Windows users should memorize the following sentence: "The Registry gets messed up all the time, and I will lose stuff if I don't repair it."
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years
Make your PC or Mac run better
January 19, 2014
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard
I knew a guy who never changed the oil in his car. He used to laugh about it.
Until his car stopped running. It was then that he had to relearn the lesson Ben Franklin taught us nearly 300 years ago, the one about an ounce of prevention.
The same admonition applies to your computer. Stuff piles up, files get chopped off, weird things happen. This is especially true for Windows PCs, which have the world's most corruptible internal database, called the Windows Registry. But it's also true to a lesser extent for Macs.
Windows users should memorize the following sentence: "The Registry gets messed up all the time, and I will lose stuff if I don't repair it." It's that bad. Microsoft has let this problem fester through all versions of Windows since Windows 95.
So what can you do about it? The fix is pretty easy. You run a good Registry repair utility often, maybe once a week. Even once every few days if you use your PC a lot.
Because Windows has such a bad reputation for self-mutilation, there are many good Registry fixers. My favorite by far is CCleaner, available from www.piriform.com. CCleaner used to be entirely free, but the folks who make it had a change of heart (or maybe wallet) and are now charging for a "pro" version. Luckily, you don't need it, so just get the free one. (Don't write to tell me you had to pay for free software. It's not free if you click the wrong link.)
Every time I recommend CCleaner, I'm forced to warn everyone that bogus versions of CCleaner are all over the Internet. They install spyware on your PC and then ask for payment to get rid of what they just installed. (Yes, these people are sick.) Use the link in this column to get CCleaner. Use no other link.
There's actually a good CCleaner for the Mac, too, at the same site. Mac users might want to try it. It's free. Macs only need standard cleaning -- there's no Registry -- and the Mac CCleaner does well.
But the Mac cleaner I use regularly is another free utility, Onyx, from www.titanium.free.fr. It does everything possible except wash your clothes and is reasonably easy to use.
Onyx lets you adjust many of the hidden settings on a Mac, too, although that's risky. Macs don't make good doorstops.
CCleaner is best if you're all thumbs -- although trying to type that way is really tough -- but otherwise get Onyx.