When you are having performance problems with a Windows system, you might consider running RegClean. Although it is no longer available directly from Microsoft, this utility is useful to have in your bag of tricks. You'll find RegClean 4.1a on many Windows related download sites such as Download.com, ZDNet.com, Tucows.com, and others.
RegClean examines your system's registry and checks it for errors. You can choose to have the program fix those errors, and if you don't like the results undo the changes that RegClean makes.
Depending upon the number of program on your drive, your disk and CPU speed, you will find that the RegClean requires from 2 to 30 minutes. You should allow the program to complete its work, even if it appears that RegClean has stopped responding, especially when RegClean is accessing removable or remote drives. You can work in other programs while RegClean does its work.
You may notice that when you run RegClean you can not only solve certain errors (particularly in Microsoft Office), and that your system will run faster. RegClean fixes keys with incorrect values, storing the original values in the Undo.Reg file. RegClean is not a general tool, and it won't fix many system registry problems, like a corrupt registry. It only corrects certain problems it finds in entries contained in a "normal" registry. RegClean works with all versions of Windows starting with Windows NT 3.51 SP3 and Windows 95, and later.
Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.