Did you know that there is a correlation between spyware and your Windows registry? Before looking at that relationship, however, you need to have a clear understanding of how spyware functions. Spyware is any technology or programming on your computer that covertly gathers information; the data is then sold to advertisers or to other interested parties.

The type of information harvested from your computer differs. Some spyware tracks your system information only-such as your type of internet connection and type of operating system. Other spyware collects personal information - such as detailed tracking of your internet surfing habits, or worse, harvesting of your personal files.

Spyware is installed without the user's consent (if you give consent for a company to collect your data this is no longer considered spying, so read online data disclosure statements carefully before consenting).

Some people don't object to general spying that tracks internet and software trends as long as personal identifying information is not included; others object to any information being taken from their computer without their consent.

Spyware installation on your computer can be initiated by visiting a website, viewing an HTML email message or by clicking a pop-up window. The download process is unannounced so that you will remain unaware that your computer has accepted spyware. This deceptive method of filling your computer with tracking software you didn't request is called a drive-by download.

So, what does this have to do with your Windows registry? Whenever a program is installed on your computer, with or without your consent, it leaves references to the program in the Windows registry. These traces remain even after the program is uninstalled. So, if spyware has been installed on your computer, even if you have used an antispyware program to detect and remove the application, these references are left behind.

Why does this matter? Well, the references to programs build up and clutter your registry, ultimately slowing down your computer booting process and causing other delays and problems in your system.

What can you do? This is where registry cleaners come in handy. A registry cleaner can wipe out all of these old references in your Windows registry, allowing both your booting and application running times to proceed at a normal speed.

If you have detected spyware on your computer, don't delay. Get rid of it. Purchase spyware removal software immediately and uninstall, then purchase registry cleaning software and clean up any references to the spyware in your registry. Doing a complete cleaning job will allow you to avoid hair-pulling delays, and ultimately you'll prolong the life of your computer.

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