How to Clean Up a Start-Up Registry

by Jonathan Croswell

No matter what you try, you just can't seem to avoid your personal computer's start-up time taking longer and longer. This is an almost unavoidable consequence of operating systems--with time, they collect more programs, more files to load, and eventually slow down until you're wondering what's broken. There are many simple ways to improve your PC's load time, but in extreme cases, you may have to go into the registry and do some housecleaning. But before you enter this part of your computer, make sure you know what you're doing.

Click Start on the toolbar and open Run. Type "regedit" in the open field. Press Enter.

Locate the entry labeled HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE on the left side of the registry editor. Click the plus sign.

Scroll down the expanded directory until you find the subdirectory labeled SOFTWARE. Click the plus sign.

Repeat the same steps to locate the MICROSOFT subdirectory, expand it, and find the WINDOWS subdirectory, open it, and locate CURRENT VERSION.

Find RUN in the CURRENT VERSION directory. You will find the files that load during start-up.

Locate the files you wish to get rid of and press DELETE. If you are unfamiliar with the purpose of a specific file, do an Internet search to determine its purpose before deleting it.

Close the registry editor when you are done and restart your computer.


  • check Don't try to tackle complex problems like the registry before approaching simpler ones: Check what programs automatically start up when you turn on your computer. Some, like MSN Messenger, are not necessary to load your operating system. You can go into these programs and unselect the automatic start-up option. This will increase your PC's start-up time.


  • close Before going into the registry, it's wise to back up all your files on an external or backup hard drive. One mistake in the registry could send your whole computer crashing.

Items you will need


About the Author

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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