Dave-H

Puzzling Registry Size Issue

145 posts in this topic

Thanks all, especially to eidenk and dencorso for all their contributions to this thread.

As the thread starter, I'm sorry I haven't contributed to it recently, but I wasn't getting any e-mail notification of replies for some reason.

One development, that I have now noticed on my system, is that the boot problem actually seems to appear in two stages.

I was always getting the VFAT error BSOD on startup if system.dat got too big, and I've been trying to prune it down as much as possible, both by using automatic compacting programs, and by careful manual editing.

If the system.dat file size is below around 12.5MB the system boots fine.

If it gets above that, but still below about 12.7MB, the system doesn't blue screen on startup, but just stops on a flashing DOS cursor after the splash screen, and never goes any further.

Above about 12.7MB system.dat size, the VFAT error BSOD appears.

I don't know if this gives anyone any further clue as to what's actually happening here.

I'm still looking at removing all software that writes a lot of registry data, and which I don't use much, to work around the problem, and get the registry size down to a level where I don't have to keep worrying about the system failing to boot all the time!

I read that the .NET framework is a big registry data writer, and I have both v1.1 and v2 installed.

I still need 1.1 as I know that I have software which I don't want to uninstall which uses it.

I am thinking of removing v2 though, as I suspect that alone has written a lot of registry keys.

Does anyone know what sort of applications might need .NET v2 as opposed to v1.1?

Thanks everyone. :thumbup

Dave.

Edited by Dave-H
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[...]

I read that the .NET framework is a big registry data writer, and I have both v1.1 and v2 installed.

I still need 1.1 as I know that I have software which I don't want to uninstall which uses it.

I am thinking of removing v2 though, as I suspect that alone has written a lot of registry keys.

Does anyone know what sort of applications might need .NET v2 as opposed to v1.1?

I doubt you'll be able to uninstall .NET v.2 alone cleanly. What I'd do, were I you:

1)Make a fresh image of the whole systems partition, just in case...

2)Make two backups of the registry.

3)Clean the registry up with TonyArts EasyClean, then Wise Registry Cleaner .

4)Remove both .NETs using Control Panel -> Add/Remove.

5)Clean the registry up after removal with Aaron Stebner's cleanup tool.

6)Remove any remaining directories/files related to .NET under \Program Files and \%windir%.

7)Clean once again the registry up with TonyArts EasyClean, then Wise Registry Cleaner .

9)Compress the registry with Registry Compactor (for a link see eidenk's posts above).

10)Reinstall .NET v.1.1

11)Compress the registry with Registry Compactor.

12)Compare the sizes of SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT with both .NETs, without both and with v 1.1 alone, to see whether it was worth it, and how much registry hungry .NET really is.

I can assure you this procedure from (1) to (9) works perfectly, because that's how I removed .NET from my own system. And (10) to (12) should be OK also. But for (12) to be fair, you should compress the registry after (3), and take note of the sizes of the .DATs before .NETs removal at this point, on afterthought.

Good luck! :yes: ...and keep us posted about it.

Edited by dencorso
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Try this trick. Boot to a safe mode command prompt then enter CD C:\ at the prompt to get to the root directory. Next, enter regedit /e backup.txt and wait for the command prompt to return, or for an error message. If you get an error, the registry is really fouled up. You can name the .txt file whatever you want.

When the command prompt returns, enter regedit /c backup.txt For this process you get a % counter that will roll up to 100% and return to the command prompt if there's no error. If there is an error, the original Registry is left unchanged.

What these two steps do is first export all valid Registry data, then restore it- replacing the old Registry when you reboot to Windows.

Do note that this functionality in regedit for Windows 95 and 95a is broken, but there's a 95b regedit hacked to accept the original 95/95a version check as valid and it works for this just fine.

This trick will also shrink the Registry, sometimes quite a lot if you've installed several programs that don't remove their temporary junk.

What it couldn't cure for me one time was when there was a single bad character in one bit of data in the Registry. The export would choke on it and I couldn't find a way to delete that key, so I got to wipe and reinstall- not even using all the Win98 setup.exe switches to force it to overwrite as much as possible fixed it. Had it been Windows 95, reinstalling over itself would've fixed it because (AFAIK) 95 preserves none of the old Registry. That was before programs like CrapCleaner and similar 3rd party Registry utilities were available.

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Here's a very simple batch file to help monitor the System.dat/User.dat sizes:

datsizes.bat

===========================

@echo off

dir %windir%\system.dat > #123#.tmp

dir %windir%\user.dat >> #123#.tmp

type #123#.tmp | find /i ".dat"

del #123#.tmp

===========================

HTH

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Well, I have uninstalled .NET v2, which seemed to go OK, and removed an awful lot of registry keys.

My system.dat file went from 12.689MB (which is right on the edge of allowing the system to boot!) to 12.333MB.

Obviously worth having, but not as big a reduction as I had hoped considering that there had been over 1500 keys associated with .NET v2! This has now gone down to about 50 keys which still reference the .NET v2 folder.

The registry compacter that I use routinely is part of the optimisation facility that came with Norton Utilities 2002.

There do seem to be many others around, are any of them likely to be better than the Norton one?

There was no change in the system.dat file size until I ran the optimisation wizard, so presumably the deleted keys just leave empty space until that is done.

I do have the TonyArts EasyCleaner (v2.0.6.380) so I will have a go with that.

I was disappointed that I only reduced the system.dat size by a few 100 KBs of size be removing .NET v2.

I had been hoping for more. What I really want is to reduce it by a couple of MB, but I don't see how i can possibly do that without removing a lot of stuff that I actually still want to be able to use!

eidenk said on Nov 11th that he got 6MB out of the registry by manual pruning.

I can't imagine that I would ever be able to remove anywhere near that amount of data without crippling the whole system!

:)

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Have you tried MRU blaster to clear out the usage records? It does also wipe those userassist entries mentioned earlier. I have to wonder how much of your registry is being used up by usage tracking as I have most of the apps you're removing, including Net2.0 and Real Player, and my system.dat is 6.29MB.

Rick

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:hello: Here are my results:

before doing anything:

SYSTEM DAT 8.593.440 17/11/07 20:42 SYSTEM.DAT

USER DAT 1.777.696 17/11/07 20:42 USER.DAT

after Norton WinDoctor 7.0.22, UserAss 1.2, oleclean 1.4, EasyCleaner 2.0, RegSeeker 1.55, Wise Registry Cleaner 2.95 and Registry Compactor:

SYSTEM DAT 7.757.856 18/11/07 0:05 SYSTEM.DAT

USER DAT 1.523.744 18/11/07 0:06 USER.DAT

after one day of use:

SYSTEM DAT 7.790.624 19/11/07 2:46 SYSTEM.DAT

USER DAT 1.642.528 19/11/07 3:13 USER.DAT

after Norton WinDoctor 7.0.22, UserAss 1.2, oleclean 1.4, EasyCleaner 2.0, RegSeeker 1.55, Wise Registry Cleaner 2.95 and Registry Compactor:

SYSTEM DAT 7.761.952 19/11/07 20:59 SYSTEM.DAT

USER DAT 1.523.744 19/11/07 20:59 USER.DAT

So:

system.dat and user.dat shrank about 10% each just on junk removal! :thumbup Of course, here, YMMV!

And, as the junk accumulates again, new junk removal restores them to (about) the same clean sizes.

Notes:

1) I only removed the GREEN findings with RegSeeker and with Wise Registry Cleaner, and, even then, did so selectively.

2) I do have two backups of the registry, from immediately before I started, although, so far, everything seems OK.

3) I used the Registry Concentrator provided by eidenk (Thanks again, eidenk!) with Options -> Before -> Force reconstruction in case of Ghost keys selected.

PS: I've yet to try my hand at COMView...

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Well, I'm still at it!

Got the system.dat file down to 12.269MB now.......

:thumbup

Checked with TonyArts EasyCleaner, which showed all green lights, no spurious entries.

I would have been surprised if there had been, as I've always regularly checked the registry with Norton Windoctor, which does the same thing, and removed or corrected any invalid entries.

Thought I would go into DOS and try a scanreg /fix routine, just to see if that made any difference.

It got to 78% complete, and then told me -

"Windows found an error in your system files and was unable to fix the problem. Try deleting some files to free up disk space on your Windows drive. If that doesn't work then you will need to install Windows in a new directory."

What a load of rubbish! I certainly hope that nobody has actually reinstalled Windows in a new directory as a result of this nonsense. I assume that it failed because, as was mentioned earlier, scanreg chokes on any registry bigger than 8MB, which as far as I can see makes it completely useless, at least in my scenario!

I will backup the files now and see if clearing the MRU and run data helps.........

:)

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Dave-H, don't stop at Easy Cleaner! It and Norton WinDoctor are the light weights, although, nonetheless, important.

The real heavy weights are the others. I bet they'll find things to yank off your registry. Do at least two passes with all of Norton WinDoctor, UserAss 1.2, oleclean 1.4, EasyCleaner, RegSeeker 1.55, Wise Registry Cleaner 2.95 and Registry Compactor, in this order. RegSeeker and the Wise Registry Cleaner rank their findings as "safe to remove" (green) and "probably not safe to remove" (orange or red), so, to remain on the safe side, just remove the green findings on both. If you get to take out 10% like I did, it'll still amount to 1.2 MB...

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dencorso, thank you so much!

:thumbup

I have downloaded and deployed all the tools you mention, except UserAss 1.2, which I couldn't find anywhere to download.

My searches only kept coming back to http://www.utdallas.edu/~jbs024000/software/index.html which doesn't seem to work any more.

Do you know anywhere else I can download it from?

I've removed all the UserAssist keys from my registry manually anyway, and I assume that's all it does.

Registry Compactor only actually compacts the registry if you pay for it, but even without its full functionality it's worth having to tell you how much empty space there is in the registry.

I assume that the Norton Optimisation Wizard, which I have been using for ages, does exactly the same job.

My starting point was with system.dat at 12,273MB.

I've now got it down to 11,677MB.

The biggest drop was when I ran oleclean, when it dropped from 12,273 to 11,801.

I couldn't believe how many invalid entries there were!

Obviously I'd like to get it down to a bit smaller than that, but that will do for now!

Thanks again!

:)

Edited by Dave-H
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You're welcome, Dave-H! I'm glad to know it worked :thumbup

Yes, the downloads section on Helamonster's page doesn't work anymore. But, while it is highly unusual for the Internet Archive to cache applications, this is just the case for UserAss 1.2! To download it just click on this link (in fact, you missed it, it's the same link I posted in post # 23 above, all you had to do was to click on the underlined UserAss and it would have started to download...). If, for some reason, you are not able to get it in this way, PM me and I'll upload it somewhere and post here the link.

Registry Compactor only actually compacts the registry if you pay for it, but even without its full functionality it's worth having to tell you how much empty space there is in the registry.

I assume that the Norton Optimisation Wizard, which I have been using for ages, does exactly the same job.

I guess you got the wrong Registry Compactor. The japanese program translated by eidenk is freeware and does not require you to pay anything. But, although it seems to attain slightly higher compressions (i. e. better optimizations) than the Norton Optimisation Wizard, at the end of the day, it's about the same thing. There is a link for an archive containing it along with another utility and documentation in eidenks's post # 26.
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Thanks again, I had missed that link to UserAss.

Got it now!

The Registry Compactor program that I found is here http://www.majorgeeks.com/Registry_Compactor_d3504.html

Seems to do the same job I suspect, especially now I've er, enabled it! :whistle:

I also found a program called "Registry Space Profiler" which I found very useful.

You can find it here - http://www.tliquest.net/software/rsp/

It shows the sizes of the various sections of the registry, so you can see what's taking up the most space.

In my case, the "Interface" section is the biggest, at 2,039,736, followed by the "CLSID" section at 1,926,404.

All the other sections are very much smaller, but there's an awful lot of them of course!

:)

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@herbalist: Thanks for the pointer to MRU blaster

It sure is great at cleaning out the MRUs!

@Dave-H: Thanks for the pointer for "Registry Space Profiler". It's wonderful.

And do try MRU blaster, it sure'll weed out some more entries from your registry.

You all rock, my friends! :thumbup

Edited by dencorso
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Do these registry compactors do a better job of compacting the registry than just going into the command prompt and typing

scanreg/fix

scanreg/opt

?

Edited by galahs
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Do these registry compactors do a better job of compacting the registry than just going into the command prompt and typing

scanreg/fix

scanreg/opt

?

Yes. They work on registry files > 8MB. eidenk, in post #2 of this tread said:

[...]

What seems certain anyway is that scanreg is unable to compact registry files which are above 8MB.

IMO the best doc about the win9x registry is in japanese : http://www.haltz.com/rgstry2/index.htm

There is one page in english though but for the rest you'll need to use babelfish or google translate. He details several different methods for compacting the registry and there is alot about the registry stucture.[...]

But you can also export the whole registry to, say, RegFile.reg, then go to pure DOS (not a DOS box) and run:

smartdrv

regedit /c <path>\RegFile.reg

You'll get essentially the same results.

NB: The above applies to the registry *compactors*. All other apps mentioned in this thread remove junk from different parts of the registry. When used in sequence they do a beautifully comprehensive registry cleaning job, for sure! But some care is required, because too agressive a cleaning job can cripple the system, so doing a registry backup first is a must.

Edited by dencorso
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