|Registry Warning: If you are not familiar with the registry, its purpose and how it functions, do not mess with it. This applies to any program or procedure that involves registry cleaning or adjustment. You cannot just click an icon and hope for the best. You need to observe what any program is about to do, line by line, and most of all do a backup before you even start. And know how to use the backup. Failure to observe such precautions may make one of your progams not work anymore, or worse your entire computer may not boot/power up at all
You see warnings similar to this one throughout many internet sites. Trouble is, everyone reads them, then continue on doing what they were going to do anyway. Those warnings are there for a reason! Lets look at some characteristics of the registry and why the warning is so important.
All Windows Systems Depend On The Registry
The registry is basically a text file. If you are new or not familar with it, it looks like a bunch of gibberish - funny lines, letters and symbols.
However, the registry is the control centre of your computer. It controls whether you computer will boot properly or not, how your programs run, what your desktop and programs look like, to name only a few examples.
How Important Is The Registry?
There are hundreds, even thousands of lines of text in the registry depending on what programs you have on your computer and the settings you use, etc.
Changing or removing one letter in one of those lines of text in the registry can make your computer totally unusable and unable to boot up. Even having a space in the wrong place can have the same result. Or not having a space in the proper spot could do it too.
Reg Edit Danger!
Reg Edit or Registry Editor is the common program included with windows operating systems for maually adjusting the registry.
It is simple, quick to use and looks like a variation of Windows Explorer.
The Danger - it saves changes just by closing the program.
This means if you are using Reg Edit and are just browsing around to see what the registry is all about, should you accidently click on something or unaware, press a key on the keyboard, your registry will be changed and saved the minute you close the program.
You won't know you have done anything wrong until suddenly a program stops functioning and up pops an error message, or worse, the next time you boot your computer, it doesn't.
BackUp Your Registry
You see this warning many times when a tweak suggests adjusting the registry or you use one of the many programs for cleaning the registry of its junk or unused files.
That is good advice. And there are many ways to backup the registry, by hand or by using a separate program, or many programs that do registry adjustments have that option built in.
The BackUp Is Absolutely No Good If You Don't Know How To Use It!
This is the key point. A registry backup is no good to you if you don't know how to get it back to replace the one you just messed up. Depending on how the registry backup was made, you may just have to click on the file to merge it with the non-functioning one, you may have to boot in Safe Mode to restore your backup or may even have to reboot the computer during the process.
You need to read the process very thoroughly when you make a registry backup to ensure you know how to restore your original registry should trouble arise.
The backup is no good if your computer won't boot and you don't know how to get to it and use it.
Registry Cleaner Programs
There is an ongoing debate whether registry cleaning and compacting programs are a good idea or a bad move bound to get you in trouble. You have to decide that one for yourself.
if you decide to use any Registry Cleaner program, read what it is going to do. Read how it is going to do it. This is one time you need to read the information and help files - before you use it, not after.
Many such programs analyze what is not needed in the registry and offer a list that you can check to see what will be removed or altered.
You need to go through this list line by line to see what is being removed or adjusted and how the program is going to fix it.
If you don't understand what each line means, don't do it! No program can be 100% accurate as to whether you need a certain item in the registry or not.
So many program developers receive complaints blaming their program when in fact it is the user that didn't follow common simple precautions and procedures.
Know The Registry Inside And Out
If you are new, take the time to know and understand the registry thoroughly. It takes a lot of time. Hardly anyone other than the experienced programmers that developed it, know everything about the registry.
There are hundreds of sites on the internet that will teach you things about the registry if you are willing to invest the time. They are easily found by using your favourite search engine. You can learn many things a step at a time.
Don't do anything to the registry if you are not 100% sure of what the result will be. This is no time to 'try it' or 'see what it will do.'
On the other hand, once you have learned how the registry functions, there are many things you can safely do to customize your computer to do exactly what you want it to.
If You Don't Follow Registry Warnings This May Be The Result
* Some of your programs may not work properly.
* You may have numerous errors popping up constantly.
* Your computer may s-l-o-w down.
* Boot times and Shut down times may be longer.
* You computer may not boot or power up - not even into safe mode.
* You won't be reading this.