In the Forums...
Posted: July 27, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
It's been over a year since I took the time to write the original System Cleanup tweak guide for Windows 98, and some things have changed in the realm of computing since then. Even major companies have started to put some real time into their registry cleaners (previously they were simply an 'extra feature' they added to bulk up their packages), and some of them are shaping into useful products (finally). However, you can still do a better job with a little bit of time and come free programs that are available on the Internet. I have written this guide with both Windows 9x (including Millennium) and Windows 2000 in mind, and as such we won't be using all of the same programs that I described the first time around, but some of the more notable ones are still around for your 'cleaning enjoyment.' And trust me, cleaning is one of the Tweak3D's staff's favorite past times - particularly when the women are in those French maid outfits.
Now, you might be asking, what exactly will this do for you? Well, as you may very well know, it is very difficult to keep a Windows installation running well for a long period of time (particularly a Windows 9x installation). This guide will prescribe a way to keep an installation clean and hopefully help avoid a painful and arduous reinstallation of Windows - it can even remove some of those annoying Windows quirks that pop up during regular use. Sounds useful, huh?
There are several pieces of software you are going to need to perform this procedure. Here is a short rundown and description of what each program does, along with a download link for each:
Clean System Directory [http://www.ozemail.com.au/~kevsol/sware.html#clnsys] - I have yet to find a better program for cleaning out the unwanted and unused DLLs from the /windows/system directory. It does an excellent job of determining file associations and whether or not the program is needed anymore - and it should be in any system cleaner's bucket of soapy water.
Regclean [http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/release.asp?ReleaseID=18924] - As was stated earlier, Regclean is still the king of the hill when talking about speeding up and automating the registry cleaning process. The latest version, 4.1a, catches most of the various 'errata' entries in the registry that programs 'should' be cleaning out when uninstalled, but aren't cleaned. It isn't perfect, but it's better than doing the whole thing by hand.
Regedit - This program is included along with Windows and will be used to manually delete registry keys that are no longer necessary. It will also be used later to compress the registry to compact any unused space within the file. Of course, this manual stuff isn't for everyone, so if you aren't comfortable with playing around the 'slow' way, you can always skip the regedit specific steps.
Disk Cleanup - This program, which is also included along with Windows, will help speed up the process of cleaning out general temporary files and the like - things that you should probably be doing on a regular basis but aren't necessarily following through on. There are better programs for this out there, but they all cost money - and real tweakers don't spend money.