My laptop takes 6 minutes to boot. Granted it’s been with me since August 2009 and I’ve installed a number of programs into it. A month after purchasing the Lenovo X200, I inquired from Lenovo’s local tech support about the long boot time. Puzzled themselves, I was asked to return it for a tune-up.

A day later I was told that there were two programs on the startup that appeared to be scanning the network ports looking for a connection. Unfortunately, this laptop was provided to me by my company so I couldn’t tell them to remove those programs. So I took back the laptop and surrendered to the idea of having a faster machine.

Months later and after a clean install (Windows XP died on me three months after owning this laptop), I am still stuck with a laptop that takes over 5 minutes to boot.

If ever there is any major fault in Windows XP, it is the excessively long time it takes to boot the operating system. Yes, I understand it does several tests to determine the integrity of the environment but other OSes (like Apple OS X) do not take this much time to do the same thing.

The slow boot time forces me to use the HIBERNATE function throughout the day when I want to leave my laptop for awhile or move around town. I would prefer a full shutdown so that any residual memory can die with the shutdown process, but the long boot process simply is not worth the effort.

At any rate, scanning the Internet to find a way to shorten the boot time, I stumbled across “RegistryBooster” from Uniblue. I installed the “free” trial version which indicated over 500 errors on my Windows XP Registry. The free trial ends there though. To clean or fix your registry, you will need to buy the software. Don’t dismay, most other similar packages do the same bait and sell technique all the time.

The Windows Registry is a database that stores configuration settings and options on Microsoft Windows operating systems. It contains settings for low-level operating system components as well as the applications running on the platform: the kernel, device drivers, services, SAM, user interface and third party applications all make use of the Registry. The registry also provides a means to access counters for profiling system performance.

What this means in non-Geek terms is that this is the heart of the operating system. Every time you install, tweak or remove a program, this Registry is updated. When Windows fails to boot, this is usually where some of the problems lie.

A common complaint about Windows XP is that Microsoft never included a program to manage this Registry. Yes, its got programs to defrag the hard disk and make it run faster. But as most people have discovered over the years, you tend to install new programs on your laptop as you add accessories to your daily computing process. Things like a new external DVD writer (in my case, a Buffalo ultra-slim DVD writer – I threw out my Samsung ultra-slim DVD writer after it conked out of me in under three months and Samsung said there is no warranty for this product because they don’t sell it in Hong Kong).

I also installed software drivers for my digital camera, video camera, a Maxtor external USB storage box, printer, mouse, and so on. In fact, any time you plug an external device to your computer, Windows scans the Registry to determine if the appropriate drivers are installed. The Registry is thus updated frequently. If you uninstall a program, the Registry is also updated to reflect this change.

What has always frustrated me with Windows XP and its earlier versions was that uninstalling applications doesn’t guarantee that the process will return your PC to the original state it was in prior to installing the program. Somehow Microsoft has been unable to fix this program even with Service Pack 3 despite the nearly 10 years of history of the program. I have not checked whether this problem remains the same in Windows Vista and the current iteration in the series – Windows 7.

With RegistryBooster 2010, Uniblue claims it is able to identify and repair registry erros and also help enhance system performance and stability at the same time. Uniblue claims RegistryBooster scans and repairs obsolete shared DLLs, unused entires, repeat entries, traces of uninstalled software, corrupt Active X/Com objects, undesired browser objects, unused start menu items and orphaned, missing, and broken software paths and links.

The initial scan of my laptop’s Windows XP SP3 showed 770 errors on my registry. It also claimed to have deleted 15 items off registry. A subsequent scans 7 days later showed 800 errors most of which were about ‘pointing to missing TypeLib’ and ‘invalid path’.

Eight days later I tried another scan and this time around there were only 72 errors most of which were ‘invalid path’ errors.

What does this all mean? Perhaps the more important question is ‘how did I get to this sorry state of affairs?’ Unfortunately I am neither a techie or a tech support person. I have no real interest in understanding how Windows XP works. I just want it to work fast and reliably – something that seems to elude the developers at Microsoft.

The RegistryBooster installed without a hitch. Kudos to Uniblue for making the install process smooth and uneventful. The user interface (GUI) is easy on the eyes and should pose no challenge to even the most basic of Windows PC users.

RegistryBooster gives you a list of the types of errors it found on your registry. Since I installed this software I’ve scanned my laptop three times seven days apart to give time to any install and uninstall as well as data or program deletes that I do. So far, I’ve not regretted the repair each time.

If you are one of those worried that any repair might actually do more than harm, RegistryBooster keeps a copy of the registry before any repair is performed. The backup process like the scanning process was smooth and uneventful.

Any time you feel like it, you can use the log file to view what the software did to your registry. You also have the option to return to your previous registry state.
Defragmenting is something I associate with my hard disk as I’m familiar with the way Windows writes to hard drives. So I was very surprised to be told that my registry can also become fragmented. Since the software is already there, I took the registry defrag option. As with the other processes – scan and repair – everything went without a hitch. The program did require that I restart my laptop so the changes can take effect.

Is my PC any faster than it was before RegistryBooster? I can’t say it is. Does it boot faster than before RegistryBooster? I don’t think so.

What RegistryBooster does achieve for me is the perception that my PC seems to be more stable lately.

This is not the only product of its kind. There are hordes others in the market. Most come with a price tag ranging from US$9.95 to US$59.95. A few like ‘Comodo System Cleaner’ and ‘Your Free Registry Cleaner’ will do the same job for free. Just remember that part of what you pay for is technical support – in case you did something you weren’t meant to do with the program.

For those of you in Asia Pacific, RegistryBooster is currently available online only. Charles P. Williams, Sales & Channel Manager at Uniblue, says negotiations are underway to make the product available in Japan and presumably other parts of Asia Pacific through resellers. Like most desktop software, Uniblue will provide technical support in English only.

RegistryBooster can be purchased for US$29.95. Uniblue is offering a special bundle online. For US$49.95 you can get PowerSuite, which includes RegistryBooster, SpeedUpMyPC, DriverScanner, and DiskRescue. Individually each product is expensive but combined, you are literally paying about US$12.50 per product. Not a bad bargain.

Other review of RegistryBooster:

Uniblue Register Booster Review