Registry: My biggest windows nightmare

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Thorz, Aug 25, 2007.

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  1. Thorz

    Thorz Registered Member

    Dec 29, 2003
    I love windows for the amount of program choices it offers. You find almost everything on the platform and with the right tools (imaging, snapshots, registry cleaning) you can live with an almost pleasant and clean OS.

    I have 3 machines home and 2 of them are Windows. As a 3rd. machine I have been using a macbook (work's laptop). Have it one year ago and OSX is really nice on the state it is now, but I still miss software that I use on Windows and have to dual boot to XP for some work things too.

    This is not a thread of windows vs mac, I am not so narrow to get caught on that argument. Each OS has amazing things that the other doesn't.
    I am not looking for a particular solution, this thread is just to get out of my system the thing that most bothers me from Windows:

    Is there really an advantage on using a database as the registry over a cleaner and contained solution like the system used in Mac-OSX for storing application settings?

    I'll explain. When you install software on Windows these parts of the system are modified:

    • Add files to the app folder
    • Add files to app settings folder and most of the time to other parts of the system (Windows/System folder, etc...).
    • Add registry entries and modify others, most of the time not only contained under one key but spread over a lot of places.
    Uninstalling involves:
    • Run the app uninstaller and hope for a complete removal of the files and registry keys. This almost NEVER happens.
    • You have to use other products for finding the rest that was left over or use an snapshot or imaging app for going back to your previous state. This is not always advisable if you have worked long time with the app on your machine as restoring will take your system to a very old state.
    • Pray that everything is removed.
    On OSX:

    • Add every file of the application into the app folder.
    • Add files to the app settings folder (under library/app...)
    Uninstalling involves:
    • Delete the app folder. As it shows as a contained file that you use for running the app it is very easy.
    • Delete the app settings folder.
    You are assured that everything was removed. No left overs or anything like that.

    If Windows could just have a system like this! :rolleyes:. You don't need other apps for cleaning the left over mess.

    But there is nothing to do about this :( Windows is made as it is and a change is impossible. I still prefer Windows over OSX though.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2007
  2. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Sometimes I ask myself why Microsoft is trying to protect this mediocre OS and its applications with an annoying activation tool. I only do this when I have something of value.
  3. The Hammer

    The Hammer Registered Member

    May 12, 2005
    Toronto Canada
    I'm seriously looking at an iMac, but I'm just assessing if I need a windows enviroment for anything.
  4. nanana1

    nanana1 Frequent Poster

    Jun 22, 2007

    I share the same woes with you on Windows registry. Installing and uninstalling leaves traces all over the registry causing it to be bloated.
    I never know when I uninstall a software if I removed everything.

    It's really nice the way Mac handles this as you described above. Wish Windows is like that in future.

    Gradually, Windows users will take to using more portable applications which still will not eliminate this registry bloatness totally.
  5. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

    Oct 5, 2004
    The way I get around the uninstall messes is to do an image before installing anything new, then install and try things out. If I don't like or want it, then I restore from my image, everything is gone and clean, as it was. If I do like the program or app and there's no problems, then I keep it, and move on. That's about the best way I can think of to keep things clean here. Seems to work so far anyway.
  6. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    Here, There and Everywhere
    Remember, with the new intel-based iMac you can run OSX and Windows. Bootcamp is a free download from Apple and will let you dual boot into whichever OS you want. It will be built-in to the new Leopard OS. This is great if there are certain applications not available for the Mac.

    To the OP....I remember Windows 3.1 with no registry and all apps were in the folder and that was that. Simple.

    If I were buying a new computer today, there would be no question: iMac.

    On edit: Actually, thinking about it, I believe Windows 3.1 did have a registry of sorts, but it was very simple.
  7. Thorz

    Thorz Registered Member

    Dec 29, 2003
    Bootcamp is nice, but if you are eyeing a laptop and are going to work a lot in Windows it is still better to get a PC. An imac can be a different story.
    I have not used it yet, but a lots of people find Parallels and excellent solution to run Windows programs directly on OSX.

    Windows 3.1 used INI files that were easier to manage but still confusing. WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI were some of them. It also have a SYSTEM folder where drivers and other things were dumped by programs. In addition you had the DOS layer always behind, with AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS and the rest of the gang. So W3.x was also a mess.

    I think mac hardware is overpriced, but OSX-Leopard will make it even more attractive. OSX-Tiger runs really smooth even after a hole year of use installing and uninstalling lots os appz, i cannot say the same for the XP I have on my main desktop.

    @Kerodo: Imaging is very useful, but it is still an extra addition (cost $$), and it will not help you if you need time to decide over keeping or trashing a program.
    I remember when I installed Google desktop, the first month I was fascinated but after 3 months I decided to remove it and try Windows Desktop Search. I have been using it for 2 months and am still not sure if this is what I will keep. There is still Coopernic out there for testing. Imaging will not help me on this case as my last clean backup will be too old and other modifications made to the system after search was installed will be lost.
    On OSX: Just delete the app and app settings folder, maybe delete a shortcut made (by you) on the dock and you are as clean as you were before installing the program, it doesn't matter if you installed it 1 day, 1 month or 1 year ago! I just LOVE this feature.

    I use to recommend a Mac to people that are buying a new machine, are not techie and that I cannot help very easily, like relatives living on other countries. After all these years working with Windows I have to accept that OSX has very little problems like Windows has and needs almost zero maintenance.

    For achieving a similar level of reliability on Windows you need to expend time and maybe cash to get extra utilities that can take care of the imminent problems that are going to force you to reinstall sooner or later. Some of these utyls are imaging, snapshot and system/registry cleaning programs.
  8. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    May 9, 2005

    Gerard, you're right, Win 3.1 did have registry.

    The whole purpose of registry is money - prevent users from reinstalling software over and over again (trials and such) by keeping a permanent trace somewhere on the machine.

    With NIX-based, this was not the issue, hence the modularity (among other things). Programs are self-contained and everything is a file.

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