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   ► KBIT Water-Coo...Windows Users   Print This     
  From the February 2016 Issue of Prestwood eMag
Windows Users:
Clean Start Menu and Registry Entries
Posted 13 years ago on 3/16/2005 and updated 12/13/2006
Take Away: Second article of the series, Windows XP Tip of the Month. Optimize your operating system for faster performance.


Windows XP Tip of the Month

Clean Up Your Start Menu and Registry
by Vicki Nelson

In this article we will concentrate on cleaning up your Start Menu and Registry entries.  If you have been following our series of articles to speed up your computer and you performed the steps in the last eMagazine, “Disable Unused Windows Services”, you have probably already witnessed the increased performance.  Follow the steps outlined below to further optimize your operating system. 

Increased performance is not the only reason you should clean up your Windows Registry.  Many viruses, worms, spyware, and adware attach to these registry entries in order to load simultaneously with Windows.  Checking these registry entries occasionally, and especially after installing new applications or downloading files, should be a regular part of your computer maintenance. 

So let’s get started. 

Step one:  Do not display deletion confirmation. 

Windows Shortcut key – D to minimize all applications and bring the cursor to your Desktop.  Refer to the article “Cool Windows Shortcut Keys” for a refresher course on these keys. 

Note:  This step is optional.  If you do not want to see the confirmation dialog box, perform this step.  If you want the added security of confirming a deletion, skip this step. 

Right-click Recycle Bin / select Properties. 
Check the box next to 'Display delete confirmation dialog'.  Apply / OK

Step Two:  Clean up your Startup folder.
Note 1:  Deleting this shortcut will not delete the program. 
Note 2:  If you have antivirus or firewall programs listed in the Startup folder, do not delete them.  

Click Start / Programs, click on Startup.  The goal is to have as few programs in here as possible.  Of course you wouldn't want to delete your firewall or antivirus applications, but keep in mind that all the programs in the Startup folder are started automatically each time you run windows.  Some of these programs you don't need running all the time.  You can still run them from the start menu any time you need to.  If there is nothing in your Startup menu it will say “(Empty)”. 

Right click on each item in Startup that you don't want to load automatically, and select Delete. 

Clean Registry Entries

There are two ways to do this.  If you feel comfortable with the Registry Editor, follow these steps.  If not, you can use the System Configuration Utility window which is detailed following this section. 

Step One:  Click on Start / Run
Type “regedit” - click on OK 

Step Two:  Expand the following folders: 
                    Run – click to open this folder

All the items in the list on the right pane will start automatically every time you start your computer.  Deleting the unnecessary items from this list will not remove the corresponding application from your computer, you can still start the program, it just won’t start automatically (you probably already knew that but it’s worth mentioning). 

Repeat this procedure for all of the Run folders in the following list. 
Note 1:  Don’t worry if your computer doesn’t have this complete list, it depends on your version of Windows. 
Note 2:  Do not delete programs associated with your antivirus or firewall. 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ RunOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ RunOnceEx
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ RunServices
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ RunServicesOnce
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer \ Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ WindowsNT \ CurrentVersion \ Winlogon \ Userinit

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ RunServices
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ RunServicesOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer \ Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ WindowsNT \ CurrentVersion \ Windows \ Load

System Configuration Utility

Alternate method of cleaning your registry: 

Click Start / Run
Type “msconfig”

Click on the Startup tab to see the startup items loading with Windows. 
Uncheck the items to disable them.


Whether you use the first or second method, don’t forget to reboot for the changes to occur.    It’s kind of like an oil and filter change for your car … your computer will thank you by running better.   


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