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Readers Questions. 

IF01696 

Q.  I am considering the use of a registry cleaner. Nothing tragically wrong with my PC, except it is just a little slower than it used to be. I am running XP Home edition, AMD Athlon64 2400, 738b RAM.
I am slightly more knowledgeable than novice and don't mind tinkering. Regularly do the basic clean ups, scan / defrag, etc. Looking on the WWW, I am cautious about reg' cleaners, I am getting the feeling that they can do more harm than good. Or very little at all. But I am not deterred.
Your opinion here would be appreciated. Do you think that they are worthwhile? If so, do you recommend any particular product?  My best guess so far is XPMedic.  Thanks in advance.

A.  Your caution is warranted.  Most registry cleaners are spyware of some kind.  I am sure that there are some decent reg cleaners out there, but I don't know which ones, as I have never run one.  I don't really think that cleaning the registry will be all that helpful in speeding up a slow computer.  I think there are other things to try that would be more effective.

I would first recommend a visit to
http://www.PCPitstop.com and run their full battery of tests, which is free.  They offer some nice recommendations on how to speed up your computer and I use them regularly.

Also, visit
http://www.sysinternals.com (you will actually be redirected to a Microsoft site because Microsoft bought SysInternals, but the utilities are still very useful).  Find, on the SysInternals page, a utility named PageDefrag.  This is a very neat utility that will defrag your pagefile, registry files, and other system files.  These are typically files that are in use when you run a defragger and cannot be defragged.  I use PageDefrag's "run at every boot" option.  It only adds about 30 seconds at most (most of the time it is only a couple seconds plus whatever delay is configured for the defrag to start) onto a bootup.

Other than that, the only advice I have for speeding up your computer would be to buy more memory.  More memory is the best way to get a very noticeable performance boost.

Let me know if you need anything else.

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