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Editing the Windows Registry

This job is not for the fainthearted, but actually is not that difficult if you follow certain precautions. Any instructions involving making any changes always warn as follows:

Always Back up your data before doing any maintenance

FMS is not responsible for any damage done to your computer from following this procedure. If you are not willing to accept full responsibility for your own actions, do not use this information.

There is a reason for this warning. If you mess up your computer, you may have to reformat, losing all data. If you have your data backed up, you will not lose it, just cost some time redoing the computer. Using Go Back makes recovering from mistakes it a 10 minute job. Reformat and reload can take 2 to 8 hours! How much is your time worth? Go Back only costs $50!! Imagine paying a shop for 8 hours at $50/hr or more.

Now to the registry. Click Start, Run, type regedit and click OK. You should get a screen that looks like this:

To find an entry that needs to be changed, click Edit, Find, type in the entry or any part of it and click Find Next. The dialog box looks like this:

After you click Find Next, you will open the registry to the first entry that contains any part of what you entered. For our example, I typed in fms (not case sensitive) and the first result is shown here:

As you can see the entry found shows FMS as a value for CompanyName. To modify it, right click on the highlighted CompanyName and choose Modify. If you just wanted it deleted, choose delete. So, in the case of the computer being registered to someone else, use this procedure and type in their name and Find.

You can check to see if there are additional entries by touching F3. After each selection comes up, touch F3 again until it says Finished Checking Registry. It may sit for an extended period and appear to be doing nothing. DO NOT PANIC. YOU DO NOT WANT TO STOP THIS PROCESS. JUST LET IT FINISH IN ITS OWN GOOD TIME.

I use this method to rid a computer of unwanted software leftover junk. For example, if you do not use AOL, do a Find for aol and see what results you get.

Have fun, but remember, I am not responsible for any damage done to your computer if you decide to follow these instructions. If you aren't a little gutsy, get experienced help. Don't try it on your own. After making changes, it is a good idea to restart the computer to see that nay error messages have not been caused by your work. If it restarts with no errors and your programs run OK, you should be OK.

To remove AOL completely from the registry, search for AOL and remove all entries applying to AOL. Then search for America, but remove only the items that apply to AOL. There are entries for other items that use the term America. Again I caution you to be careful. THERE IS NO RECOVERY FROM A DELETE HERE EXCEPT USING Norton Ghost or some other recovery method. Or you can learn to back up your registry. look on line for registry backup instructions.

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