What can I do to help keep the Windows registry healthy?

The Windows registry is a database of sorts which stores most Windows and program settings. The registry is constantly being accessed, reading entries, writing new entries, updating old entries, deleting entries. Virtually everything a user does in Windows is recorded or referenced in some way in the Windows registry.

Oftentimes, remnants may remain behind in the registry when a program is uninstalled. This can cause related or future versions of the same program to experience problems installing or uninstalling. If a program ends abruptly, or if a Windows session is not properly shut down, a corruption may occur. These corruptions can cause general sluggishness or they can prevent system startup, effectively disabling the system.

Each time Windows starts, it does a simple registry scan for problems and attempts to address them with varying degrees of effectiveness. For these reasons, many users choose to use 3rd party registry cleaners and health monitors, all of which are not created equally. Be careful when selecting a registry cleaner as some include spyware which can actually hurt your system performance rather than improve it.

We can recommend one such program that allows cleaning and backing up registry changes for easy undo. CCleaner is a freeware program that is also spyware free.