Like most people, you probably never think about the health of your PC's registry database. Why would you? You don't access the database directly. You can't open launch software or view files from the registry. It operates in the background, like the central nervous system of your computer. Without it, the Window's operating system   the brain of your PC   wouldn't be able to communicate with software and hardware. Without it, your computer wouldn't be more than a paperweight. Your PC's registry database is where your operating system, software and hardware access the necessary settings, configurations and other data.

When you buy a new computer, the registry database is small because there are few installed programs and hardware. This slim registry is one reason why your new computer runs so much faster than your old computer. Over time, as you add and remove software or hardware, surf the web and generally use your computer, the registry grows and eventually becomes bloated with errors, redundancies and other issues that cause your computer to become sluggish. Instead of buying a new computer, you can regain some speed by whipping your bloated registry into shape with registry cleaner software.

Many issues cause registries to become bloated. The most common issue is installing third-party software that deliberately fills up the registry with invalid entries. The most common offenders are trial software or free software that embeds itself into the registry database to maintain licensing information. However, uninstalling these programs doesn't remove the data from the registry. In addition, many free software programs are malware like spyware, viruses and Trojan programs, which deliberately add malicious entries to your registry database.

Another offender to bloated registry comes from software crashes. Every time a program freezes or crashes, it can leave behind a corrupt registry entry. These corrupt entries are often impossible to remove from the registry manually and can make it difficult to reinstall the crashed software.

Your daily computer activity adds entries to the registry database. Over time, your registry database becomes fat with invalid entries, errors, redundancies, fragmented data and other issues that make it difficult for programs to access the necessary data. Trying to whip your registry into shape can be an intimidating task, especially if you're not versed in computer technology. Trying to fix your registry manually is like trying to operate on a nervous system when you're not a surgeon   just as cutting the wrong nerve can cause body parts to stop functioning, deleting or modifying the wrong file can cause similar catastrophic effects to your computer. 

The best way to whip your registry into shape is to purchase a reputable registry cleaner software program. Reputation is key with registry tuners. Just as you shouldn't hire a brain surgeon from a dark alley, you shouldn't use a registry cleaner with a bad reputation. Many free registry cleaners are really malware in disguise and cause more harm than good. The old idiom that "there's no such thing as a free lunch" certainly applies to free registry cleaners. The best registry cleaners have a good reputation for optimizing your registry.

After you've found a reputable registry cleaner, you need to scan your registry for errors. Not every registry scanner is the same. Depending on the scanner's ability and the degree of your registry bloating, this process usually takes anywhere from half a minute to ten minutes and should find hundreds of registry issues. After the scan, you can decide to repair or delete the registry issues, though some registry cleaners only give you the option to delete errors. You should always consider fixing a registry error before deletion.

Just as you should visit your doctor regularly for a checkup, you should scan your registry often to maintain the health of your computer. Many registry tuners provide scheduling for automatic scanning. Scanning often will keep your registry database from becoming overwhelmed with DLL errors, driver errors and malicious entries like ActiveX errors. We recommend scanning once a week or twice a month at the least.

The top registry cleaners feature a registry defrag tool. Over time, registry data becomes fragmented. This fragmentation causes your computer to slow down because, like doing a puzzle, the CPU has to find and put the fragments of data together in order to execute a command. A defrag tool simply reorganizes the fragmented data into a more efficient order so that the computer can better access it. Not every registry optimizer has a defrag tool and not every defrag tool is created equal. However, an effective defrag tool can have a dramatic effect on your computer's performance and efficiency.

The best registry cleaners also have comprehensive safety protocols. Unlike operating on the nervous system, where cutting the wrong nerve causes permanent damage, the best registry cleaners have comprehensive safety protocols in place to ensure that you can always reverse any mistakes. Even the most reputable registry optimizers will make errors. However, these safety features, which include a full or partial backup of the registry database, allow you to restore the database to points prior to the mistake.

The next time you experience a sluggish computer, consider cleaning the registry before you think of buying a new PC. It's probably bloated and fat with errors, and choosing the best registry tuner for your Windows PC could result in a significant improvement in your computer's performance.

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