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wdhpr 29. Apr 2009 11:06 PM

I have a geek/techie question
Does compressing the registry help.

I use registry mechanic (got it free legally) and one of its automatic task's is to compress my registry during reboots. Its takes a couple minutes to do and I am not sure if its worth it.


wdhpr 30. Apr 2009 08:24 PM

Other than reducing the size of my registry. Does it make for faster boot times? Right now registry mechanic compress's during each reboot. You know, I might have answered my own question. I cannot find much info on this matter and what I did find, spoke more to the issue of reducing the registry size not much on performance improvement

chris.p 01. May 2009 06:06 AM

Hey guy, you are opening a can of worms here. :)

Let me tell you what answers you will get:

- 40% of the people here think Registry Cleaners etc are marvellous, the answer to any computer issue
- 40% of the people here think reg fix apps are the work of the devil and will wreck your PC
- 10% don't know and don't care
- 7% think anyone with a different view to themselves is crazy, they should be locked up
- 2% think there are probably better things to fix
- 1% say don't worry, be happy :)

So first, pigeonhole the answers according to type - then toss a coin...

ps i'm in the 1%

wdhpr 01. May 2009 09:19 AM

thanks Chris.p

Hehe Sounds like realistic answers to me. :p
One thing to add. I compressed my firefox files using upx as per the article found here:
How to Make Firefox Load Faster

Firefox maybe be loading faster but not enough for me to tell the difference.


chris.p 01. May 2009 09:54 AM

Well, I suppose I better give a sensible answer.

I cannot see that compressing the registry will make any difference unless you have a 500GB disk, hundreds of apps and millions of files. If that's the case then OK, you might see some sort of improvement. But I reckon you'd get a better speed increase by managing your disks and data better, if you have that much.

I have used several registry cleaners and found absolutely safe ones (in the right hands), through to lethal ones. The only one I trust now is a really old version of Ontrack Fixit Utilities, that I've used hundreds of times on different PCs without a single issue ever. But it's unusual: it classifies dead keys as green, yellow or red, and although you can delete the green ones, the others you must check each one manually. You must also rebuild all the links manually, for the faulty ones - it doesn't just delete them like all other apps do as far as I know. I've never seen this on any other app and I assume it's why it can delete and rebuild 2,000 faulty reg keys on a well-used machine without a single issue. But the problem is the time - you manually fix the dead links. It asks you every time what the link target should be.

However the result on the worst machines like heavily crudded-up ones with 2,000 faulty keys or so is a noticeable speed increase in booting up and in multi-tasking jobs. I've noticed this many times and it's not a fantasy. But with 400 dead keys I wouldn't expect to see any measurable increase.

All other apps I've used resulted in some sort of issue, perhaps because they are so fast, and ask for no logic input, and because I went too far with them. So I know at least one works, and works safely, on heavily used machines where a lot of apps are installed and uninstalled, and where the cleanup app works very slowly and with an extended manual input.

That's my experience. Now, I know of a researcher in this field who emailed more than 30 registry cleaner software authors and specifically asked them for some sort of proof that registry cleaner apps work. In other words - what precisely was the benefit and how was it measured. All replied with various excuses or other platitudes, and no explanations. He emailed again, explaining that if they couldn't reply with any kind of evidence, there was a risk that his review might be biased. Again they could not provide any tests or measurements. So as far as the industry itself is concerned - or so I'm told - there are no test results available from any providers that show any case for the use of registry cleaners.

However my own experience, as stated, is sufficient for me to use one *in certain circumstances*. Otherwise - your time and trouble are probabably better off spent elsewhere.

peter 01. May 2009 10:45 AM

Completely agree with Chris' post, and our review which emphasizes the importance of registry backup.

Many, however, claim you can see the benefits of registry defragging, but I'm not convinced. Any fiddling with the registry seems to me too risky for any potential benefit except in the circumstances outlined above.

kendall.a 01. May 2009 03:21 PM

I used to be a very gung-ho registry cleaning and registry defragging type person. At one point, I probably had 5 or 6 programs for this, or even more. I've pretty much tried them all. I've changed significantly my stance over the past year or so. I consider myself fairly competent about knowing what to clean and what not to clean and I'm pretty anal about registry backups. But, too many times I have seen registry cleaners mess up my system. I've never found registry defraggers to do much of anything.

Do I still occasionally use a registry cleaner? Yea, I do. But, it's very limited and I'm extremely careful what I clean. Like I said, I've tried them all. There are 3 right now that I stick with: EasyCleaner, RegScrubXP, and the last free version of Jv16 Powertools. Do I accept everything they find and say "clean all"? NEVER! Do I delete references to old executable files that I've deleted? Yep. Do I delete temporary files or references to them? Yep. But, not much more than that. By the way, all 3 of the above have the ability to undo what you do.

wdhpr 01. May 2009 03:29 PM

Thank you

Thanks Chris.p for the most comprehensive explanation I have ever seen on this subject.

I agree with you and Peter. I also can see how software companies have made a killing selling products like registry cleaners and fixers to the public.

My knowledge of what the registry does is limited.

Is the registry something like a table of contents or index for installed software that Windows uses to find and load files? IE: exacutables and Dll's? (took over the job of the sys.ini)

Once programs are uninstalled, allot of these registry entries still remain. I have also read and agree that these left over registry entries do little to no harm if just left there.

I at some point can imagine how these orphan entries can accumulate over time (especially if your a download junkie like myself). :p It would seem that the process of Windows finding its way through all the junk in order to correctly function would effect the speed. (I have read those debates). I am sort of a neat freak and prefer order over chaos.

So far so good. I have cut down on the frequency of registry maintenance and always, always back up the registry before any action. Additionaly I also automatically run Erunt during every startup.

Thanks again guys


chris.p 02. May 2009 12:09 PM

I tried to give a sensible answer to this, it's a hot question and always will be. But you need to remember that it's just from the perspective of a user, I'm not a PC systems expert, unlike some of the guys here.

It's interesting how the app I use rebuilds the registry with user input, it's an old one, maybe that method has gone out of favour or something. I'd include some screenshots but it's not installed at the moment, lately I just image the drive and strip it down regularly instead of tweaking, it seems less hassle and certainly more trouble-free. I'm happy to use it on others' machines though, it's proved safe enough for me. The harder they have been used, the more benefit there seemed to be - but it takes time to run and a lot of effort.

It seems easier to image the drive and wipe it at intervals - or look at other areas where I think you will get a whole lot more benefit with an average machine, such as increasing the pagefile size and homogenising it, and managing the MFT zone properly by reducing its size correctly and defragging / homogenising it. I reckon you'd see more benefits by doing that. But you need a good disk manager app & defrag app to do those jobs.

Also it's amazing how inaccurately most defrag tools dislplay the disk state. Obviously Windows native defragger is the worst of all, but you may not appreciate just how inaccurate that is until you get something like VoptXP, which gives by far the best disk view I've ever seen. Lots of pros and cons to that one, as per usual of course, not least the fact that it's commercial.

wdhpr 02. May 2009 11:11 PM

I sometimes find opinions and perspectives far more valuable given by sensible people with no axe to grind. Thanks for your perspective :)


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