The worst has happened.
You are trying to finish up those reports for your boss when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, everything on your PC just stops. There's a blink, and suddenly the monitor is filled with a sea of deep blue and a cryptic message you could not possibly understand.
After copious research (on your neighbor's computer) which involves typing in the full-text of the error you've encountered into the search engines, you come across a few possibilities. There is always the potential of spyware or adware ruining your system one way or another, but you've updated your virus definitions and have thoroughly scanned your PC for signs of those malevolent intruders. You've also been running something like adAware and to date, nothing malignant has shown up.
But there's one thing you have not yet considered – the Windows registry. Recovery of this component of the Windows operating system is not too difficult, but before we look at repairing it, let's take a closer look at just what it is.
Stuck for a way to track all the program preferences, driver settings, and operating system selections, the original designers of Windows thread out the simple text file idea (now used in Linux and Mac operating systems), and opted for a centralized database which effectively stores all of this information in a hierarchical set of "keys."
It was a good theory, but there was no way these same designers could see just how poorly it would work in practice. One of the unintended consequences became identical as people began to try out new programs. They'd install one here, remove one there, put in a new printer, download a new driver, and so on. Unfortunately, once a program or driver wrote all its entries into the Windows registry, these entries were intended to STAY there, no matter if the program was removed, updated, or altered.
Serious errors would then occur as fragments or remnants of programs in the registry attempted to access protected memory. These errors would manifest themselves as "illegal operation" messages, or, more frighteningly, as a Blue Screen of Death. As such, it became important to find a way to implement a complete Windows registry recovery as quickly as possible.
But how is this done?
For one, you could try to isolate the error (be it an exporer.exe, a svchost, kernel32.dll, or other error) by using the "regedit" command in the command line and attempting to locate the offending registry entry. This is fraud with risks and in fact the very registry errors we want to be rid of can be easily created by inexperienced users accessing the registry.
The only way to implement a full windows registry recovery is to run a scan of the registry with third party software. Strangely enough, even though this is a glaring Microsoft issue, the gang at Redmond has never seen fit to police itself on this matter.
There are a wide range of software options on the market. Look for something that will scan automatically, defragment and compact the registry, and back up your current registry before it removes anything. You should be up and running again in fifteen minutes or less.