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7630 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 20, 2010 10:16 AM by Quinion RSS Branched to a new discussion.
cranheim Newcomer 12 posts since
Dec 25, 2004
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 31, 2010 7:03 PM

Quick Clean of Registry

I am running McAfee Security Center 10, Virus Scan 14, and Quick Clean 10 under Windows XP SP3. I have never selected to do a Clean Registry under the PC Clean option. I heard doing a clean registry my improve my PC performance, and possibly fix some registry errors. Is this something that is safe to run without risk? If running it causes any system problems in my PC, is there any way to restore it from McAfee? I ask these questions because I have heard many horror stories of what can happen if the registry is incorrect.

Thanks for any help you can give me.  Charles Ranheim

  • Hayton Volunteer Moderator 4,602 posts since
    Sep 27, 2010
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    1. Nov 1, 2010 12:30 AM (in response to cranheim)
    Re: Quick Clean of Registry

    You seem to have the same setup as I do. In the settings on mine for Quick Clean I don't see the option for Registry Clean, but it does it anyway so maybe it's one of those things that you can't undo once it's set (which I would say is a definite bug in the program, but never mind). One feature of it that I don't like is that Quick Clean tells you nothing before, during or afterwards about what gets deleted - just the total number of files - so if it changes anything in the registry you won't know what it's done.

     

    If you don't need to clear anything from the registry, my advice is to leave it alone. In this I am following Microsoft's advice, as given in a couple of their KnowledgeBase articles. Basically, any performance improvement from stripping out registry items is going to be small, and the risks from using an over-enthusiastic registry cleaning tool are potentially considerable. If you're going to do it anyway, go to the Microsoft site and download the Live OneCare Safety Scanner, and let that examine your registry for problems : it's a Microsoft tool, it will be configured for your OS, and it will be more trustworthy than most 3rd-party offerings.

     

    The dangers of messing with the registry are not to be underestimated. Get it wrong and your system could become unstable; at worst, removing the wrong (but crucial) item could crash the system entirely. The rule is, you (or a registry cleaner program) should do as little as possible in the registry, and only remove things which are both unnecessary and safe to remove.

     

    As for the host of patented registry cleaners out there the rule is, don't try anything unless you have at least one acquaintance who has already tried it out. Let someone else be the test pilot. And don't buy any of them - there are some (a few) which are pretty trustworthy, and are also free.

     

    One last point : before any changes are made to the registry, by you or by a program, the registry should be backed up so that you can restore a working version if anything that is changed or deleted causes problems. I believe the McAfee Quick Clean does this, but I'm not sure. The McAfee Help for this topic says nothing about doing a registry backup.

     

    If you want to see what the Microsoft view is about cleaning up the registry, have a look at any of the following :

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Are-registry-cleaners-necessary

     

    http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vistaperformance/thread/3d44e2a 1-4796-41c3-a062-7b9f3f8f6899

     

    http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7files/thread/17337af2-a887-4f 5e-b15f-67f71e8c352b

     

    And to prove just how inconsistent people can be, I use CCleaner and Glary Registry Cleaner as well as the Live OneCare scanner to mess with my own registry. But then I know how to go in with the scalpel and do delicate surgery using the Registry Editor. And I always, always, take a backup.


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  • Hayton Volunteer Moderator 4,602 posts since
    Sep 27, 2010
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    3. Nov 1, 2010 9:21 PM (in response to cranheim)
    Re: Quick Clean of Registry

    Okay, one small correction to what I said : the Clean Registry option is there in the settings, I overlooked it. McAfee does not give you the option of reviewing any of its registry changes, and says nothing about making a backup  - nor about undoing registry changes.

     

    I would advise that you run the Microsoft Cleanup tool from Live OneCare, which is a safe way to clean your registry. It's safe, anyway, because it does make a backup before it makes changes. It also lists the registry errors it finds before making changes, and allows you to unselect things you don't want it to do. And also, of course, it's tailored for your operating system so it won't delete things needed for XP to work; and it's relatively restrained - working on the basis that 'less is better'. Beware of over-enthusiastic 'deep-cleaner' programs that are more likely to remove registry items that you really don't want to lose.

     

    If you're worried about getting into a situation where you might need to undo changes, I think you should practice making a system restore point and then going back to it using System Restore.

     

    Let me know if you have any problems .... I've been meaning to try this out for myself for ages now :-)

     

     

    Message was edited by: Hayton on 02/11/10 02:21:53 GMT

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  • trentonclark Newcomer 1 posts since
    Nov 12, 2010
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    4. Mar 1, 2011 5:36 AM (in response to cranheim)
    Re: Quick Clean of Registry

    Yes, I also heard that cleaning the registry can help optimize PC performance and remove those corrupt registry files. It's relatively safe compared to editing something in the registry using regedit. Where do you see the registry clean option? I do not remember encountering that option on my mcafee.

     

    However, registry entries can become corrupt, deleted or duplicated without you doing anything. Viruses are the ones responsible for it, and they sometimes attack mcafee itself to cause serious problems. My computer suffered a fatal exception error one time and doing a little research suggested using a  mcafee registry cleaner to cure the error.

     

    on 3/1/11 5:36:48 AM CST
  • Hayton Volunteer Moderator 4,602 posts since
    Sep 27, 2010
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    5. Nov 12, 2010 10:24 PM (in response to trentonclark)
    Re: Quick Clean of Registry

    I appreciate the input, but the link hidden behind "mcafee registry cleaner" was to a site rated Red by McAfee. Every review on the SiteAdvisor page was a warning not to go there or download anything from the site, especially their RegCure registry cleaner.  Ironic that the link was to a page extolling the virtues of McAfee.

     

    Yes,  I appreciate that registry entries can become corrupted by malware. But many registry cleaners do more harm than good, by stripping out entries that should be left alone. Microsoft advises that in normal circumstances it is best not to tinker with the registry. If you must, find a registry cleaner that has a good reputation and preferably one that errs on the side of caution. A lot of the registry cleaners touted around the internet are a waste of time and may be useless or, worse, dangerous. And even the most thorough registry cleaner is going to make a negligible impact on your performance once Windows has finished installing. You might get a slightly faster startup, and that's about it.

     

    Using regedit is only for those who know what they're doing, and even then it is imperative to backup the registry first. Changes can't be undone otherwise.

     

    The McAfee registry clean option is in the Navigation section of Security Center - see the screenshot. It never tells you what it has deleted, it just does it. That's why I don't much like it.

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  • Quinion Newcomer 11 posts since
    Apr 20, 2010
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    6. Nov 17, 2010 2:38 PM (in response to Hayton)
    Re: Quick Clean of Registry

    I have run "Windows Live One Care Safety Scanner" and it returns two registry errors it can’t fix:-

    HKLM\Software\McAfee\MSC\NMC\Url

    HKLM\Software\McAfee\MSC2056\NMC\Url

    Anybody any idea why...?

  • Hayton Volunteer Moderator 4,602 posts since
    Sep 27, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Nov 17, 2010 3:35 PM (in response to Quinion)
    Re: Quick Clean of Registry

    On my XP the Live OneCare scanner repeatedly finds five McAfee registry entries it can't fix. This has been going on since about the time of the 2010 update, but doesn't seem to have any impact on McAfee's performance (at least I hope not).

     

    Possibly these are locked entries relating to the 2009 version? It might be possible to cross-reference the entries in the registry with entries in the McAfee log files if you know where to look, and when I did look I saw quite a lot of error messages in different files. I decided to leave them alone since Security Center seems to be OK and MVT reports no problems.

     

    I'm still curious though as to why these registry entries can't be removed, so I join with you in asking if anyone knows why.


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  • Ex_Brit Volunteer Moderator 59,642 posts since
    May 6, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Nov 17, 2010 4:07 PM (in response to Hayton)
    Re: Quick Clean of Registry

    It's probably due to Access Protection being turned on in McAfee SecurityCenter.  This is supposed to stop anything from meddling with McAfee files.

     

    You can turn it off but I wouldn't recommend running another antivirus scanner anyway as that can lead to disaster.  Antispyware yes, but not antivirus.

     

    To turn off Access protection double-click the taskbar icon (or right-click) to open SecurityCenter

     

    Click Navigation (top right)

     

    Click General Settings and Alerts (left)

     

    Click Access Protection to expand that drawer and uncheck that item, then click Apply.

     

    Don't forget to re-enable it.

     

     

    Message was edited by: Ex_Brit on 17/11/10 4:07:07 CST PM

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  • Quinion Newcomer 11 posts since
    Apr 20, 2010
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    9. Nov 20, 2010 10:16 AM (in response to Ex_Brit)
    Re: Quick Clean of Registry

    Yesssss....!!!!

    I ran the One Care Clean Up Scan and it showed the two non-fixable errors.

    Then I disabled Access Protection and re-ran the Clean Up Scan.

    This time it fixed both errors..!

    Many thanks for that (and I remembered to re-enable Access Protection).

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