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Old 07. Jul 2014, 08:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ...will remove registry entries for the files I manually delete

I had a six-month trial of an anti-virus, and one of its many good features was having a function for doing just that, removing registry entries for the files I manually delete. It has a function that says "You can remove files using [program] and automatically remove associated registry entries."

I had a hard drive fail on me, and I'm determined not to let this one get overcrowded on me. So I destroy lots of files that can't be removed with Revo Uninstaller or IObit Uninstaller when I decide I have no use for them, especially setup files.

Maybe I already have a program that will let me get rid of the registry entries corresponding to folders and files I delete, and I just don't know it. I just found out I can selectively delete System Restore points with CCleaner.




Operating System
Windows XP Home Edition 32-bit SP3
CPU
Intel Pentium 4
Northwood 0.13um Technology
RAM
2.00 GB DDR @ 166MHz (2.5-3-3-7)
Motherboard
Dell Computer Corp. 0G1548 (Microprocessor)
Graphics
Default Monitor (1280x1024@60Hz)
Intel 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV Graphics Controller (Dell)
Storage
74.5 GB Seagate ST380011A (ATA)
Free 40.53 GB
3.67 GB Lexar USB Flash DriveUSB Device (USB)
119.22 GB PNY USB 2.0 FD USB Device (USB)
Optical Drives
SAMSUNG CD-R/RW SW-252S
Audio
Unimodem Half-Duplex Audio Device
Anti-Virus
Roboscan free

Last edited by conceptualclarity; 07. Jul 2014 at 08:34 PM. Reason: added proper spacing
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Old 07. Jul 2014, 11:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Registry cleaners (RCs) delete entries for files that are not found. They use terms like "Missing Software", "File or folder does not exist" and "Invalid File or Folder".

Most RCs would also allow you to delete only the keys for those deleted files.

Note that there are good reasons why most RCs do not not delete every key that references a file that cannot be found.
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Old 08. Jul 2014, 12:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Use Registry cleaners at your peril.
As far as I know there are none that do not destroy your system.

Revo Uninstaller is the only one that gets anywhere near, and even that should be used to SUGGEST registry changes not actually make them.

The registry is FAR TOO COMPLICATED for any automatic tool to manage. Even manual changes by an experienced person are risky.
I make sure my registry is backed up every day on the first boot of the day.
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Old 08. Jul 2014, 01:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's good be aware of the risks but it is not that complicated!

The registry is a hierarchical database. The structure is no more complicated than the file storage system on our disks. Understanding what each key value means is a lot more work but it is not insurmountable.

Automated programs manage registry entries all the time. That happens for install, uninstall, save settings, store preferences, etc. This is possible because there are standardized methods documented and made available by Microsoft.

Yes, making changes can stop Windows working in the same way that you can accidentally delete a file on your disk and Windows won't start. But to say we shouldn't make changes is as muddled as saying we shouldn't manage files on our disks:
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Use disk cleanup at your peril.
As far as I know there are none that do not destroy your system.

Revo Uninstaller is the only one that gets anywhere near, and even that should be used to SUGGEST disk cleanup changes not actually make them.

The disk is FAR TOO COMPLICATED for any automatic tool to manage. Even manual changes by an experienced person are risky.
I make sure my disk is backed up every day on the first boot of the day.
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Old 08. Jul 2014, 01:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remah View Post

Yes, making changes can stop Windows working in the same way that you can accidentally delete a file on your disk and Windows won't start. But to say we shouldn't make changes is as muddled as saying we shouldn't manage files on our disks:
My technical competence is not as great as yours and is unlikely to be. However, I believe your hypothesis assumes two things:

1] The users willingness and ability to understand the implications of everything involved and execute the process.
2] The system in question does not already contain errors that the automated algorithms of a cleaning program will not be programmed for, thus leading to the potential for worse instead of better.
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Old 08. Jul 2014, 03:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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To unfold the mystery of the registry, here's a great article to read at Gizmo's Freeware for average PC users: What Everybody Should Know About the Windows Registry.

In its conclusion: "the Registry is just a database, albeit an unusual and very important database. Itís no more mysterious than much else in Windows (and less than some things). Always back it up before any system changes and you will be prepared if it stops doing its job."
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Old 08. Jul 2014, 03:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was pointing out that it is not too complicated, that's all. I used the example of disk/file management to illustrate a level of complication and risk that is in the same order of magnitude. We are generally happy to work with files systems because of our familiarity with them. Whereas, being unfamiliar with the Registry, we tend to assume the Registry is more complicated than it really is.

The third paragraph probably mislead you because it starts with "Automated programs". Rephrasing it will make it clearer: Microsoft provide standard methods to reduce complications. That makes it easy for any bozo/clown to write to, update and manage the registry in their automated application. It's not too complicated.
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Old 08. Jul 2014, 03:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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More on the topic of the original poster, conceptualclarity, regarding the risk of removing registry references to deleted files.

I've started drafting an article on dangers to be aware of in updating the Registry. The article will summarize the sorts of issues that registry cleaners pick up on. It will indicate where they are usually found in the Registry and what are the many potential consequences if we get it wrong.
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Old 12. Jul 2014, 01:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Automated programs manage registry entries all the time. That happens for install, uninstall, save settings, store preferences, etc. This is possible because there are standardized methods documented and made available by Microsoft.
But they only "touch" one tiny little bit of it, that bit that the author of the program controls.
You are also assuming that any bozo/clown is competent, which , unfortunately is not the case.
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Old 12. Jul 2014, 02:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm actually assuming the opposite, that's why I used "bozo/clown" because many developers, including myself, make mistakes. Standardizing the techniques does reduce the likelihood of error. Having all the registry changes go through the Registry Configuration Manager further enforces the standard methods.

A new application touches quite a lot of the registry hives in quite a few places:
HKCU current user settings
HKCR & HKLM\Software classes: document types, file extensions, applications, and libraries.
HKU\Software

Registry cleaners certainly touch a lot more application, hardware and user settings but it's not that complicated as many will work exactly the same.

The question is whether RC developers have correctly identified what can be deleted. In general, I would prefer an automated tool because the processes in this heavily tested programs are less likely to succumb to random human error than any a user doing manual edits using RegEdit.
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