Microsoft Windows Vista: Registry Tips

In Microsoft Vista, the registry is the central hierarchal database repository that stores all configuration information related to software, hardware, and user profiles installed and configured on your PC. Just like other Windows operating systems since Windows 95, even in Vista, no activity can be performed on your PC before making any changes to the registry. As you continue to work on your PC, a large number of obsolete, unwanted, and invalid information accumulates in the registry. This leads to uncontrolled growth, and also clutters and fragments it. Registry problems have a direct effect on your PC and may give rise to frequent system errors and freezes. In this article, we will first have a look at the basic structure of the Vista registry and then go through a few Vista registry tips to maintain a healthy and error free registry.

Vista Registry Structure

The Vista registry is quite large and complex, comprising more than 15,000 keys and over 35,000 values. The following five root keys form the basic structure of the registry.

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT (HKCR) comprises information related to file types and extensions, registered classes and URL protocol prefixes.
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU) comprises configuration and settings information related to the user currently logged on to your PC.
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM) contains all information related to hardware and software on your PC – this information is not user-specific.
  • HKEY_USERS (HKU) stores all information related to various user profiles on your PC – HKCU key extracts information for current user from this key.
  • HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG (HKCC) comprises information related to currently loaded hardware configuration settings information – this key extracts its information from the HKLM key.

Vista Registry Tips: Using Registry Cleaners

To keep your Vista registry free of errors and problems, it is very important for you to perform regular registry maintenance. Although you can do a certain amount of registry maintenance manually using the Registry Editor, it is very tedious and the chances of committing an error are high. Therefore, it is always a good idea to use a registry cleaner tool such as RegServe to get rid of these problems. Let’s take a look at some of the tasks you can perform using a good registry cleaner.

Perform regular registry scan

You need to perform regular registry scans to repair problems such as invalid DLLs, incorrect file paths, and invalid fonts. You can do this easily by using a good registry cleaner. Using a registry cleaner allows you to remove any malicious entries added to the registry by malware, such as spyware, and viruses and also by bad ActiveX controls and Java Applets. Good registry cleaners also come equipped with a scheduling option to ensure that your Vista registry is scanned periodically even if you forget to do so manually.

Make regular registry backups

The health of your registry is crucial for proper and efficient functioning of your PC. As anything and everything that you perform on your computer has to go through the registry, sometimes, you may unknowingly damage the registry. Due to this, it is a good idea to create regular registry backups, especially before you install or uninstall a software or before making major changes in the system configuration. You can do this easily by using your registry cleaner utility and selecting the backup and restore option available in it.

Defragment the registry regularly

Regular addition and deletion of information clutters the registry and fragments its files. Additionally, many times when registry entries are removed they leave behind empty spaces commonly known as registry holes. Using a reliable registry cleaner, you can defragment the registry to remove all registry holes and also to re-index registry files. Defragmenting compacts the registry size and considerably improves the data access time on your system.

The Vista registry tips discussed here are important and can help you maintain a healthy system for a long time. Registry maintenance is an important activity for all Windows systems. Performing regular scans, backups, and regularly defragmenting the registry will help you keep your Vista registry free of errors.