What Is The Windows Registry?

The Windows registry is a database which stores settings and options for the operating system for Microsoft Windows 32-bit versions, 64-bit versions and Windows Mobile.

It contains information and settings for all the hardware, software, users, and preferences of the PC. Whenever a user makes changes to "Control Panel" settings, or file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the registry.

The registry is actually a big file where a lot of setting can be stored.

This file has been around quite a while and has had different names.

The first windows version that used the windows registry to store settings was windows 3.11 and the registry in that version of windows was called Reg.dat.

In Windows 95 & 98 the registry files are named User.dat and System.dat and are stored in the \Windows\ directory.

Windows ME called the registry files, Classes.dat, User.dat, and System.dat and stored them in the \Windows\ directory.

Finally the newest versions of windows like, Windows NT, 2000, 2003, & XP stores the registry files like this,

The Registry files are stored in %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\:

• Sam
• Security
• Software
• System
• Default
• Userdiff
• NTUSER.dat
• The NTUSER.dat file is stored in the profile folder.

The Windows Registry was introduced to tidy up the old way of storing text entries in INI files. These entries had previously been used to store configuration settings for Windows programs.
The ini files where stored in a lot of different directories and many programs used their own ini file for some or all of their settings. This way of using ini files all over the system, made them difficult to keep track of and handle in an easy and logical way.

What’s Good with the Registry

Changing from having one or more INI Files per program to one centralised registry has some obvious and some not so obvious benefits:

• The registry keeps machine configuration separate from user configuration. When a user logs into a Windows NT/XP/2003 computer, their registry settings are merged with the system wide settings. This allows programs to more easily keep per-user configuration, as they can just work with the 'current user' key, whereas in the past they tended to just keep system-wide per-program settings. There are always some system wide settings that are common for all users though.

• Group Policy allows administrators on a Windows-based computer network to centrally manage program and policy settings. This is not used in a home environment, only in corporations with a dedicated logon server.

• Because the registry is accessed through a special API it is available to scripts and remote management using WMI. Each script does not have to be customised for every application's unique configuration file layouts and restrictions.

• The registry can be accessed as one item over a network connection for remote management/support, including from scripts, using the standard API.

• It can be backed up more easily, in that it is just a small number of files in specific locations.

Bad things with the Registry

Not all that shines is gold. The Registry introduces some problems as well:

• It is a single point of failure - damage to the Registry can render a Windows system unbootable, in extreme cases to a point that can not be fixed, and requires a full reinstall of Windows. This is why it is so important to use registry scan and repair utilities, while the registry still can be repaired.

• Any program which wants to manipulate the registry must use special Windows API functions whereas a configuration file can be manipulated using normal text file-processing techniques.

• Configuration files can contain comments to help the user by explaining what values are for and how they can be changed, the registry cannot. And the registry use something called guids in a large scale. Long strange unique numbers that is completely meaningless to humans. Making handling much harder.

• It is more difficult to backup - it cannot be done 'live' because it is always in use, and thus requires special software such as ntbackup.

• Restoring parts of the registry is hard because you cannot easily extract data from backed up registry files

• Any application that doesn't uninstall properly, or doesn't have an uninstaller, can leave entries in the registry, which can lead over time to increased file size and decreased performance. And once again, here’s the major reason why you must use a registry scan/clean and repair software.

The registry will be redone once more with the release of the new Vista Operating System from Microsoft.


Windows Registry - Safe Ways To Speed Your Computer

When Windows first started out, programs stored pretty much everything they needed in the same folder as the program. The files were simple text files, called "ini" files. They contained all sorts of information, from the last files you opened to color choices and much more. The big advantage of this was that when you changed computers you could usually get away with copying a program's folder across to the new machine and the program would still run. And if you ran into problems with a program, you could almost always solve them by checking the contents of their ini file.

Then came the Windows Registry.

It was supposed to make life simpler. One central repository to store everything vital about your computer. Everything you ever need to know about your machine is stored there - software, hardware, applications, settings, hardware drivers, helper files, where that window was when you last opened it and whether it should open there again.

This means that the Registry is good in theory.

In practice, it's not always as easy. Much the same as mending your car used to be simple, now it takes more computing power than it did to land on the moon.

Entries get stored there but not removed when they are no longer needed.

Because it's near enough incomprehensible to real people, nasty programs can hide details in the Registry. Programs like viruses, adware and spyware. Not to mention keystroke loggers and other nasties.

When the registry gets too full with stuff it doesn't need, your computer starts to slow down with all the extra (unnecessary) workload. Booting up takes longer. Launching simple programs gives you enough time to brew a fresh coffee. Closing down your PC is just as bad.

The most radical way to sort this out is to completely re-install everything on your computer from scratch. But assuming you live in the real world or have nothing better to do for the next couple days, this likely isn't a viable option.

Next up, if you're brave, is by using the Regedit software that comes with Windows. Unless you're manually removing something that you installed when you wrote a program, this really isn't recommended. Type in or delete the wrong thing and your computer could become more unstable. Sure, try it on a machine belonging to an enemy (when they're not looking, of course) or a computer you no longer use. But messing with the registry by hand on your regular computer is not something to be undertaken lightly, if at all.

Far and away the best way of cleaning up your registry and speeding up your computer is to use software specifically designed for the purpose. There are plenty of programs around and your choice is likely to be dictated by the one you come across first - near enough all modern registry cleaner programs work efficiently and will get your computer back up to its full speed quickly and without any of the worries associated with tackling registry entries manually.


Windows Cleaner: Protect Your Online And Offline Privacy

It is prudent to install a window cleaner on your computer to protect your privacy against large-scale personal identity theft threats prevalent these days.

If you do not want anyone to invade your privacy on your personal computer, installing Window cleaner is certainly the way to go. Let me explain to you a brief overview of why you need to install the windows cleaner and how does it help you protect your online and offline privacy.

Why Is The Need To Install Window Cleaner

All your activities on your computer are tracked by your operating system in various places. These places include document histories, cookies, temporary Internet files, etc. While you work offline or surf the Internet, all your activities are stored in the form of various files in these folders. Windows cleaner makes sure that all such information is removed when you shut down your computer system. Thus, it maintains your privacy. Other users on the same computer do not get to know about your online or offline activities.

Is This Just All About Maintaining Privacy?

No, it is not like that. Windows does not only maintain your online and offline privacy by deleting the various history folders, but it also keeps your computer free from garbage files that are stored in your computer system while you browse Internet. These garbage files include various application files and temporary files. A huge log of such files may cause certain problems for your computer. For example, it may slow down the processing speed of your computer, or sometimes it may intercept in the running of some software applications. Sometimes, it may also cause your computer hang. Therefore, it is not just all about maintaining your online or offline privacy, but by installing and running a free Window cleaner, you ensure a safe and soothing working experience on your computer system.

Can The Windows Cleaner Be Customized?

Yes, it is not like that the windows cleaner will always automatically erase all the history and junk folders. It will do so only if you have adjusted such a setting in its options menu. You can easily customize the same as per your requirement. It allows you to erase browser cache, cookies, history, visited URLs, typed URLs, auto-complete data, index.dat, temp folders, run history, search history, open/save history, recent documents and more. At the same time, it also allows you to specify cookies to keep, so that you do not erase your important login cookies.

Overall, if you want to keep your online and offline privacy on, and want your computer to be free from all the unwanted junk and garbage files, installing Windows cleaner is certainly the way to go.

Deleting Browsing traces from windows

Whenever you search the internet, and view files on your computer your operating system is taking note of these operations, and stores them for later. This can be a useful tool for re-tracing your footsteps; but what happens when you don’t want other people to be able to find out where you’ve been.

This may seem a bit technical but it’s really quite simple and useful:

Removing Traces from Windows
 - Click "My Computer" on your desktop (Or open up "Windows Explorer"
 - Navigate by double click to: "C Drive" - > "Documents and Settings"
- Next you need to go to double click on whatever username you are logged in as.
- Often times by default folders will be hidden in here. Let's:
- Go to "Tools" - > "Folder Options..." in the menu bar
- Select the "View" tab
- In the scrollbox select the radio button by "Show hidden files and folders"
- Press "Apply" and then "Ok"
- Double click on "My Recent Documents" and delete everything inside of this folder.
- Next go back a folder and double click on "Local Settings"
- In this folder will be all of the cache and history files that we should have delete in the Internet Explorer instructions above. Let's double check.
- Delete everything from inside of the "History", "Temp" and "Temporary Internet Files".
- Done!

*Note
Use at your own risk - These steps are to be used as a guide, and have been proved effective under normal scenarios. Paul Ryan is not responsible for any malfunction or any other problems that occur from this tutorial. They have been tested and work, but in case something goes funny with your current configuration, he is not liable.
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You may copy this article to use on your ezine provided that all links and biography information is left in tact.

How To Tweak Your Windows Startup Procedure

The word Tweaking simply means to fine tune.You want to fine tune your computer so that it will boot up faster.Tweaking your computer so that it will run at peek performance will cause you to enjoy your computer like you never imaged.

There are procedures you can perform that will speed up the operating system boot-up.When tweaking your startup process,take care not to allow your computer to boot up too fast.Too fast booting will cause your PC to miss valuable data and not check all peripherals it needs to allow the computer to run at its best.

Speeding up your booting process will reduce the waiting time you can use the computer.Here are some procedures you can perform that will help speed up your PC startup.Be sure to backup your hard drive in case you should make an error.Take your time and perform these tasks at your own risk.

Take notes of everything you do.Backup your BIOS with such utilities as Cmos14.zip.This file is just 5,569kbs zipped and You can download a copy from our site at the url www.ultimatepcrepair.com/files/cmos14.zip

FIRST....Use Scandisk and Defragment on your hard drive if you are not performing these two maintenance steps regularly.Over time,your files become scattered all over your hard drive.This causes the computer to hunt for every piece of file fragments throughout the drive.

SECOND.....Clean Up Your Registry.The installing and uninstalling of applications cause your registry to have many files it does not use.Your system slows down at startup because these files are loaded into memory every time the PC is started.Registry Healer which is a trial ultility will scan your registry for problems.

And Registry Tuner allow you to view and remove unwanted software in your registry.Windows Reg Edit is a small ultility within Windows that will perform the same function. You may want to give Registry First Aid a try as well.

Visit the online version of this newsletter at http://www.ultimatepcrepair.com/news/35.html to download the trial versions of the above utilities.

THIRD.......Edit Your SysEdit Configuration by Clicking on Start,Run,and then type "sysedit" in the open block. You will be presented with your system files.Check and remove any files you know are not needed.You can type "REM" at the start of a line to disable it to see if your computer has need for it.

Take notes of any changes you make so that you can undo what you did should any problems arise.The ultility Bootvis is a good Windows XP ultilty that helps your boot process,We used it on our Windows Home XP computer and we noticed a difference.To learn much more visit www.microsoft.com/hwdev/platform/performance/fastboot /BootVis.asp and download your copy.

FOURTH....Remove unwanted programs that may be starting up in your Startup Folder.This folder as well as your Sysedit file may have programs slowing the PC down. Click on Start,Settings,Taskbar and Start Menu Tab, Start Menu Programs,Remove,and go down to the Startup Folder.There you can expand and remove any unwanted programs.

FIFTH.....Go to Start,Run,type "msconfig" in the open box and press enter.Click on Startup and here you can remove programs here as well.The thing to remember is to take notes of any program you remove just in case you find that program useful after all.Be sure to take the time and backup your system files so that you can restore these files should something go wrong.Take notes of files you remove from Sysedit or msconfig.

SIXTH....Enable your Quick Boot option in your BIOS.Access your Bios and locate this feature that bypasses some of the checks your computer makes at POST.The downside to enabling this feature is that it increases the chances of a hardware failure going undetected.You may want to use this feature from time to time and see if the difference in bootup speed is worth it.

We hate it when our computer creep alone when we turn on the power button,when we play our favorite Hi-Resolution star wars game,or when we decided to go on the internet,that is,if it doesn't take a couple minutes to logon.Upgrading and tweaking your PC to run faster can be performed quick and easy,if we put to use the neat utilities Windows as well as many third party software has to offer.

How To Backup Your Windows Registry

To put it simply, a windows registry is basically just a huge database of records. This database stores every single hardware & software configuration, settings on your computer. It is organized in a hierarchical model and can contain hundreds of thousands of entries.

You usually will not need to fix or clean the windows registry when your computer is new. However, after a period of time depending on the usage of your computer, you may need to perform some registry cleaning to remove unnecessary and obsolete entries.

The windows registry grows in size primarily because of new hardware and software programs being installed on the computer. Even a simple plugin for your internet explorer such as flash or quicktime is recorded in the windows registry.

There are some software programs and drivers that do not remove the entries from the windows registry when it is being uninstalled. As a result, they become obsolete and taking up memory space on your computer.

The windows registry contains thousands of entries which can be difficult to understand and sometimes unreadable and I would recommend not to clean the windows registry manually unless you know what you are doing.

I recommend using a registry cleaner to do the job such as error doctor as it do it faster than a human can.

Nevertheless, whether you are cleaning the windows registry manually or using a software, you must back up the registry first before cleaning. It is actually a good idea to backup the windows registry periodically, the same thing you do with your backup.

To backup your registry in windows XP/2000, click on ‘start’, click on ‘run’ and type in ‘regedit’. The windows registry will open. Then click on ‘File’ and select ‘Export’. Another windows will open and you can specify the name and the location to save the registry.

There are 2 important points to note here. Make sure the file type is set to ‘Registration Files (*.reg)’. You do not want to want to save as txt as you will not be able to import the registry file in the event that your windows registry is corrupted.

The second point is to click on the radio button ‘All’ in the export range options at the bottom of the windows. You want to backup the entire registry file, not just part of it.

It is also recommended you backup the registry file to another computer or to a diskette or CD. Sometimes when the windows registry is corrupted, you may not be able to boot into windows at all.

The windows registry is one of the most critical files on your computer, so make sure you backup a copy and only edit or remove an entry in the registry if you know what you are doing.


Free Registry Cleaner To Fix Windows Errors

In most cases I can tell you most computer’s will a few if not many corrupted files located inside the
registry or in the hard drive. I believe that there’s nothing worst than having your Windows system slow down, have a blue screen or just plan old crash. Your Registry will soon give you another problem in which I believe is related to the entire operating system of Microsoft Corporation.

Your registry holds both your hardware and software application configurations for your computer. Since your registry holds such important information Windows is consistently grabbing the data it needs from the registry in order to run and keep your computer running.

Since your registry holds such important information Windows is consistently grabbing the data it needs from the registry in order to run and keep your computer running, and after your installation of any applications you may run the risk of corrupting you registry further.

No matter how much experience or effort you put into fixing your registry you might still have a few uncorrectable errors left. Based on my experiences, as time goes by you’re going to eventually install new programs and hardware into your computer, and you’ll also be uninstalling them so you run the risk carrying unwanted and invalid registry entries; this will prevent your computer from operating smoothly.

So now that you know the wretched thing that can happen here’s two way you could try to use to fix your registry errors.

- Save a copy of your registry and keep a backup copy somewhere on your computer.

- Use a popular registry cleaning software often. Please make a note that this is the best solution and keeping a backup copy of your registry is also another method to use along with this. By using registry cleaning programs you’ll be able to scan and repair any possible errors in your registry. Know this, you do not need to be technical when using this software because it’ll scan and fix your registry errors automatically.

Never used this type of software before? Don’t worry it runs on automatic and if you want you can play with the settings to scan specific parts of your registry entries like wrong DLL files, wrong start entries, missing fonts in your computer and much more.

There’s a massive range of different software brands for registry cleaners that you can find online. I’ve prepared a list of things to look out for when selecting the right software:

1. I’ll say you need a special feature that will give you backup and restore functions of your registry.
2. The ability to warn you when your registry is being modified in a major way.
3. The most valuable aspect of the software developer is customer service and technical support so make sure they have both
4. Find out if the software is easy to install and comes with help files.