Uniblue Registry Booster 2010 Review
A few of the most common registry issues we come across are file extension issues, uninstall entries for software already removed, run entries for software removed and recently opened files that are no longer present. So in this test, we will intentionally create or introduce these type of registry errors to see whether Registry Booster catches and repairs them.
The tests are as follows:
File Extension – Quite often when installing a new media player, image editor or so on and later decide to uninstall it, the uninstaller fails to restore the associate the file extensions back to the previous applications they were associated with. To create this error, we made a copy of the notepad executable to the desktop, calling it “note.exe” and associated text files (ending in ‘.txt’) with it. We then deleted “note.exe”, which now causes text files to bring up an “Open with” dialogue box:
Run entry – We added an entry to (HKCU > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Run) to “C:\blablabla.exe”, which is a non-existent executable file. Missing entries here don’t tend to cause any noticeable issue, but can build up over time, making it difficult to tell which run entries are necessary or not, let alone whether they exist!
Recent files – We plugged in a memory card, opened random files from the card in various applications and then removed the memory card. Over time, this type of activity leads to a build-up of recently opened file entries that point to non-present media and can either lead to applications taking longer than usual to launch or display “Disk not present” errors such as the following:
Uninstall – Quite often when uninstalling software, the software may be uninstalled but the uninstall entry is left behind. This can also happen when installing newer versions of software and the uninstall entry for the previous version gets left over in the registry. So to create a registry error for this, we exported a registry entry for an existing software uninstall entry (Media Player Classic), modified a few digits in the CLSID key name to create a new uninstall entry, changed the paths to fake paths (e.g. changed ‘MPC’ to ‘MPC5’), changed the name to “Registry Booster test” and imported this into the registry:
Registry scan results
We ran Registry Booster and to our surprise during its scan, it started asking us to insert a disk:
We clicked “Cancel” and the message came up again. We kept clicking “Cancel”, counting the number of times we clicked “Cancel” and it stopped appearing after clicking it 50 times. This is a message that really should not appear during the scan, not to mention this many times! We wouldn’t be surprised if some users assume the scanner is stuck after the 10th or so attempt to cancel this error. We repeated the scan, this time clicking “Continue” instead of trying to cancel, but we still had to click the continue button 50 times before the message stopped appearing.
The scan results are as follows:
Going by the test results, we noticed it found the invalid run entry and various files we opened from the memory card, which we then removed:
However, we didn’t see any mention of the invalid text file association or the bad uninstall entry. We just went ahead with the cleaning:
Registry cleaning test results
To see whether it fixed our registry errors, we checked for the presence of each issue:
File extension test: Failed
We double-clicked a text file and still got the “Open with” dialogue:
The following shows the problem “.txt” entry in the registry:
The following shows where “note.exe” is supposed to be launched, which is the executable we removed to cause this issue:
Run entry test: Passed
The “Blablabla.exe” entry has been confirmed removed.
Recent files test: Passed
There was no sign of any of the files we opened from the memory card in the registry. Note that this does not fix cached entries which are not stored in the registry. For example, GIMP and Opera cache recently opened files and will display “No Disk” errors if the media is not present when launching the applications, however, these two applications do not store these recent file entries in the registry.
Uninstall entry test: Failed
The uninstall entry we created for a non-existent software CLSID with false paths is still present:
The following shows the registry entry still present with the invalid “UninstallString” path highlighted:
Clean installation scanning test
After noticing how all our test PCs showed a high level damage report, we were curious to see what a clean installation would be like. So we created a new Virtual PC and carried out a clean installation of Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3 using a retail, unmodified Windows installation CD:
As this installation is carried out in Virtual PC, there was no need to install any third party drivers or utilities. So the first thing we did was carry out the Windows updates:
After the updates were installed, we rebooted and allowed it to install any further updates. After we noticed no further update messages, we went to Microsoft’s Windows update page to verify all the updates were installed. We did not install any optional updates:
Finally, we downloaded Registry Booster and let it carry out a scan:
While it’s not surprising to see some registry errors in a totally clean Windows installation, we were very surprised to see how high the damage level meter was. Since these are the results for a clean installation, this makes this meter rather unhelpful, as everyone will get at least a moderate level damage level report even if their system is brand new or has just had a clean Windows installation put. We would imagine that by the time all the third party drivers are put on as well as an antivirus package, the additional registry errors will most likely push both the system and user related error meters up to the ‘high’ mark.