Is Compacting the Registry Safe & Worthwhile?
April 8, 2007 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Is compacting the registry safe & a good thing to do? will it improve performance and speed things up? What specifically would this to for me? I'm using Registry Mechanic on a windows XP machine.
posted by Richiedude to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't know for sure just what you're doing, and it involves the registry, you probably shouldn't be doing it.
posted by oaf at 6:36 PM on April 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

Near as I can figure out it just saves disk space. It won't speed things up significantly. Don't do it. Don't screw around with the registry without backing up first. In fact, just don't do it at all, like oaf said.
posted by grouse at 6:42 PM on April 8, 2007

Agree 100% with the previous two posts, but with one note:

If "compacting" includes "cleaning" of any kind, *and* if your particular install is more than a few years old without any major cleans or upgrades, it may help out in certain situations such as startup, shutdown, and detecting/managing new hardware, especially if you've changed or replaced lots of software or hardware over time.

But, in general, it's still a seldom-if-ever recommended operation.
posted by abulafa at 7:34 PM on April 8, 2007

The Windows registry is like a mini file system, so, just like a regular file system, there is the possibility for fragmentation. My guess is that your registry compressor is really a defragmenter. If that is the case then yes, there would be a theoretical performance improvement.

However, my guess is that the performance advantage would be slight, while the opportunities for destroying your registry are great. I recommend against it.
posted by event at 8:33 PM on April 8, 2007

I've been running Mark Russinovich's PageDefrag at boot for a couple of years now without problems. Anecdotally, it certainly seems to have helped in keeping the machine snappy - not so much because it defrags the page file (I use a fixed size & contiguous pagefile anyway), but because it defrags the registry hives.

After running it on a few machines I've fixed for friends, I can say if your registry is highly fragmented it will make much more than a slight difference.
posted by Pinback at 4:54 AM on April 9, 2007

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