You’ve probably heard someone say that the slowdown problem on a Windows computer can be easily solved with a quick cleanup in the OS registry, or else that some bug or system crash too could be solved with the help of CCleaner, a popular temporary file cleaner?
Well, we must warn you that this type of process does not solve these problems in most cases and can even harm your machine if done constantly. Understand now why this happens and how to stop stressing yourself with the records on your PC:
What Is And How Is The Registry Essential For The System?
First we must understand that the registry works on Windows. Just as its name states: it contains a database of everything that happens within the system. Machine configurations, installed hardware and software, drivers and other information compose that is essential for the proper functioning of the computer. Windows checks this information thousands of times while it is running, and every time you make a significant change to the machine, it is saved to the registry.
Because of the huge flow of computed data, it is possible that some errors are found in what is saved by the machine. It turns out that contrary to what the experts say on the internet, these errors are minimal and only cause some problem in the computer if they accumulate for a long time. So the indication is not to totally remove CCleaner or any other software you use for this type of cleanup, but rather use it much less often.
With What Faults Should You Bother?
Although Microsoft has worked hard to reduce the number of problematic records, they can still occur due to several reasons. Some of them are really worrying, some not so much. See below for the reasons that cause the OS to record faulty information and how to deal with it:
- Phantom entries: They are not a problem because they are simply no longer being queried by the computer. Phantom entries occur when you uninstall or remove some software and parts of it are not removed from the registry. This happens quite often and is usually the most problems you see being “resolved” by the cleaners.
- Duplicate Keys: Keys are information contained within the entries, as if they were files within folders, basically. When you reinstall a program that left phantom entries or update an existing program, it is possible for a duplicate key to be created. Currently Windows can handle them very well, so they are not a reason for stress.
- System Shutdown Errors: Once you shut down or restart your computer properly, that is, by giving Windows the command to shut down or restart, the registry creates a copy of everything that has changed during use and uses it as future consultations. If you usually turn off your computer by removing it directly from the power source or forcing the power off by pressing the power button, it may cause some problems later. Even so, this type of failure is not solved by cleaning the files of the computer, but by turning it off correctly.
- Viruses or Malware: Yes, this is something to worry about. Malicious software usually erases or modifies completely “healthy” parts of the registry for the sole purpose of harming the computer. If this is really your problem (check with an anti-virus of your choice), it helps to pay more attention to the following information. First of all, make a backup of the registry in use and learn how to restore it, too. Before making any changes to the information, it is extremely important that you perform a backup of the current registry. To do this, make sure that you are using a user profile with administrator status, if so, follow the steps below.
Press the Windows key after that type “regedit “. If you cannot search by this method, you can also click the Windows logo in the lower left corner of the screen and then type the term. This will open the record editor;
Click File and then the “Export” option;
Save the backup with the name and location of your choice. In this tutorial we will name the backup file as “regbackup” and leave it in its default location, the “Documents” folder;
Restoring – With the backup created, if you want to restore it in the future, simply start the computer in safe mode. In Windows 7 this can be done by pressing the F8 key during system loading (before the Windows logo or the machine manufacturer is displayed on the screen). In Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 it is necessary to use it in another way to boot the machine in safe mode. You need to go to the start menu and search for “msconfig”; this should open the advanced system settings. In this window, in the “System Initialization” tab, you will be able to locate the “Safe boot” option, mark it and apply the changes. When you are in safe mode, repeat the steps already mentioned and search again for “regedit”, coming once again in the registry editor. There, click the “Import” option and then select the backup file that you previously saved. Remember to go back to “msconfig” and uncheck the same option once you restore the backup completely. Only then will Windows be loaded into its commonly used format after the process.
If All Else Fails?
If this does not work or you just cannot start the PC in safe mode, then we must start with a more severe method of restoration: it is worth remembering that less advanced users of configurations can get confused and before carrying out the process they must be sure that they even want to do it on their own rather than hiring a professional for the case. So if you are determined to rummage through the bowels of your system, we will move on. Think that this type of tutorial will prepare you for the most diverse types of situation.
For everything to work, you will need an original Windows disk or an ISO copy of it. If your computer simply did not come with the OS installation disc, chances are you might have to create an image of your system to proceed. When you start the computer with the image or disc inserted, it should display a recovery screen with various diagnostic menus and other options. If this still does not happen, you can try to transfer the hard drive to another machine. The important thing here is to have access to the files. From the recovery screen, select the option to configure system startup. It may prompt you to log in to one of the existing users, this is not a rule, but you must log in to a user with an administrator status in Windows. Continuing with the recovery, the suite should show us a series of tools to try to save the problem software, and then select the “Command Prompt” option, which we will use. With the prompt open, we need you to find the correct directory of your Windows files, where the backup is saved, inclusive.
To do this, use the commands:
dir C: Win *
dir D: Win *
dir E: Win *
After each command, press enter. If Windows and your files are in one of them, the screen will inform you of the folders in that directory. For the next step, we assume that you have found the record saved in the C: directory, if in your case it is another letter, just replace the C with the corresponding letter in the codes that you must enter below:
Cd / d C: windowsSystem32config
xcopy * C: RegBack
Be aware of the dates revealed by the system at this time; try to remember if any of the records displayed is from before the problem appeared. If so, feel free to type the commands:
Copy / y software ..
Copy / y system ..
Copy / y sam ..
Important: Yes, the “..” are part of the code is to be written at the prompt command. After that, restart your computer and verify that the issue is resolved. It is worth remembering that you have just restored the registry manually, so you will not need special software or help from a professional the next time you have a problem of this kind in similar situations.