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Defragment the registry to boost speed in Windows

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The registry is a place where Windows and programs store configuration settings and information that they need to keep safe. It's convenient to use and nearly all programs store some sort of data in it. When a program is uninstalled it may remove the entries in the registry that it created. This doesn't always happen though and this is why registry cleanup tools are so popular and why some people prefer uninstaller utilities rather than leaving the job of removing software to Windows. Deleting items from the registry will leave it with empty spaces. Does this matter? Registry defragmenters remove this unused empty space and compact the registry files, claiming that this will improve the performance of the computer. Does it?

If there is a performance boost as a result of defragmenting the registry, it is so small that you won't really notice it when using your computer. It's easy to show the before and after registry sizes to show that it has been compacted and empty space removed, but the speed benefits are a bit fuzzy.

On its own, defragmenting the registry probably won't provide any noticeable benefit at all, but when it is done as part of a whole system cleanup and optimisation, it's probably worth doing. Each cleanup and optimisation job gives a bit of a boost and no matter how small, if you have lots of tiny speed boosts they combine to have a noticeable effect.

There is some risk with defragmenting the registry and if it is corrupted for some reason then anything could happen, even the possibility of Windows not being able to boot up. Backups are therefore essential before you do this, so providing you have copied everything that's valuable on your disk and know how to restore it, then go ahead and defragment the registry. Just don't expect to see any benefit from this one optimisation job on its own.

There are lots of programs to choose from and here are just a few: Simnet Registry Defrag 2011 is free, Auslogics Registry Cleaner is $17.95 and Quicksys RegDefrag is free, but donations welcome. Now go and speed up Windows.