I have tried several apps trying to clean up my registry hoping that that would straighten out my driver issues and none of them helped. I was also hoping that would help me diagnose my lack of info in device manager. I am fearing virus, or malware I'm thinking my registry is corrupt. what should I do?


This is an incomplete answer, but...

I believe you might indeed have "overcleaned" your registry. Registry isn't something you should play with too much unless you really know what you're doing.

  • If it's malware, a good, thorough scan on startup from any good security program should do the job fine. I personally like Avast! Free ( http://www.avast.com/ ). But I sort of doubt this is the issue.

  • Your easiest, most fail-proof solution is using a Windows restore point from before you started to play with the registry. Do you have one?

  • Running the Windows repair tool might solve your problem. I think you can run that from the Windows installation disc.

  • Perhaps running an automatic third-party driver updating utility would solve the issue, by making your system go "oh, but I HAVE DEVICES!" But I doubt it.

  • This page seems to have good tips for fixing registry issues: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc751047.aspx

I think you should keep yourself mentally ready for an eventual need to format your computer and reinstall Windows. Registry issues are serious issues, especially if you're not sure what you did (the programs did the cleaning, and you probably don't know all they did precisely), and even more especially if you're not a pro.

I can't guarantee you'll be able to fix the issue, or that something dramatic won't happen when trying to fix it. Probably not - according to me, either you'll fix it, either you won't but won't have any effect - but maybe.

So this might be considered overly prudent, but I think you should backup your essential files before continuing. Just in case. Because playing with the registry is sort of like playing with fire.

"regardless of your skill level, you can inadvertently make a change to the registry that will destroy Windows", says the page I linked.

  • 1
    If you can't do a system restore, it's likely you'll have to back up your data and reinstall Windows. Don't bother with registry cleaning tools, they cause more harm than good. – Bigbio2002 Jan 9 '13 at 5:05
  • sfc /scannow from an elevated cmd prompt might also help in case of corrupted system files. – Karan Jan 9 '13 at 18:37

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