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How to Repair Corrupted Registry Items in Windows

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Use the System File Checker tool to restore missing or damaged system files. The Windows registry contains important files that are essential for the proper functioning of the Windows operating system, system apps, and processes. Most changes made to the computer are stored in keys and entries known as log files.

These files are responsible for the optimal functioning of many applications and system processes. As you use and customize your computer, Windows creates more and more log files, most of which are not deleted even when they are no longer needed.

The registry fills up with redundant files which eventually get damaged, corrupted, or broken. Factors such as power failure, sudden shutdown, faulty hardware, malware, and viruses can also damage some registry items. As a result, damaged registry items clog your PC’s memory, slow down your computer, and sometimes cause startup problems.

You need to repair damaged registry items

From time to time you should confirm that your Windows computer is free of damaged items in the registry. This will positively affect the performance of the PC, particularly if the computer is running slowly or if some system apps are not working properly.

The point is: you can benefit more from removing or repairing damaged registry files rather than letting them bloat in the registry.

Windows has a number of built-in tools that can help diagnose problems with log files. Move on to the next section to learn how to use these tools to repair damaged registry items on a Windows PC.

Note: The Windows registry is a database of sensitive files and settings. Therefore, it is important to take a backup of the registry before attempting to make changes to the registry or repair damaged registry items. Damaging a registry file can damage the Windows operating system and cause your computer to malfunction. Creating a backup acts as insurance in the event of a problem.

1. Run Disk Cleanup

The Disk Cleanup tool that lets you remove unnecessary files from your computer includes corrupted registry items. To access this tool, type disk cleanup in the Windows search box and click Disk Cleanup in the results.

Click the Clean System Files button.

You can check other file options in the File to delete” window. These are redundant temporary files that your computer can do without. You can click on a file type and check the Description section to learn more about the file and what it does. Make click on OK when you are done with the selection of the file.

Click Delete Files in the confirmation prompt and Windows will permanently delete the corrupted log files and other selected files.

2. Use the System File Checker

System File Checker (SFC) is another important tool built into the Windows operating system. This tool fixes corrupted log files using a “repair or replace” approach. Scans your computer for damaged or missing system files. If the tool finds one, it replaces them with a new copy. The tool is accessible via the command prompt; here’s how to use it:

  1. Right-click the Start menu or Windows icon and select Command Prompt (Administrator) from the Quick Access menu.
  2. Type or paste sfc/scannow and press Enter.

When the SFC utility runs the command (PS: this could take up to 30 minutes), it will notify you if it has found or repaired any corrupt files. This makes the utility a good way to confirm if your computer has a damaged registry item.

Note: If you see a message saying “Windows Resource Protection has detected corrupted files but could not fix some”, run the SFC command again. If the problem persists, restart your computer and try again.

3. Run the DISM tool

You can also use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command to repair damaged log files, especially if System File Checker does not find or fix any damaged log files.

Right-click the Start menu button and select Command Prompt (Admin). Type or paste DISM/Online/Cleanup-Image/RestoreHealth into the console and press Enter on your keyboard.

This will prompt the DISM tool to scan your computer for damaged and damaged system files; check the results to confirm if any files have been replaced. 

4. Repair Install Windows

Another way to repair or replace damaged registry items is to reinstall Windows from scratch while preserving personal files, installed applications, and other system settings. This is known as a repair installation (or repair update).

You should download the Windows 10 disk image (ISO file) from Microsoft’s website. Double-click the disk image file to recommend the repair installation process. Follow the installation instructions and accept the necessary license/usage terms. On the “Ready to install” page, make sure that an option that says “Keep Windows settings, personal files and apps” appears on the screen.

Otherwise, click Change what to keep and select Keep personal files, apps, and Windows settings.

When the installation is complete, your PC will be free of corrupt or damaged registry files.

5. Perform the automated repair

The automated repair utility is great for troubleshooting startup problems on Windows 10 computers. The tool can also scan and fix problems affecting registry settings as well as other files and system configurations.

  1. To access the automatic repair tool, go to Settings > Updates & Security > Recovery and click Restart now in the “Advanced startup” section. This will restart your PC in the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  2. Select Troubleshoot to proceed.
  3. Click Advanced Options.
  4. Choose Startup Repair from the list of advanced options.
  5. Choose your account and enter your profile password to continue. If the account is not password protected, simply click Continue to proceed.

The automatic (startup) repair tool will scan your computer and fix any damaged registry files it finds.

6. Use a registry scanner

You can also use a third-party registry scanner (also called registry optimizers or registry cleaners) to repair damaged registry items on your Windows computer. The software will restore the PC’s registry shape, removing and replacing the corrupt and missing files.

Malwarebytes is a reliable and trustworthy registry cleaner that you can use to repair damaged registry items. The problem with these registry cleaners is that sometimes they don’t always repair or replace the log files. A malicious registry scanner could even mess up your PC’s registry. Make sure you read enough reviews before installing a third-party registry scan tool.

Healthy log, healthy PC

In addition to the solutions highlighted above, you can also repair damaged registry items in Windows by restoring your PC to a restore point where the registry items were not damaged. 

Another option is to reset your computer (go to Settings> Updates & Security> Recovery> Reset this PC).

Performing a reset will delete all installed applications and system settings (but keep personal files). So you should only reset your PC as a last resort.

Finally, be sure to scan your PC with one of the best Antiviruses for Windows 10, 8, 7 for malware and viruses that cause registry items to break or damage.

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