A variety of computer problems can cause reductions in PC performance, but Windows registry issues top the list. Your computer's operating system and software applications must access the registry thousands of times every time you turn it on, and when you change settings or move files, the registry keys become fragmented and scattered.

Why Should You Defragment Your Registry?
A registry defrag organizes the keys in your computer's registry so that it can run more efficiently. You may already defrag your hard drive to align file fragments. When you defrag your registry, you accomplish a similar goal, speeding up your PC's operation.

Defragmentation also keeps registry files from becoming corrupted or lost. A fragmented registry includes files stored incorrectly or separately. Defragmenting brings together related files and reduces the spaces between them.

Many computer users run a registry cleaner as well as a registry defragmenter. These tools perform different functions, but they both help maintain your computer's health. A cleaner eliminates registry errors and deletes invalid references so your computer does not waste memory on those functions.

Can Registry Defragging Hurt Your Computer?
Although a registry defrag can't eliminate every PC problem or issue, it generally speeds up the computer's operation and helps it run more smoothly. As long as you use a high-quality app, defragmenting your registry should not hurt your computer. If you use an untrustworthy program, however, you might cause more harm than good.

Read trusted reviews to find a high-quality defragging program. The registry is absolutely essential to your computer and deleting or moving the wrong keys could render your PC unbootable, so the software you choose needs to be capable. To protect your PC, always back up your registry before you run a defragging utility.

How Often Should You Defrag Your Registry?
Defrag your registry whenever you make major changes to your PC. When you install or uninstall a software program, for example, the process adds new registry entries and adjusts your computer's settings. Defrag registry files to eliminate redundancies.

If you notice lags in your computer's response times, run a registry cleaning and defragging tool. Although doing so might not eliminate the problem entirely, it confronts one major issue that reduces computer speed. If a fragmented registry was not the culprit, you can use other PC system utilities to diagnose and fix the lag.

How to Defrag Your Registry
Many of the top system utilities on the market include registry defragging as part of the package. System Mechanic, Fix-It Utilities Pro, and WinOptimizer, for example, can all defragment the registry files on users  computers. When used with the other tools available in these programs, the defragging function can vastly improve a PC's performance.

Choose the best system utilities tool for your needs, then follow the software program's on-screen instructions to run the defrag utility. Choose a program with an excellent customer support rating so you know you'll have access to assistance if you need it.

Regardless of the tasks for which you use your computer, its files and registry entries change constantly, which leads to fragmentation. Defragging your registry and your hard drive regularly leads to numerous benefits, from faster response times to improved performance.

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