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Tweaking Your PC: Getting the Last Mile Out of Your Hardware Part 3 of 4 (Page 3/4)

Posted: September 27, 1999
Written by: Keith "Farrel" McClellan

Originally Printed in PC Gamer's Ultimate Hardware Bible, an Imagine Media Publication. All rights reserved. Reprinted with Permission.

Registry and System File Optimization

Besides some of the System applet tweaks, these tweaks are the most dangerous to your system, so before you continue, make a backup of your registry. To do this, run regedit and select the export registry function. I recommend calling it backup.dat. If this procedure is successful, you can delete the file.

We'll begin this process by clearing out all the extra .dll files in your windows\system directory. These orphaned files clog up the OS and generally create havoc at the worst possible times, so getting rid of them is to our benefit. The program we will use for this is Clean System Directory. Open up this program from the start menu. Select the check-boxes for all of your hard drives, and click the Start Scanning button. After it is done scanning, a box will appear. Click on the Select All button and then the Move Selected Files button. This will move those .dll's to the system\backup subdirectory. I recommend waiting at least two months before permanently deleting those files, in case they are needed.

Next, run RegClean (a Microsoft product that is definitely a candidate for the "Shoulda but didn't make it into Windows" award). This program is fairly self-explanatory, so I won't go into the details. The next registry cleaner is called Easy Cleaner. This program has several parts. Go into the Clean Registry part and run the program. Delete all the entries that appear and run the program again. Repeat this process until no more entries pop up, then move on to the last registry cleaner.

The last registry cleaner, called CleanReg, totally lacks any form of automation. Everything has to be deleted key by painful key in this program. It picks up everything that the other two pick up, as well as some other stuff, so normally I'd recommend just using this, but it takes too long to delete all of the bad entries in this program. This program also doesn't create a start menu icon, so you will have to browse the hard drive to run the program. Go through the entire list of bad entries, using the delete key button to remove them (not the delete value key). After you are done this step, reboot your computer and you will be ready for the last, and most important, step.

Once Windows boots up successfully (if it didn't, restore your backup by going into DOS and running the command regedit /I backup.reg), exit windows to the DOS prompt and go to the windows directory (NOTE: if you are a Win95 Service Pack 1 or before user, you will need to install the regedit replacement before continuing on to this step - Simply copy the file into the Windows directory and continue). Type the following commands:

- smartdrv
- regedit /e all.reg
- regedit /c all.reg
- win

After Windows starts back up, run FixReg. To use FixReg, run the program, go to the import function and browse to the all.reg file in the Windows directory. Click ok and it will run automatically. This program is designed to fix another problem with importing condensed registry files.

All in all, this process should speed up computer responsiveness, increase stability and bootup speed, not to mention letting an install of Windows last longer before it starts randomly crashing. Basically, it is the Holy Grail of Windows tweaking. You're welcome.

A link to the files mentioned within this section can be found at

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