Registry cleaners are often overused


Plugged In

October 25, 2007|By BILL HUSTED | BILL HUSTED,Atlanta Journal Constitution

Are registry cleaners a good idea? I have considered downloading one but have heard both pro and con. What is your opinion?

-John Daum

I like CCleaner, an easy-to-use and efficient registry cleaner. It can be downloaded at, and it's free.

However, I think programs like this are often overused. In the case of CCleaner, that will do no harm, but it could be a waste of time. In the case of some other registry cleaners, you can cause more problems than you fix. I've seen some that are so eager to report a large number of problems found that they end up fixing things that aren't broken.

Unless you have a known problem with the registry, I do not recommend using a registry cleaner. If it's working fine, leave it alone.

Is it possible and advisable to run multiple anti-virus programs? I have Norton but would like to try the free Grisoft program. Can I run them side by side?

- Russell Goutierez Running more than one anti-virus program can - and often does - create problems. Don't do it.

However, you can run more than one anti-adware program.

I am giving my computer to a school, and I would like to delete all my personal data permanently.

- Leonard Macey

While there are software programs that efficiently delete material, I've found that removing the hard disk is the best way to go. Keeping the old hard disk also gives you a backup copy of all the information that was on the old computer.

A while back you told how to send info from a laptop to a printer. My sister says it can't be done without a separate router. I told her you know everything, so could you answer that question again?

- Karen Cooper

Just to prove I truly don't know everything, I don't remember answering a question like that. A laptop computer can be connected directly to a printer using a USB or parallel port connection. Or it can be used on a network and share an existing wired or wireless router. There's no reason to have a separate router for a laptop or for any other computer.

Bill Husted writes for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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