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Regularly maintaining the registry is a basic requirement. Fixing problems after they occur is harder than preventing them in the first place. Windows registry problems can cause crashes, slow performance and error messages.

If you:

- Install or uninstall software on a regular basis

- have not removed software correctly

- have embedded Spyware or any third party programs that start up again with each boot [whether you installed them or not]

- have installed or uninstalled hardware

- you have drivers on your system that are no longer needed.

Then you absolutely need to be cleaning your windows registry regularly! All the above leave trace elements of themselves behind that build up over time and choke the registry. Think of it as like dusting. Don't dust and you end up with dust bunnies, allergies and sneezing; you don't feel well and you slow down... Get the picture?

Back up your registry. Basic rule of thumb in the computing world - Back Up, Back Up, Back Up. System meltdowns and viruses can require the complete reinstalling of windows on your computer, which means you run the risk of losing all your files. Keep them safe. Back them up.

1. Don't try and edit anything in the registry yourself unless you are completely familiar with it and with the system

2. Programs are available that can be installed and set to fix and reguarly maintain your registry. Search online or drop in to your local computer store.

3. Call in a professional. Ask your friends for a reliable technician or look one up in the Yellow Pages