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"dangerous" registry editing


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#1 crimlair

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 12:17 AM

Hi, I'm just curious.

Lots of people have already warned against messing with the Registry, and I'm fully aware that it's dangerous to mess around there without a clue of what you're doing. But exactly, what can happen?

I know for a fact that the Registry contains the configuration settings of a system, but it also contains many unused files that eat up space and can slow down the computer. So a user who may more or less know something about the registry can delete files they know aren't usable anymore right? Then it's not exactly as off limits as it is to the more experienced users. But some of the more knowledgeable users themselves mention it as though it's taboo and should never ever be even touched.

Warnings piled on top of warnings without exactly knowing "why" it's a warning can be dangerous in itself too you know...

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#2 tg1911

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:09 AM

Best case scenario: nothing happens
Worst case scenario: you've got an expensive doorstop

Check out this article:
XP Fixes Myth #1: Registry Cleaners
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#3 Layback Bear

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 11:56 AM

It's like most high tech things. If you don't know what you are doing, the odds are you will do more damage than good. IMHO the registry is no place for a untrained person. I takes a lot of study,training and good old hands on with a person who knows what their doing.

#4 garmanma

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 04:50 PM

If you have a computer and you don't care what happens to it, by all means start banging away
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#5 crimlair

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:50 PM

If you have a computer and you don't care what happens to it, by all means start banging away


I do have a computer and I care what happens to it, which is why I want to know about the Registry. But even caring enough doesn't exactly entail one to be in complete ignorance of the unknown, doesn't it?

...Registry = danger...for the inexperienced. Is that it? :thumbsup:

#6 crimlair

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 12:04 AM

Let me emphasize my point:
The tendency is, if I were someone "inexperienced" and I've heard a lot about the risk/dangers of registry editing, the next thing I'd do when I get the chance is to run "regedit" and look around the Registry until I come to the realization about what really makes this risky deed so taboo.

And besides, there's lots of tutorials and links educating users indiscriminately about "how to edit the registry" to fix certain problems. That kind of nulls the whole effect of the taboo...somewhat.

#7 Galadriel

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 12:35 AM

And besides, there's lots of tutorials and links educating users indiscriminately about "how to edit the registry" to fix certain problems. That kind of nulls the whole effect of the taboo...somewhat.


It's not a question of it being taboo. It's a question of it being safe or not. The registry is a complicated machine. It is the soul of the OS. One wrong move, one wrong delete, and you have a doorstop, or an unbootable machine. Even a regedit backup won't save you if you can't boot. The risk is even higher for automated tools. The article tg1911 linked to, really says it well. They do more harm than good. Even if the registry was bloated with empty sections, it wouldn't affect performance in a noticeable way. For it to slow down the system in any noticeable way, it'd have to be seriously messed up. Not just with time, but intentionally.

But if you want to learn about the registry, the best way to do that, is to research. But be prepared, I don't know anyone that knows the registry well enough to answer every question. It's the most complex part of the OS.

MS Article - Windows registry information for advanced users
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#8 crimlair

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 02:23 AM

So, in short, dealing with the Registry is like walking on tripwire... :thumbsup: I think that's what makes it mysterious to some extent... fascinating, even, but risky.

As I'll quote from the link of Galadriel's:
Use Registry Editor
Warning: Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall the operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.


Fair enough.

#9 Animal

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 03:02 PM

Demystifying the Windows Registry

Understanding and knowing how to backup the Registry is an important part of keeping your computer secure and running efficiently. It must be stressed that modifying any portion of the Registry should be done with the utmost care as incorrect usage of the Registry could make your computer inoperable.


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