Looking through the Microsoft knowledge base, I stumbled upon this neat little list of the most popular KB articles of the last three months. Through these popularity ratings, you can see the information that most people are looking for, and this can give you a vague idea of the most common problems encountered.
Number 17 on the latest chart is an article describing the manual solution for a corrupted registry.
For those among us who are less familiar with the way the operating system works – The registry contains almost every configuration setting in Windows XP; core operating system settings (Hardware settings, passwords, system file locations, drivers and services) are stored alongside custom user settings and software installations. It consists of a set of files (not readable in regular text editors) which are an easy target for viruses and malware, since they can do a lot of damage with very little effort!
The solution suggested in this post is a rather lengthy process, and requires you to be familiar with fairly advanced tools – recovery console, command line tools, etc.
Even if you are a power user or technician, this process will get you up and running with a clean copy of the registry – as it was when you first installed XP! This means you’re gonna have to install all your hardware and software from scratch!
Although I am hardly objective about the product I helped develop (it’s my baby!! 🙂 ), here are two FACTS about Reimage:
1. Reimage fixes this problem automatically and then proceeds to address other issues!!
2. Reimage will save as much information as possible – in over %90 of cases, nothing needs to be reinstalled!!
25 minutes, no hassle, no “know-how” (Just find yourself another PC and get our boot CD), and other problems repaired along the way vs. hours and hours hassling with a command line tool and reinstalling your stuff. You decide. 🙂