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Any plans to integrate an internal registry cleaner? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Sure i enjoy using CCleaner, but making OneCare complete one stop solution for maintaining windows is what i'd like to see.

    If there is no plans yet, please think about doing so, it would greatly increase the value of onecare.
    Tuesday, August 7, 2007 1:55 PM

Answers

  • This has been discussed to death in the past and no, this isn't planned (as far as we know). The problem is that 'Registry Cleaning' is at least as dangerous to the stability of a system as the value of any potential results. Removing the wrong item can cripple an application or even the entire operating system. This requires the user to make decisions about the items that will be removed that most are not technically knowledgeable enough to understand.

     

    OneCare is designed to perform most of its operations automatically with minimal user interaction, so general registry cleaning really doesn't fit that model. However, you'll notice that 2.0 beta does include a 'Startup Cleaner' which is the only really valuable portion of a registry cleaner, since it deals with a much safer area that can directly affect system startup and overhead. This is what most perceive a registry cleaner does anyway, though in general they dig much deeper into areas that have less negative effect, unless they are incorrectly deleted.

     

    So OneCare 2.0 will help provide the most valuable improvements that a registry cleaner might bring, while still avoiding the pitfalls of deleting something it shouldn't and also allowing the user to be involved in the actual decision. See this link for more about the Startup Cleaner:

     

    http://channel9.msdn.com/wiki/default.aspx/OneCare.StartupCleaner

     

    OneCareBear

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007 2:33 PM
    Moderator
  •  FavianGar wrote:
    or lordy lord

    i think there is valid points on both sides, but ultimately onecare should have similar features of its competitors. Microsoft said "soon enough, they'll have to catch up to us!" well, i dont see that happening if norton systemworks has a registry cleaner that is designed with the nontechnical user in mind. If they have, then why not microsoft. If anyone should be able to code a safe registry cleaner, it should be from the same company that made the operating system.

     

    Tell me how you'd clean the registry without asking the user to be involved. Since the design of the registry includes items that don't become linked until every module of a program is first executed (called Installed on First Use), there are disconnected items that always exist. There is no way for the registry cleaner program to know this unless someone examines each such entry for every program ever produced, a task that can't ever be completed with new software constantly being produced.

     

    This is the problem I've consistently seen with every registry cleaner I ever tested, usually involving a major program like Microsoft Office!

     FavianGar wrote:

    I remember a few years ago, microsoft released a freeware registry cleaner, and i'm sure it was programmed to be very careful about what it deleted, and only deleted things considered safe to delete, why not implement a very safe 'leave it and forget it' registry cleaner into onecare's tuneup?

     

    That was RegClean, which was designed for Windows 98, they have never produced one since. Those older Windows 9x operating systems were actually affected by the limited size of their registry, which is no longer true of Windows 2000/XP, since they are designed entirely differently.

     

    RegClean also has the 'Installed on First Use' issue I mentioned above, which made it unsuitable for use with 2000 and later versions of all Office Products along with any others using this Windows Installer capability.

     

    Errors that the RegClean utility finds after you install Microsoft Office

     FavianGar wrote:

    one last question..

    what are the consequences of having a bloated registry that isn't 'cleaned' ?

     

    None. It will simply take a small amount more disk and memory to contain any orhaned entries. This is generally insignificant since there are literally millions of entries in a typical registry today so a few hundred mean nothing, since they are not accessed in a linear fashion, but rather randomly like a database.

     

    The exception are startup entries, which can cause a system startup delay and/or add to system overhead by loading unneeded applications. This is why the Startup Cleaner has been added, to help the user decide which programs they don't use regularly, thus which entries could be removed from startup to improve performance.

     

    OneCareBear

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 4:20 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • This has been discussed to death in the past and no, this isn't planned (as far as we know). The problem is that 'Registry Cleaning' is at least as dangerous to the stability of a system as the value of any potential results. Removing the wrong item can cripple an application or even the entire operating system. This requires the user to make decisions about the items that will be removed that most are not technically knowledgeable enough to understand.

     

    OneCare is designed to perform most of its operations automatically with minimal user interaction, so general registry cleaning really doesn't fit that model. However, you'll notice that 2.0 beta does include a 'Startup Cleaner' which is the only really valuable portion of a registry cleaner, since it deals with a much safer area that can directly affect system startup and overhead. This is what most perceive a registry cleaner does anyway, though in general they dig much deeper into areas that have less negative effect, unless they are incorrectly deleted.

     

    So OneCare 2.0 will help provide the most valuable improvements that a registry cleaner might bring, while still avoiding the pitfalls of deleting something it shouldn't and also allowing the user to be involved in the actual decision. See this link for more about the Startup Cleaner:

     

    http://channel9.msdn.com/wiki/default.aspx/OneCare.StartupCleaner

     

    OneCareBear

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007 2:33 PM
    Moderator
  • Then why is it possible to do a registery clean on the on-line WLOC site ?

     

    But again : Why would "the team" care about what the (paying) user wants heh ?
    I have been using CCleaner since it became available - never had a problem.
    The registry cleaner in CCleaner is not an agressive one, but it gives the user the feeling to have a "clean" system (very marketing driven, very customer oriented).

    The WLOC team (probably mostly technicians) does not understand this and ignores all marketing and customer insights.
    That is why I am more and more wandering if this team is really supported by MS (the masters in marketing).
    I think that WLOC 2.0 is their last tryout, and that the plug will be pulled if it does not sell.
    It will by far not sell according to expectations if the team continues development the way it is doing right now - I can already tell you that.

     

    I am naive however, and I still hope that the team will  come to it's senses !


    (See also the backup mistake of the same kind they are making w.r.t. second or third internal hard disks) !

     

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007 5:48 PM
  • The two products serve two completely different purposes, so they are inherently different in both focus and operation. The key difference here is that the online scan begins and ends with dialogs which allow the user to make manual choices as to which operations are performed and then finally which detected items are removed or changed. This isn't the way the subscription product operates and as such doesn't fit the set-it-and-forget-it model. For that reason, a full registry cleaner is both too interactive and too technical for the expected user base, thus a bad match for the product.

     

    Some of the ideas in the online product have parallels within the subscription product, but their implementation is still different. This isn't really a problem since anyone wishing to perform a complete registry cleaning can still perform a 'Clean Up Scan' independently using the online site, while most of the OneCare subscribers will be happy with the new Startup Cleaner which solves the real problem of delayed system startup and program overhead that affects them the most. The rest of registry cleaning is simply 'window washing' and has little if any true value for the increased risk.

     

    Since you've continued adding to your post with your usual rant, I'll just repeat that you have continued to show clearly that you don't like where the OneCare product is headed. OneCare has succeeded in doing exactly what it was intended to do, mostly in a quiet and non-intrusive way, which contradicts the common perception of what a good and true security product should do. You seem to have been taken in completely by the idea that products making lots of 'noise' with lots of features are better, so I suggest you go ahead and purchase one that does this.

     

    I much prefer and will continue to support the direction of a product that just simply works in a simple manner for the non-technical user or those like myself who prefer not to spend their time managing their protection.

     

    BTW, you obviously haven't read that thread lately. Everyone but yourself seems to be happy with the workaround that will allow use of internal hard drives for backup by creating a simple share as the backup target.

     

    OneCareBear

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007 6:34 PM
    Moderator
  • WOW! OneCareBear, you sure earned your name on that response -- and not for being cuddly either!

     

    I was glad to find this topic, but sad to see your response.

     

    I too had wondered if OneCare might be considering adding a registry cleaner.  You sure convinced me otherwise. 

     

    Like the first author, I've used various registry cleaners for years, and have never found them to hurt, and many times found them to help.  Heck, even OneCare has to have a special registry cleaner just to try to straighten out the problems it runs into -- and believe me, there are lots of them -- I've experienced them over and over!  And OC Tech Support is happy to recommend a cleaner to remove all Symantec programs so OC maybe will work!

     

     I just ran TuneUp Utilities 2007 on my Vista machine, and found 55 errors, that have occurred mostly in the past couple of weeks.  They came from unremoved entries for a Creative web cam, that wouldn't install under Vista.  TuneUp Utilities is the fastest and deepest cleaner I've found, so folks, go check it out, because you aren't going to get any satisfaction here from OneCare!

     

    Well, maybe you guys can some day get it to do a decent virus scan and backup, but there will be a lot of us who have been alienated by that kind of response and will have given up on OC, and another chapter will be written in the Microsoft story!

     

    Bye Bye Microsoft Bob Bear!

     

     

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 3:03 AM
  • The issue isn't the registry cleaning itself, it's the user who must make the decisions. Though you may have an understanding of the registry and what may or may not be safely removed, the non-technical user that OneCare was designed for does not. Though the technical users who come here think they're the largest number of OneCare users, they're actually in the minority since very few of the non-technical users would ever find these forums, they'd go to OneCare Support instead as was intended.

     

    My reasons for recommending against Registry Cleaning are not intended for highly technical users with experiance in the registry, since they'll ignore me anyway. They are instead intended for those who would receive one of the several families of malware that advertise supposed registry cleaners and would purchase one of these thinking they needed it. This is the type of user that OneCare was designed to aid, so simpler is better and highly technical is out the window.

     

    If you care to understand the point of view that many of those in the industry have of registry cleaning, the following article by Ed Bott states many of the potential issues quite clearly.

     

    Why I don't use registry cleaners

     

    Though everyone states their reasons a little differently, the same themes of lack of value for the amount of risk are always present. You may have been personally lucky in your use of such cleaners, but many have lost systems or at least had significant operational issues due to damage done to their registry by even supposedly 'good' cleaners.

     

    OneCareBear

     

    < EDIT > An important point that I missed: The supposed registry cleaners for OneCare and other antivirus software packages that you mention are NOT general cleaners, but rather specific purpose uninstallers. As such they have specific knowledge of the exact regitry keys and files that need to be removed, so they don't have the same risk issues that the more general purpose registry cleaners have. However, even these have been known to create problems as recently occured when it was discovered that a Norton uninstaller was damaging certain Windows Vista operating system installations.

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 3:54 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for your reply, Bear, and the link to why many of those in the industry don't use registry cleaners.

     

    As to going to the OC Technical Support, rather than a forum, I personally have spent hours and hours -- about 10 - 12 or more, in several conversations, with the Support folks in the Philippines -- a couple were very good, and worked hard with me, but we couldn't solve the troubles with OC (production v 1.5) on my HP laptop (it works on some of my desktops, including an HP, but has various issues that I won't go into here).  More often, I got someone who ignored the logs that had already been made, and who treated me like I didn't know anything nd several were very difficult to understand because of limited language capabilities.

     

    I have many times found help on user forums that I couldn't get from any Tech Support (not just OneCare) or in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.  A Google search is one of the first things I do now.  The User community really is a good resource, even for someone like me who has been using computers for 43 years, and who has learned a thing or two in trying to better use them.

     

    The temptations and potential damage by all the bogus online registry checkers out there is a good reason for having one in OneCare so the unsuspecting wouldn't be so likely to go out and try one.

     

    But as you say, that's a settled question, it seems, so I won't belabor it further.

     

    I'll read the post, but I suspect I'll still use a trusted, well recommended registry cleaner from time to time.  One good thing about user forums is that if there is something bad out there, a lot of people will let you know about it.  But hey, I have an open mind, and I do realize there is a risk to use them.

     

    Thanks.

     

    Pat

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 4:18 AM
  • (I was going to add this as an Edit, but the Forum said it was over 500 characters and wouldn't save it, so I'l try as a Reply.)

     

    Thanks Bear for your added comment in the Edit since I replied.  Makes me feel a little better about the ones I use.

    As for Norton, I've sworn off of them, except maybe Norton AntiVirus, which has never given me trouble.  But I've had plently with Norton Internet Security firewalls and other parts like SystemWorks, and Symantec stiffed me twice on rebates, where I know I completed every thing completely and on time, and they sent me a card saying I hadn't.  So I don't care if it's "free" anymore, I don't try Symantec products anymore.  That's one of the reasons I jumped to buy OC when it first came out.

     

    I think you get negativity in people's posts because our hopes and expectations have been dashed several times, and we are frustrated that Microsoft hasn't done a better job in creating this software.

    Of course, there is the issue of MS driving the poor independents out of business by using their proprietary knowledge of Windows, and many people have a hate thing for MS.  I'm not one of them, I'd just like to not have to spend so much of my time with software that doesn't work like it is supposed to.

     

    I've got years of time and and lots of money invested in these programs, the data they generate, and the customization of those programs, working out the bugs, etc.  A backup program that only backs up the data is just a partial answer.  I've had at least three hard disks die, and have had to reinstall Windows quite a few times.  I've made pleny of backups with 4 or 5 or 6 different backup programs, and they have never saved the day.  But, I'm still making them and hoping that if all else fails sometime, that maybe they will work.

     

    A good solid backup program, that includes all installed programs, particularly the registry files, and data, is really an essential utility.  I can't understand why MS hasn't made it a priority from the start.  The Vista Backup program won't even do any partitions other than NTFS.  Does OC do non-NTFS partitions?  (I know, you'll probably wonder why I have any non-NTFS partitions.  Well, it's because I've had a lot of trouble with those NTFS partitions, so on my main data drive, I changed back to FAT32.  So, now Vista won't back up the drive with most of my data on it!)  If OC doesn't either, I need to know that.

     

    I had to do a clean install of Vista, because I found that Vista Premium wouldn't upgrade XP Pro -- after I'd already bought it (you have to read carefully and interprete the fine print on the back of the package).  Probably not a bad thing to do, after all the upgrades I've done ever since Win 95 or maybe even Win 3.0, and now I have a dual boot XP Pro/Vista installation.  But I had to reinstall all my key programs, and then work out the kinks in the ones that wouldn't work with Vista (haven't gotten all the key ones yet, and I've spent at least a couple of weeks and a lot of time doing it  I like Vista, but I live in fear that it will crash and I'll have to start all over again!

     

    Pat

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 4:58 AM
  •  Paddy48 wrote:

    WOW! OneCareBear, you sure earned your name on that response -- and not for being cuddly either!

     

    I was glad to find this topic, but sad to see your response..........

     

     

    Thanks for this contribution Paddy48.

     

    I stopped reading the posts of "the bear" because "it" is sytematically bashing at everyone that asks something that is not planned in WLOC 2.0 or that does not correspond with "it's" own personal views (which are mostly not in line with what users are needing or asking for).

    It calls these things ranting, while the posters are full of good intensions towards MS and WLOC, on condition that there is a goodwill to listen to CUSTOMERS & USERS.

    And I know what customers/users want/need because I am servicing more machines the the bear can ever dream of.
    It is clear to me that a bear has nothing in common with computer stuff and ditto businesses .

    @ bear : please don't reply to this sentence, cause I won't even read it.

     

    My proposal would be as follows :

    MS might improve it's very own "......" technology which is pretty good.

    But it needs some improvements and/or extensions (an idea for a beta-tester group ? without the bear of course).

    This technology might very well be implemented into WLOC (maybe not in version 2.0, but again in a new beta tester group without the bear).

     

    I wonder if somebody from the "WLOC-team" is going to pick this up, which I doubt !

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 11:01 AM
  •  Paddy48 wrote:

    (I was going to add this as an Edit, but the Forum said it was over 500 characters and wouldn't save it, so I'l try as a Reply.)

     

    Thanks Bear for your added comment in the Edit since I replied.  Makes me feel a little better about the ones I use.

    As for Norton, I've sworn off of them, except maybe Norton AntiVirus, which has never given me trouble.  But I've had plently with Norton Internet Security firewalls and other parts like SystemWorks, and Symantec stiffed me twice on rebates, where I know I completed every thing completely and on time, and they sent me a card saying I hadn't.  So I don't care if it's "free" anymore, I don't try Symantec products anymore.  That's one of the reasons I jumped to buy OC when it first came out.

     

    I used to swear by the Symantec products myself, though most of my experience was with the Corporate versions of the product which seem to have better support. I tried using the Norton AV product on my sister's machine for a couple years, but it just didn't maintain itself well on a PC using Limited Accounts, since it wasn't really designed to function like the Corporate product. That's why I first tried OneCare myself, since it was designed to work with Limited User Accounts.

     

     Paddy48 wrote:

    I think you get negativity in people's posts because our hopes and expectations have been dashed several times, and we are frustrated that Microsoft hasn't done a better job in creating this software.

    Of course, there is the issue of MS driving the poor independents out of business by using their proprietary knowledge of Windows, and many people have a hate thing for MS.  I'm not one of them, I'd just like to not have to spend so much of my time with software that doesn't work like it is supposed to.

     

    I understand your frustration, but that's what I'm trying to help you understand. The original target of OneCare from the beginning has been simple, foolproof protection and maintenance for the non-technical user, a group that is believed to be almost 3/4 of users and has been inadaquately served by the existing developers and their products.

     

    The fact that many technical users recognize that OneCare is a good solid basic product shows that it has succeeded at that primary goal. Unfortunately, the tradition of adding lots of user requested features is at odds with keeping the product simple and foolproof, so this difference is difficult for some technical users to accept. That's not to say it can't improve, but each feature must be carefully examined and integrated to avoid any user confusion, otherwise the entire product fails.

     

    Side note: Realize that the Windows Live OneCare Development group is provided no more inside knowledge of Windows than any other software vendor. They operate as an independent development group in their own area of the Redmond Campus and receive exactly the same Windows Development resources as any other vendor.

     

     Paddy48 wrote:

    I've got years of time and and lots of money invested in these programs, the data they generate, and the customization of those programs, working out the bugs, etc.  A backup program that only backs up the data is just a partial answer.  I've had at least three hard disks die, and have had to reinstall Windows quite a few times.  I've made pleny of backups with 4 or 5 or 6 different backup programs, and they have never saved the day.  But, I'm still making them and hoping that if all else fails sometime, that maybe they will work.

     

    A good solid backup program, that includes all installed programs, particularly the registry files, and data, is really an essential utility.  I can't understand why MS hasn't made it a priority from the start.  The Vista Backup program won't even do any partitions other than NTFS.  Does OC do non-NTFS partitions?  (I know, you'll probably wonder why I have any non-NTFS partitions.  Well, it's because I've had a lot of trouble with those NTFS partitions, so on my main data drive, I changed back to FAT32.  So, now Vista won't back up the drive with most of my data on it!)  If OC doesn't either, I need to know that.

     

    Quite simply, the backup program was designed for a typical non-technical user who bought their computer with the OS installed and would return to the original vendor or a computer repair shop if it needed replacing. In this case, the re-installation of the OS would be done by the computer store and programs would be reloaded from either installation CDs or the Internet. At this point the only thing the user would need would be their data.

     

    Much discussion has occured by those technical users that would like to see an image backup capability. I personally don't care, but I doubt this will become a priority, since the number of users requesting it has been relatively small, even compared to a registry cleaner. I think the next few months will be telling as the OneCare 2.0 Startup Cleaner has the chance to improve the operation of customer computers and the lack of need for a full registry cleaner becomes more evident.

     

     Paddy48 wrote:

    I had to do a clean install of Vista, because I found that Vista Premium wouldn't upgrade XP Pro -- after I'd already bought it (you have to read carefully and interprete the fine print on the back of the package).  Probably not a bad thing to do, after all the upgrades I've done ever since Win 95 or maybe even Win 3.0, and now I have a dual boot XP Pro/Vista installation.  But I had to reinstall all my key programs, and then work out the kinks in the ones that wouldn't work with Vista (haven't gotten all the key ones yet, and I've spent at least a couple of weeks and a lot of time doing it  I like Vista, but I live in fear that it will crash and I'll have to start all over again!

     

    Pat

     

    Yes, it's much better to perform a clean OS install rather than an upgrade, since it removes lots of existing problems. I understand your concern with re-building, but unless you know for certain that the most recently installed program caused the crash I don't see how an image would aid this situation. The most difficult thing about upgrading is determining what is compatible before you attempt to re-install, which I've done myself on each new Windows platform.

     

    The best method I've found is to only re-install what you really need immediately, usually a handful of important programs like Office, email, and other business or regularly used personal programs. Most other programs you've just collected over time and may not really be needed with the new OS, so I add those as I find the need, checking for upgrades as I do the installs. This results in less clutter and compatibility issues and thus overall risk and time spent.

     

    OneCareBear

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 3:18 PM
    Moderator
  • or lordy lord

    i think there is valid points on both sides, but ultimately onecare should have similar features of its competitors. Microsoft said "soon enough, they'll have to catch up to us!" well, i dont see that happening if norton systemworks has a registry cleaner that is designed with the nontechnical user in mind. If they have, then why not microsoft. If anyone should be able to code a safe registry cleaner, it should be from the same company that made the operating system.

    I remember a few years ago, microsoft released a freeware registry cleaner, and i'm sure it was programmed to be very careful about what it deleted, and only deleted things considered safe to delete, why not implement a very safe 'leave it and forget it' registry cleaner into onecare's tuneup?

    one last question..

    what are the consequences of having a bloated registry that isn't 'cleaned' ?
    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 3:26 PM
  •  FavianGar wrote:
    or lordy lord

    i think there is valid points on both sides, but ultimately onecare should have similar features of its competitors. Microsoft said "soon enough, they'll have to catch up to us!" well, i dont see that happening if norton systemworks has a registry cleaner that is designed with the nontechnical user in mind. If they have, then why not microsoft. If anyone should be able to code a safe registry cleaner, it should be from the same company that made the operating system.

     

    Tell me how you'd clean the registry without asking the user to be involved. Since the design of the registry includes items that don't become linked until every module of a program is first executed (called Installed on First Use), there are disconnected items that always exist. There is no way for the registry cleaner program to know this unless someone examines each such entry for every program ever produced, a task that can't ever be completed with new software constantly being produced.

     

    This is the problem I've consistently seen with every registry cleaner I ever tested, usually involving a major program like Microsoft Office!

     FavianGar wrote:

    I remember a few years ago, microsoft released a freeware registry cleaner, and i'm sure it was programmed to be very careful about what it deleted, and only deleted things considered safe to delete, why not implement a very safe 'leave it and forget it' registry cleaner into onecare's tuneup?

     

    That was RegClean, which was designed for Windows 98, they have never produced one since. Those older Windows 9x operating systems were actually affected by the limited size of their registry, which is no longer true of Windows 2000/XP, since they are designed entirely differently.

     

    RegClean also has the 'Installed on First Use' issue I mentioned above, which made it unsuitable for use with 2000 and later versions of all Office Products along with any others using this Windows Installer capability.

     

    Errors that the RegClean utility finds after you install Microsoft Office

     FavianGar wrote:

    one last question..

    what are the consequences of having a bloated registry that isn't 'cleaned' ?

     

    None. It will simply take a small amount more disk and memory to contain any orhaned entries. This is generally insignificant since there are literally millions of entries in a typical registry today so a few hundred mean nothing, since they are not accessed in a linear fashion, but rather randomly like a database.

     

    The exception are startup entries, which can cause a system startup delay and/or add to system overhead by loading unneeded applications. This is why the Startup Cleaner has been added, to help the user decide which programs they don't use regularly, thus which entries could be removed from startup to improve performance.

     

    OneCareBear

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 4:20 PM
    Moderator
  • OK, Bear.  Thanks for the detailed responses.  Particularly interesting is the point you make about the OC team not having any more access to MS internal knowledge than any other developer.  So, I guess we can't expect them to be better from that standpoint.

     

    I read the basic article and many of the comments in the post you cited, http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=643 , "Why I don't use registry cleaners".  I must say that Ed Bott makes his case very strongly.  The responses seemed to be on both sides, pro and con.  Neither side seemed to convince the other.

     

    I've always been a little concerned, as you pointed out, about deleting "unused" registry keys, and whether the cleaner was really smart enough to know whether the key might be needed sometime in the future, or whether the key could be restored if it was deleted.  As far as I know, I've never had a problem like that.  I haven't used cleaners a lot, but I have run TuneUp Utilities 2007 several times, based on recommendations I found in user groups, and it's the deepest cleaner I've found.  That's one of the ones I mentioned earlier, that I think you said were maybe smarter than others.

     

    I had one client who always seemed to do something to mess up her computer about every week, even on a new Dell with only Dell installed programs, and it then wouldn't run.  So, I installed SystemSuite, and told her to run it once a week,or whenever she had a problem.. SS has a bunch of tools, which can be run with one click of the button, including a registry checker.  It always seemed to fix the problems; I haven't had any more calls from her for service for a year or so -- (maybe the wrong business decision!    She is certainly the kind of customer that you say OC is aimed at.

     

    The registry is a hugely complex and large database that is the "brain" of a Windows computer.  A lot of backup programs don't back it up.  Once it's corrupt, except for a registry cleaner, you are basically stuck, except for Windows' revert feature, or some of the other programs like Symantec's Go Back, to reinstalling everything.  I've had those fail to correct the problem.  And, Go Back gets in the way of installing new drives and other things, besides being from Symantec, who I don't want to support with my dollars any more.

     

    Bottom line: 

     

    1. You've persuaded me to only run a registry checker when I have a problem and can't find another solution or once in a long while.

     

    2.  OneCare isn't going to serve my needs.  I'll leave it running, until my subscription runs out. I'm not going to bother with it's "Tune Up" or it's "Back Up" or it's nagging.  Meanwhile, I'll renew my search for something that does. 

     

    At the present time, the ZoneAlarm Suite looks like the best I know for security, and I've never had a problem with a ZoneAlarm firewall.  I've got System Mechanic 7 running on a couple of XP machines, and while I'm not happy about the way it pops up and runs right in the middle of my use, so far it doesn't seem to have done any harm, and I get to say yes or no to registry modifications and other changes if I want to -- or I can just put it in automatic and let it go.  (I don't do that on the registry, but on the defrag, I've pretty much given it free rein.)  Every so often, I'll run the old SystemSuite for something, but it's been a few years since it came out and I haven't updated, so I'm somewhat reluctant to use it, except on an older installation. 

     

    PCBackUp runs along every day at 9 PM, backing up to a DVD any data changes, except on my Vista machine, where it won't run.  It's easy to setup, with "SmartPics" and very quick about it, doesn't bug me and I only have to change a disk occassionally.  Nero 7 Extended refuses to install on my Vista machine, even though Nero says it's compatible; I haven't found a fix for it yet.  Symantec is long gone from my machines, except for a free, temporary AntiVirus from Google on the old XP I'm using just for video security camera monitoring.  NTI Backup Now! kept getting corrupted and not running, so I stopped using it.  NTI Shadow seemed to work OK, but only copied to another drive.  Retrospect seemed to work OK, but there were things with it that caused me to drop it.  I never tried Ghost and don't intend to.  Given all the listings for backup programs in PCMag.com, and the multiple Editor's Choice, I'd say that there is plenty of room for improvement in backup programs.  OneCare has a long ways to go to compare to any of these! 

     

    I wonder what you think of Diskeeper?  I'm running the trial of it right now as I write, and I'm very impressed by what I see.  OneCare sure wasn't doing the job -- most of the time it reported that it had partially defraged the first drive, and scheduled the others for another time, which it never seemed to get done.

     

    Ah, well, I realize this is getting off subject, so I'll stop.  We, who would like more and better, will be hoping and pulling for OneCare to answer our needs, but since you say we are really in the minority in the OC target market, we will stand in the shadows and watch!  Kind of thins the potential beta tester population! 

     

     

    Thanks.

     

    Pat

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007 6:38 PM
  • I just read this article. It basically says what everyone has been saying here in this thread

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Berlind/?p=721


    One question that comes to mind is, “Does RegistryBooster 2 do its job?” (hold onto that thought). Then next question is, “If it actualy does its job, what does that say for the versions of Windows on which it makes this big difference?” After all, since Microsoft is responsible for creating an architecture (the registry) that can be so badly littered and corrupted to the point it affects system performance and stability, shouldn’t Windows itself be able to do what Uniblue’s RegistryBooster 2 does?


    OK, now the question of whether RegistryBooster works. According to at least one review over at overclockersclub.com, it does. At least on XP (RegistryBooster 2 is compatible with Vista). I’m not sure I’m as impressed with the savings in bootup and application shut down times (two episode types in the life of a Windows session that can be inexplicably slow) as the reviewer was. But on the other hand, if there are cobwebs that deserve to be cleaned out, then why shouldn’t the OS be pro-actively cleaning them out as well as some third party utility can. If you have experience with UniBlue’s RegistryBooster or some other registry optimizer (eg: PC Tools Registry Mechanic) that promises to not only clean up the registry, but improve some aspect of Windows’ performance, feel free to share it in the comments area below.


    Monday, August 13, 2007 2:34 PM
  • FavianGar,

     

    What of value do you believe those two paragraphs state? Other than blaming the OS for creating problems, it really doesn't say anything at all from what I'm reading. This statement totally ignores the fact that the actual problems are created by the installation of applications or drivers (hardware) and their partially failed removal from the operating system. This is clearly indicated by several of the comments made about the blog entry, which are actually much better at discussing the true problems than the blog itself.

     

    The fundamental problem with the registry is the same as that of the Windows Operating system itself, it was originally designed at a time when the Internet and most rogue code (malware; viruses, spyware, etc.) didn't exist and the primary concern was to allow programs to interoperate and install easily. This point of view totally ignored the issues of security and the potential need to uninstall or re-install software, especially as it related to rogue applications which might not follow the 'rules'.

     

    You can blame Microsoft for not recognizing these issues, but since the fundamental decisions about the registry go back to versions of Windows designed over 20 years ago and the file system (MS-DOS) over 25 years ago before general access to the Internet existed, this is a bit of a stretch. MS-DOS and Windows were simple, open personal computing OS designs, so it's not surprising these weaknesses existed. How to evolve the Windows OS to add security while breaking as few [recent] applications as possible has been a difficult balancing act for Microsoft, because the user public wants it both ways, which obviously isn't possible.

     

    I'm not defending here, I'd have preferred that Microsoft 'pulled the plug' on compatibility with lots of bad programming practices years ago, even if it did break many of the badly designed applications. However, I also understand why they didn't since many of these were the popular games and other 'fun' junk most individuals install on their PC, so they would have been committing corporate suicide.

     

    Anyway, this doesn't change the fundamental fact that general registry cleaning itself does little of value to improve the overall operation of Windows, except when it's focused on important areas like Startup and possibly drivers or drive mappings to shares, any of which can actually cause delays in the startup or operation of the OS. The former are fairly safe to manage, the latter can be more dangerous to fiddle with, so it's best to go first for the 'low hanging fruit' that cause most of the issues anyway.

     

    When a registry cleaner tells you that it fixed hundreds or even thousands of entries that sounds great, but in reality any performance improvement would have come from a small handful or even just one of these entries, which is counter-intuitive to a non-technical user. This is why non-technical users are always getting themselves into trouble with their computer systems, since they really have no understanding of what is internally important to the operating system. The result is chaos and the creation of a mythology about registry cleaning by pseudo-technical geeks that gains a following quite similar to religious fanaticism.

     

    OneCareBear

    Monday, August 13, 2007 4:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Favian, thanks for your post -- interesting info about RegistryBooster 2.  Bear makes it very clear that you/we aren't going to get anywhere in this Forum, and most likely, with the MS OC design team either! 

     

    Unless the Beta 2, when it rolls out automatically in production to my existing 1.6 subscriptions, blows me away with its performance, it's a goner on my machines as far as any renewals are concerned.  (It's already gone on my HP laptop -- just will not run any more, after having been stable for months, even with over 8 hours of on the phone with Tech Support.)

     

    I'll check into RegistryBooster 2 -- sounds like might be even better than TuneUp Utilities 2007.  I'm definitely adding Diskeeper Professional to my stable of utilities -- OC has clearly failed to perform in defragging.  The appeal by another poster for options to turn off OC defrag and other aspects, has also been rejected in this forum. It's just mind boggling!

     

    Sorry, couldn't resist one more comment here. 

     

    Pat

    Monday, August 13, 2007 5:12 PM
  • I don't want a registry "cleaner" that I must have to interact with, I want something that just does what it needs to do, ie replace well-known entries and so on
    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 6:00 AM
  • messianic said:

    I don't want a registry "cleaner" that I must have to interact with, I want something that just does what it needs to do, ie replace well-known entries and so on


    Then you don't need a registry cleaner or repair program. Using one without interacting with it is like a craps shoot. If you don't know what it is doing or suggesting needs to be done, you shouldn't be using one. If you are troubleshooting a specific problem and have exhausted all other avenues, go ahead and run a cleaner/repair program. In the worst case, you'll be formatting the drive and reinstalling the operating system and all programs when the PC fails to boot after the registry has been "repaired."
    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 2:51 PM
    Moderator
  • Hey Steve,

    But that's my point..

    .. it would seem that Microsoft is on the defensive all the time over the registry, ie. a great concept but never realised in this age.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:23 PM
  • I don't know that they are on the defensive. I think that Windows is long overdue for that part of the operating system to be changed. However, the idea that a registry needs to be repaired, cleaned, maintained, compressed, etc., is simply incorrect hype that has been spread for years and is generally not true. Are there exceptions? Yes, there are, but the available tools are simply not a good idea for the average user. When a system is unstable due to a registry issue, it is best to bite the bullet and format the drive and reinstall Windows.
    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 12:40 PM
    Moderator
  • That's right and the only "tool" I have ever used is assisted-uninstall programs such as Revo-uninstaller as this seems to have very little negative impact on my system and allows me to choose which keys to delete so of course it may be a little more advanced than most users would like but still it does a good job of clearing out files and entries left behind after uninstalling different applications which insofar as the Web Clean-up Tool is concerned the latter does not do which is unfortunate in my view as temporary files at least can accumulate to oblivion.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 4:45 PM
  • Stephen Boots said:

    I don't know that they are on the defensive. I think that Windows is long overdue for that part of the operating system to be changed. However, the idea that a registry needs to be repaired, cleaned, maintained, compressed, etc., is simply incorrect hype that has been spread for years and is generally not true. Are there exceptions? Yes, there are, but the available tools are simply not a good idea for the average user. When a system is unstable due to a registry issue, it is best to bite the bullet and format the drive and reinstall Windows.
    -steve


    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Steve, I'm surprised this argument is still going on, but since it is, I will just comment that I have many times saved a mal-operating windows system using a registry cleaner, or other techniques, and have never seen any adverse effects from using one.

    The only time I'm willing to start over with a fresh install is when the hard disk has crashed and just can not be recovered.  The amount of time involved in installing programs, updating them, working out the problems with them, tweaking them, etc., is just so very huge (at least in my case, because I like lots of different programs) that I'll try almost anything to save an installation.

    I've been running System Mechanic in the background for quite a long time now, and it seems to do a pretty good job without causing problems.  However, I don't let it do the registry cleaning without my supervision, and based on all the prior dialogue in this thread, I only use a registry cleaner when something seems to be dragging down performance or some other problem occurs.

     BTW, I've just returned to this forum, after some many months of ignoring it, and I am happy to report that a suggestion by Frank in another thread about the MsMpEng hogging the CPU is proving to be a great improvement -- go see my posting after his.

    Hopefully, Windows 7 will rid us of some of these long standing troubles, but I'm not holding my breath!  At least, the initial beta reports are encouraging.

    And, as always, Steve, I appreciate your courteous and helpful comments in the forum.

     Regards,

    Pat

     

     



    Saturday, January 24, 2009 8:05 PM
  • Paddy48 said:
    The only time I'm willing to start over with a fresh install is when the hard disk has crashed and just can not be recovered.  The amount of time involved in installing programs, updating them, working out the problems with them, tweaking them, etc., is just so very huge (at least in my case, because I like lots of different programs) that I'll try almost anything to save an installation.

    This is the point though, most registry problems occur when programs are uninstalled since putting something there in the registry is not nearly as risky as removing it, like the old system file protection scheme for those who'd remember it.

    That is why Microsoft went about making something that could be accessed in the case that applications behaving somewhat buggy may have a chance to be streamed down so as to not cause further system instability and it is of course a great thing to have so long as it is supported into the future.

    The original question in this post was to integrate it into a now Legacy product, well the real question therefore is with better anti-virus and malware protection will we actually need it at all considering better application compatibility reporting and so forth and if so what form should it take.

    Sunday, January 25, 2009 9:59 AM
  • Well, I am somewhat surprised and dissapointed after reading this thread.

    I was hoping that OC would provide a registry cleaner or checker at least to report errors, maybe not automate fixing them but give some indication that there were errors and what they are.

    Most non-technical users will NEVER open OC let alone find and dare to click the "Change Settings" option to even find the "Change startup settings" buried on the "Tune-up" tab at the botom of the page. So, why not put a button next to that one that says, "Check or Clean Registry"? OneCareBear, Neither of these are AUTOMATIC! The user must look for and perform the option manually. I am sorry, but your argument is completely unfounded and incorrect to suppose that all people who use Windows are complete idiots, or are we, does Mac have registry issues like Windows does? I've never owned a Mac, but who knows?

    I have supported even my 80 year old grandmother and trust me, she will NEVER open OC and try to change the default settings and users like her will never change the startup settings nor would they ever try to clean the registry. Are they idiots? No, they are actually intelligent enough to know better than do something they don't understand. For those who end up having to format their systems, well, that was probably going to happen anyway. The average user doesn't even know where their system restore disk is to re-install if they had to! They are still going to take it to someone who knows or pay Dell for next business day on-site support and not have to worry about it, so hopefully they are using the backup features in OC at least.

    This "We're right, you are wrong" attitude does not reflect well on Microsoft, although, I feel it has been around far too long. If you don't want to know what people think of your products then don't provide forums for us to post our thoughts. You know we will still post elsewhere and you won't be able to moderate/sensor our posts but when we do, it really does no one a service for you to become so defensive and argumentative about it. Simiply aknowledge it, thank them for their feedback and give an honest reply as to whether or not it will be submitted for serious consideration by the product planning and development teams.

    I am curious as to how it is that Windows does not know exactly what is installed and where, I would think that by now when a program was selected for Uninstall that Windows should know exactly what to do to COMPLETELY and safely remove the applicaton, short of people deleting files we should not even need a registry cleaner.

    OneCareBear, it's not too late to admit defeat and agree that there is a place for a registry scanner/cleaner, you might not have thought so, but you must agree that having one provided by the very people who create the registry is a better idea and makes sense. Still don't think it belongs in OC? Ok, so don't put it in OC, make it a Power Toy or something, label it hazardous, use at your own risk, I STILL WANT ONE from Microsoft! Consider it a compliment! ;)
    Thursday, February 19, 2009 10:03 AM
  • Rodador said:

    Well, I am somewhat surprised and dissapointed after reading this thread.

    I was hoping that OC would provide a registry cleaner or checker at least to report errors, maybe not automate fixing them but give some indication that there were errors and what they are.

    Most non-technical users will NEVER open OC let alone find and dare to click the "Change Settings" option to even find the "Change startup settings" buried on the "Tune-up" tab at the botom of the page. So, why not put a button next to that one that says, "Check or Clean Registry"? OneCareBear, Neither of these are AUTOMATIC! The user must look for and perform the option manually. I am sorry, but your argument is completely unfounded and incorrect to suppose that all people who use Windows are complete idiots, or are we, does Mac have registry issues like Windows does? I've never owned a Mac, but who knows?

    I have supported even my 80 year old grandmother and trust me, she will NEVER open OC and try to change the default settings and users like her will never change the startup settings nor would they ever try to clean the registry. Are they idiots? No, they are actually intelligent enough to know better than do something they don't understand. For those who end up having to format their systems, well, that was probably going to happen anyway. The average user doesn't even know where their system restore disk is to re-install if they had to! They are still going to take it to someone who knows or pay Dell for next business day on-site support and not have to worry about it, so hopefully they are using the backup features in OC at least.

    This "We're right, you are wrong" attitude does not reflect well on Microsoft, although, I feel it has been around far too long. If you don't want to know what people think of your products then don't provide forums for us to post our thoughts. You know we will still post elsewhere and you won't be able to moderate/sensor our posts but when we do, it really does no one a service for you to become so defensive and argumentative about it. Simiply aknowledge it, thank them for their feedback and give an honest reply as to whether or not it will be submitted for serious consideration by the product planning and development teams.

    I am curious as to how it is that Windows does not know exactly what is installed and where, I would think that by now when a program was selected for Uninstall that Windows should know exactly what to do to COMPLETELY and safely remove the applicaton, short of people deleting files we should not even need a registry cleaner.

    OneCareBear, it's not too late to admit defeat and agree that there is a place for a registry scanner/cleaner, you might not have thought so, but you must agree that having one provided by the very people who create the registry is a better idea and makes sense. Still don't think it belongs in OC? Ok, so don't put it in OC, make it a Power Toy or something, label it hazardous, use at your own risk, I STILL WANT ONE from Microsoft! Consider it a compliment! ;)

    You are opening an ancient thread that's really a completely dead issue at this point, since OneCare will cease being sold later this year and end support in late 2010.  Also, we moderators are not Microsoft employess, just other users like you, though we've generally got years of computing experience behind us.

    As for this subject, Microsoft has had an online registry cleaner available for years now in the Safety Scanner on the Windows Live website, so there is an option available.  It simply isn't offered within OneCare, never should have been and now for certain never will be.

    The Startup Cleaner design actually includes an automatic 'pop-up' window after some period (1 month?) of time to offer the user its suggestions of which entries to disable.  This is based on usage of the program over that time period as well as the [lack of] need for the startup to actually be running for the program to operate properly.  This is exactly why it was created and added to OneCare, because most users wouldn't have a clue what to disable.  The option to enter this selection menu manually is really just for more skilled users or to change something that caused a problem later.

    The reason I'm so clear that registry cleaning is a bad idea is because all really knowledgeable and technical users know that it is.  Only those with a partial understanding of the operation of Windows and the registry ever think this is a good idea, since they don't have the depth of understanding to see it for what it really is, nothing but so much 'window washing'.  It comes with a high risk of damage to the operating system and generally results in very little to no actual performance improvement.  However, over time the mythology of computing (belief, not facts) has grown to make many psuedo-technical geeks believe it does have value.

    This is the real issue with computing for the public at large today.  Only a small handful of highly technical users really understand how it all works, so a mythology has developed within the general population to describe and resolve things that they can't truly understand without years of technical education, if at all.  These people aren't idiots, they simply don't have the basic knowledge required to make such technical items understandable, so they adapt a mythology to explain it.  That's not at all surprising, it's been happening since the beginnings of mans' rise in intelligence, since there's always been a small number who really understand the current technologies.

    The only difference between my way of dealing with this and others is that I prefer to state the truth, not stroke those who have it wrong.  I grant that it may seem abrasive, but as is often the case, the truth sometimes hurts.  I'm not here to sell things, I'm here because OneCare was and currently still is a good product, though it didn't resolve the malware issue as well as Microsoft had hoped.  Hopefully by removing the overhead and complexity, the new 'Morro' anti-malware product will resolve many of the issues that plagued OneCare and provide the simple, fool-proof protection for the masses that Microsoft had always intended.

    OneCareBear
    Windows OneCare Forum Moderator
    Thursday, February 19, 2009 4:42 PM
    Moderator
  • Hey OneCare,

    I understand what is being said in this thread without having to read but I may have said it before, the problem is many of these so-called "cleaners" even the web applet microsoft provides by virtue of how it all works they tend to remove valid entries and therefore whatever Microsoft choose to do in terms of anti-virus or otherwise maybe the company can consider something which generates keys rather than removes them so there is less of a need to re-install all the time.

    Windows is known to be a fairly unreliable system at the best of times, there's no hiding from that and as any commentator would say it's usually the registry which is the problem no matter how good the concept or idea is it falls down all the time so one is best really to let it grow until it becomes so much of a dead weight on the system that you may as well re-install anyway since there seems no way to win the war against either "bloating" or liposuction of the OS.

    Am I making the point clear now?

    Friday, February 20, 2009 12:19 PM
  • messianic, 

    I have an old PII 400, Windows 2000 client that was upgraded from Windows 95 in 2001 and hasn't ever been reinstalled in about 10 years.  It has had literally hundreds of programs (including antivirus) installed, upgraded and many uninstalled in that time.  I even had a spyware infection a few years back which I removed after trying multiple antispyware programs of that period (about 2004).  The system still operates perfectly, though obviously starts quite slowly.

    I have run both CCleaner and the Windows Live Safety Scanner on that system different times over the last several years and only selectively removed a handful of 'safe' registry entries.  This is where I discovered the many potentially risky registry entries these programs would have removed if I'd chosen the default 'clean all' selection.

    I don't doubt that some users who've installed many badly written, or even malware laden programs end up with highly messed up registries and in some cases these might be helped by the use of a registry cleaner.  The problem is that registry cleaners aren't consistent and can easily do damage using default settings, so as a general rule they should not be used.  The only time they should be considered by an unskilled (non-programmer) type of user is when the system is already operating so badly that a complete operating system rebuild is the only other choice.  In this case, if the registry cleaner improves things enough then maybe only a few programs will need to be reinstalled to fix any damage it has done.

    I'm not entriely against the use of registry cleaners, but most of them are fakes and/or malware and only a person with a programming background can really use even the good ones safely.  This has never fit the profile of the OneCare user, so it's never made sense to include one in this program.  Those with the skill and knowledge to use them know where to find them and how to interpret the results, and since to be safe they must be run manually anyway they are best left as separate tools.

    The general rule here is, if you wouldn't feel comfortable going into the Windows Registry Editor to manually change or remove registry entries on your own, you shouldn't use a registry cleaner.

    OneCareBear
    Windows OneCare Forum Moderator
    Friday, February 20, 2009 2:24 PM
    Moderator
  • All I can really say on this is Windows Vista is way more reliable and I personally will never try to build something that runs XP unless I am forced by some newbie for whatever reason they think it's better.

    Windows Vista has self-healing and does a pretty good job I might add, my installs last for weeks instead of days with what I do and one thing I do not appreciate about this forum is how so-called "educated" moderators etc tend to want to place the blame on the user in whatever way they can in order to defend either the Microsoft ethos or themselves against others who in the end have real things to accomplish using this relatively "free" system considering the range of service packs lately that have come forward.

    I am only hoping there will be one for XP since this stupid browswer cannot add new search provider really sucks.

    Oh and why does it take me back to the first post after I have posted, something overlooked there no?

    Friday, February 20, 2009 11:48 PM