create shortcuts. When the installation is complete, you are asked to click ‘Finish’ to close the installation window.
Step 3: Launch the Software
Most registry cleaner software programs give you an option to launch the program automatically when you finish the installation process. Otherwise, to launch the program, you will have to double-click the program icon created on the Desktop.
A good registry cleaner program, when launched for the first time, will ask you to first create a backup of the registry. If you are not prompted to do so, you must manually select the backup option of the registry cleaner software to create registry backup. Because the registry is an integral part of Windows operating systems, you must always create its backup before moving ahead with making any changes to it. Backups help you restore the registry to its original state if something goes wrong.
Step 4: Scan and Clean the Registry
The main task of any registry cleaner is to scan the registry for errors, invalid file associations, vacant spaces, invalid digital signatures and corrupt entries (by malware such as viruses, Trojans and spyware). To scan your registry for errors, select the scan option from your registry cleaner software window. After the scan is complete, the list of errors detected is displayed on the screen.
Most of the cleaners enable you to select the errors you want to fix manually. After you select the errors you want to fix, you must select the repair or clean option displayed on the screen, to go ahead with fixing registry errors.
Almost all registry cleaners available today, enable you to perform selective scanning of the registry. This means that if you want to scan the registry only for a particular type of error, for instance ActiveX errors, you can select an option to scan only these errors.
Step 5: Other Options
Based on the registry cleaner you download, you may also be able to perform some other system maintenance activities. Some of the options that you may find are Backup and Restore, Startup Organizer, Internet BHO Organizer, and Privacy Cleaner.
Backup and restore as explained earlier, enables you to make a backup of the registry and restore it to its previous state if something goes wrong while you are editing the registry.
Startup organizer enables you to manage the programs that you want to load automatically during system startup. Over a period of time, many programs start loading at system startup. Using the startup organizer, you can disable some programs from loading automatically, thereby saving system resources.
Browser Helper Object (BHO) is a program that runs automatically when you launch Internet Explorer. BHOs are used to add third-party utilities, mostly toolbar accessories to Internet Explorer. Although most of the BHOs are genuine, some of them are installed by frauds to track your Internet usage. Internet BHO Organizer helps you get rid of such fraud programs from your PC.
A large number of registry cleaners are available on the Internet today. You can download one of these software programs to scan the registry for errors and clean these errors easily and efficiently. However, before spending your hard-earned money on one of these programs, you must compare the features of different software programs, and check their reviews, ratings and rankings. Always go for the best. Performing regular system scans using a good antivirus software, and using a good registry cleaner to perform regular registry scans, can help keep a large number of your PC problems at bay.