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System Cleanup Tweak Guide for Windows 9x and 2000 (Page 3/4)

Posted: July 27, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan

Step 2 - Taking up Where Windows Lets Down

Since way back in Windows 3.1, programs other than the ones that are supposed to have been depositing various files in the system directory. Even now, almost 10 years later, rogue programs have yet to learn their lesson and continue to deposit .dll (dynamic link libraries) in the system directory to stifle and choke the OS. Even uninstalling the original program doesn't remove the files in the system directory, because they 'could' be used by more than one program. However, there is a way to determine which files in the system directory are no longer needed and remove them easily, and it's called Clean System Directory. It searches your computer for file associations that tell the program whether or not the files are needed any longer. It even backs them up for you - just in case. When you download and run the program, make sure you select all of the drives that have installed programs, otherwise the program might remove files that are necessary for those programs to run. The program will even search the registry for associations, so don't worry about your CD driven programs not working after using the program. Just make sure you don't delete the backups of the removed files for a few months just in case there is a problem.

Step 3 - Cleaning the Registry

There are two steps to take when cleaning the registry. The first is to use a program called Regclean, by Microsoft, to automatically clean out the errant entries in the registry. The program is definitely something that they should have put on the Windows CDs. And although this program was originally developed for Windows 9x, it is fully compatible with Windows 2000 - so fear not. And if you do run into a problem, you can always merge the backup registry file into the registry to fix the problem. Run the program at least two times before continuing on to the second part of the registry-cleaning step.

There are two registry keys that you need to search for errant program entries: Hkey_Local_Machine/software and Hkey_Current_User/software. Under these keys you are looking for developers and programs in which you are sure you have uninstalled all of their products. If you don't recognize the name, or you aren't sure you've removed all of the company's products - don't delete the keys. And just to be sure, you should export the keys to a file (using the Registry Export File command) before deleting in case you need to restore the key at a later time (maybe you deleted something you shouldn't have?).

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