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USB Computer Cleaning Drive


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#1 Newsteinleo

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:23 PM

I am putting together a USB drive with a bunch of programs for cleaning out friends and family's computers. I wanted to get some suggestions about programs to add to the mix. Right now I am planing to put Ad-Aware, CCleaner and am looking for some other open source programs to throw in.

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#2 keyboardNinja

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:36 PM

Consider fresh versions of common programs, too:

Adobe
Java
Flash Player
Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool
Firefox

Other than that, good anti-spyware and clean up tools like you suggested are about all you need, in my opinion.

Somebody else might have something else, but I can't think of anything else.

I do the same (keep a flash drive of good programs to share). Keep up the good work!! :thumbsup:
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#3 boopme

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 12:22 AM

I would include.
ATF Cleaner by Atribune. Similar to CC but without the possibly dangerous Registry cleaner.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
SUPERAntiSpyware , Free Home Version.
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#4 keyboardNinja

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 01:06 AM

Ahhh....MalwareBytes...forgot that one. Thanks!! :thumbsup:

I like the Registry fixer in CCleaner. It is much faster than the Registry Fixer in my Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 9 software (works, just takes forever).

If you keep a backup of your registry, you should be fine (although I don't expect CCleaner to mess it up).

Cheers.
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#5 garmanma

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 09:50 AM

For computers that can boot from the USB drive
http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd-on-usb-disk
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#6 Animal

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 06:52 PM

Just for the record:

Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons:

Registry cleaners are extremely powerful applications that can damage the registry by using aggressive cleaning routines and cause your computer to become unbootable.

The Windows registry is a central repository (database) for storing configuration data, user settings and machine-dependent settings, and options for the operating system. It contains information and settings for all hardware, software, users, and preferences. Whenever a user makes changes to settings, file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in this repository. The registry is a crucial component because it is where Windows "remembers" all this information, how it works together, how Windows boots the system and what files it uses when it does. The registry is also a vulnerable subsystem, in that relatively small changes done incorrectly can render the system inoperable. For a more detailed explanation, read Understanding The Registry.

Not all registry cleaners are created equal. There are a number of them available but they do not all work entirely the same way. Each vendor uses different criteria as to what constitutes a "bad entry". One cleaner may find entries on your system that will not cause problems when removed, another may not find the same entries, and still another may want to remove entries required for a program to work.

Not all registry cleaners create a backup of the registry before making changes. If the changes prevent the system from booting up, then there is no backup available to restore it in order to regain functionality. A backup of the registry is essential BEFORE making any changes to the registry.

Improperly removing registry entries can hamper malware disinfection and make the removal process more difficult if your computer becomes infected. For example, removing malware related registry entries before the infection is properly identified can contribute to system instability and even make the malware undetectable to removal tools.

The usefulness of cleaning the registry is highly overrated and can be dangerous. In most cases, using a cleaner to remove obsolete, invalid, and erroneous entries does not affect system performance but it can result in "unpredictable results".

Unless you have a particular problem that requires a registry edit to correct it, I would suggest you leave the registry alone. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily or incorrectly could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from ever starting again. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks are great.

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#7 keyboardNinja

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 11:13 PM

Well, I can't argue with that. I always thought they were useful, but I guess I was misled. Thanks for the heads up. :thumbsup:

Manual registry tweaks are okay, if you know what you're doing. But I guess programs running mass deletions of "missing dlls" is quite dangerous (since it only takes one error to kill your computer).

One question I've had about the registry is this: Everybody says to backup your registry. And everybody knows why (in case of catastrophe). But if your computer won't boot because of a registry error, how do you restore the registry when booted off of a Windows rescue disk (or install disk)? Do you just navigate through the command prompt, find the backup, and type in the name of the registry backup? Will Windows merge it when it isn't actually booted up? I've never tried this, so I don't know. Any advice?
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#8 keyboardNinja

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 06:53 PM

Here's another to add to your flash drive of programs:

Defraggler

It much better than the built-in Windows Defragmenter. :thumbsup:

I haven't tried Recuva yet, but it might be worth looking into as well if you don't already have any file recovery software.
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#9 Animal

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 07:26 PM

how do you restore the registry when booted off of a Windows rescue disk (or install disk)? Do you just navigate through the command prompt, find the backup, and type in the name of the registry backup? Will Windows merge it when it isn't actually booted up? I've never tried this, so I don't know. Any advice?

Take a look here: Demystifying the Windows Registry

Especially section 4 Backing Up the Registry

Scroll down to: Restoring the Windows XP/2000/2003 Registry Option 2 (Only for XP and 2003):

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#10 keyboardNinja

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:27 PM

Hehe, found a good reason to not clean the registry...

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums...ce-330ee02bd9c6

That guy seemed a little overzealous about cleaning his registry!!! He used 3 different programs!! :thumbsup:

Thanks for the articles and tutorials. I already knew how to back it up. I just wasn't sure how to restore it from the backup if the system won't boot. I'm thinking I can do it from the command prompt when booted off the install/repair disk. I think I'll test that theory by exporting a key that is already there, then merge it using the command prompt booted from the disk (it will really do nothing, I just want to see if it gives an error or success message).

I'll report back with my findings. :flowers:
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#11 keyboardNinja

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 10:45 PM

Well, it was worth a shot.

After booting off of the install disk, logging in with my administrator account, I opened up the command prompt, and typed in "regedit". The Windows Registry Editor came up and I went to the Import wizard. Located my "test.reg" key backup and clicked Open. No dice. Here's the error I got:

Cannot import H:\test.reg: Error accessing the registry. (with the obligatory OK button)

"Okay", I said.

Tried it directly from the command prompt by typing in the name of the file. Got the expected "Are you sure you want to merge this....yada, yada" prompt. Chose Yes and got the same error message as before.

Any suggestions? I'd like to be able to restore my registry using this method if the system won't boot and system restore doesn't fix it (hopefully it won't ever come to that, but if it does, I want to be ready). :thumbsup:
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#12 boopme

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 10:47 PM

The safest thing is to back up your Registry before making any changes. The best tool I feel is ERUNT.
Make a complete registry backup using ERUNT
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