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The Windows Registry: What is the Windows registry and how it can affect you?

Q.  Just what exactly does the Windows registry do?

The Windows registry is a directory that stores all settings and preferences for Microsoft Windows.  The registry contains information about and settings for all known hardware, software, and user preferences on the PC.  Whenever a change is made to any of these three things, the changes are reflected and stored in the Windows registry.  This means that every single program, preference, and hardware on your PC has its own registry value, telling your PC exactly what it is and how to treat it.

Q.  How can the registry cause my computer to slow down or crash?

The most common occurrences for registry damage are caused by malicious software, spyware, and viruses.  Many times the function of these malicious programs is to disrupt your registry and damage your computer to cause crashes and blue screens.  Other times the registry becomes damaged because a virus or trojan itself created a registry value and it became damaged during removal.   When a registry hive or other registry key becomes damaged, depending on the scale, your Windows may not even be able to start.  Many times your system will lock up without you being able to repair it, or you will get many stop errors.

Q.  How can I repair my Windows Registry after it has become damaged?

The most common way to repair a damaged registry is to return it to a state before the files became corrupted.  Oftentimes it is best to create backups of your registry and keep them on file in the event your registry becomes damaged.  It’s best to create a backup to your registry at least once a month to keep your backups  up to date.  In the event that you can’t even start your computer to access the backup registry, it would be best to get professional help from a certified Microsoft Certified partner such as Computer Service Now.  A Microsoft Certified Solutions provider would be your best bet to get your computer back up and running.

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