IDG logo

Advertise with InfoWorld

SiteMap News Test Center Opinions Forums Careers Stock Quote Subject Indexes About Us Search Subscribe Home [Window Manager]

April 21, 1997

RegClean 4.1 could solve problems with conflicting apps

The Windows 95 registry has always been something of a mystery. Most Win95 settings are stored in the Registry files, which are called User.dat (for user-specific settings) and System.dat (for hardware settings).

When you install applications on your system, they often add whole new sections to your Registry. Unfortunately, uninstalling applications from your PC doesn't necessarily remove these sections. And if some of them contain references to executable files that are now deleted -- such as .exe files and .dll files -- you may have trouble should Windows ever try to run or read the commands in your Registry. Some of the headaches I've experienced on my personal workstation, which I wrote about last week, may have been caused by this kind of conflict.

Microsoft has a free utility called RegClean that may be the solution to the problem of accumulating junk in your Registry. Microsoft released the newest edition, RegClean 4.1, just a few weeks ago. To get RegClean 4.1, go to The document at this address contains a description of RegClean 4.1 and a link that downloads a self-extracting file called RegCln41.exe. Create a temporary download folder on your hard drive and then click the link to download the 403KB file. (Alternatively, you can download the file to a floppy disk if you wish; the file need not be saved after installation.)

If you have a modem but not an Internet browser, you can get the file by dialing the Microsoft Download Service at (206) 936-6735 using any terminal program. The service operates 23 hours per day from 1 a.m. to midnight Pacific time. Set your modem software for 14.4Kbps operation and use the 8N1 setting. Once you've logged on, download RegCln41.exe and save it as described above.

To install RegClean 4.1, double-click the RegCln41.exe file. Microsoft always recommends clicking Start, then Run, then typing the name of the self-extracting file with a -d switch to preserve its directory structure. The -d switch isn't necessary for RegCln41.exe, however, because it contains only two files -- the program itself and a Readme.txt file -- both of which go in the same directory. Microsoft should simply expand all of its self-extracting files into one directory rather than confusing people with the little-known -d option.

After you double-click RegCln41.exe, install the program into a folder of your choice. (The default folder is C:\Program Files\RegClean.) After installation, use the Explorer to open the RegClean folder. Read the Readme .txt file, then run RegClean.exe. The program will examine your Registry for a minute or more. Once it is finished, the program will wait for you to click its Fix Errors button. When you do so, it writes an Undo file, then cleans your Registry of dead code.

Run Notepad and examine the Undo file in the RegClean folder if you're interested. The file will be called Undo(stuff).reg, where (stuff) is your computer name plus a date and time. RegClean removed about 25KB of stuff from my Registry, most of which was related to applications that no longer existed on my hard drive. Good riddance. You can put the stuff back into your Registry if you have any problems by double-clicking your Undo (stuff).reg file.

It's too soon to determine whether this will make my system run better, but we'll see. Reader Robert Wade will receive a copy of Windows 95 Secrets Gold for suggesting this.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of Windows 95 Secrets Gold and four other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

Missed a column? Go back for more.

Copyright © 1997 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


Copyright © 2002. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. is a member of complies with the ASME guidelines with IDG extensions For New media.