Microsoft didn't provide in a regclean utility for Windows XP, like they did for Windows 98/ME (download from CNET). Although you are not advised to use the Windows 98/ME Regclean tool for Windows XP, many people report to have no problems (including myself). If something goes wrong, you can undo the cleaning by double clicking the stored undo registry file.
I have tried a lot of other registry clean tools, but I didn't find a 100% risk free registry cleaning tool yet.... If Windows XP has been installed recently, there is not much to clean, and with an image of your system you don't need a cleaning tool in the future. The only thing left is defragmenting the registry, which can be done with NT Registry Optimizer.
The setup of Regclean is easy. After Regclean is started, you will see the following on your screen. Clicking the Start button starts the registry analyzing process. When Regclean is ready, you are asked to Fix Errors. To make it possible to undo the registry changes, a undo registry file will be placed in the same folder as the Regclean tool (double click this file to restore registry settings).
After you have cleaned the registry, you should defrag the registry, which is more important then registry cleaning. Spoken normally, you can diminish the registry by at least 10 percent. Registry defragmenting doesn't delete anything, it just makes a smaller registry with the same information. This saves a lot of memory, which is important for the performance of your system.
The freeware utility NT Registry Optimizer (download: www.snapfiles.com/get/ntregopt.html) is the a very useful tool to realize the registry defragmentation. First the NT Registry Optimizer application calculates the possible size reduction, which will be realized after a reboot. In this case the registry will be reduced by 10% (click Yes to reboot).
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