Registry Mechanic Review

Dennis Faas's picture

Update 02 / 23 / 2005: Registry Mechanic 4.0 has just been released. Click here to read the newest review of Registry Mechanic 4.0 (including screenshots), or continue below to read Jake Ludington's review of Registry Mechanic version 2.0.


The most common cause for system instability, crashes, and performance degradation is a poorly configured or un-optimized Windows Registry. Maintaining the Windows Registry using WinGuide's Registry Mechanic can avoid erratic system behavior, while improving overall PC performance.

Let's start with the basics: What is the Windows Registry?

The Windows Registry is a core component of the Windows Operating System. The Registry database stores everything about a computer: everything from colors, installed applications, hardware drivers -- and even changes made in the Control Panel. Over time, the Registry becomes bloated with incorrect and outdated information.

Many of the attributes contained in the Registry (also known as "key values") point to pieces of software called Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs). DLLs are commonly shared components used by more than one program: a "poorly designed or 'buggy' program ... can access the Registry and make [erroneous] changes to one of these keys, which can cause Windows to behave erratically" (Windows Technology Update, May 2002).

Registry Mechanic: Cleaning out the Windows Registry

Registry Mechanic is an application that scans the Windows Registry for entries (such as DLL links) which are no longer valid. When Registry Mechanic finds a problem, it allows the user to specify and correct Registry errors with a few simple mouse clicks.

Registry Mechanic: Features

  • Increase system speed and stability by removing orphaned references
  • Repairs invalid Registry entries
  • Scans hard drive for invalid and incorrect program shortcuts
  • Makes backups of all changes made to the Registry so that restoration is possible

Side note: "Orphaned references" are key values in the Registry which no longer point to / contain a value. An invalid Registry entry such as this can generate error messages or cause a program to stop functioning properly.

I downloaded and installed Registry Mechanic on my Windows XP Pro system.

The installation process is straight forward, presented with standard install options and an End User License Agreement (EULA). At the end of the install, Registry Mechanic asked me if I wanted to run the program each time Windows started. Since I already have a lot of programs running in my Startup, I chose to un-check the "Automatically scan registry when Windows starts" option.

Registry Mechanic: Running it for the First Time

After launching the program, Registry Mechanic displayed a list of checkboxes on the left hand side which corresponded to various Registry entries present on my computer. On the right of the Window, options were available to "Scan, Backup, and [Configure]". By default, all the checkboxes on the left of the screen are pre-checked, so that Registry Mechanic will scan all areas of the computer for errors.

Registry Mechanic: Scan Now

The scan process was rather quick. I was very surprised to find that Registry Mechanic reported 234 errors on my machine, considering that it is only a few weeks old -- and I haven't installed very many applications!

Registry Mechanic: Repair

Upon completion of the scanning process, Registry Mechanic launched a new window and subdivided all the errors it found on my system into a number of categories. The categories allowed me to "zero in" on specific Registry problems on my system. Registry Mechanic repaired the items I chose when I clicked the Repair button.

Registry Mechanic: Restoring from Backup

Registry Mechanic can create backups of the Registry before applying any changes. In the unlikely event that a Registry recovery is necessary, Registry Mechanic offers a simple recovery solution: click the Backup button in the main window, locate the backup associated with the previous Registry repair, choose the desired backup, and then click Restore.


Registry Mechanic makes it easy for anyone -- including Newbies -- to eliminate potential pitfalls which can lead to system instability and performance degradation. I especially like the fact that Registry Mechanic allows the user to backup and restore a previously healthy registry. Registry Mechanic is an incredibly easy to use program, requiring very little interaction to get the job done. For this reason, I would highly recommend Registry Mechanic for anyone wishing to maintain a clean Registry.

Registry Mechanic: Download

Registry Mechanic is trialware: which means that you can try it, but some aspects of the software are restricted. The full version of Registry Mechanic is reasonably priced at $29.95 USD. Click below to download your copy of Registry Mechanic today!

Update 02 / 23 / 2005: Registry Mechanic 4.0 has just been released. Click here to read the in depth review of Registry Mechanic 4 online our web site (includes screenshots)!

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