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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.
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