Hi All

When I'm using the TweakNow RegCleaner, it always picks up at least 20 entries (on the first pass on a PC that has never had RegCleaner run on it) showing "missing folder" in the "software\microsoft\tracing" folder. I always delete them all, even though they are marked yellow which is "not fully safe to delete", and I've wondered what this tracing thing is. I've tried to search for it, and all I've found is instructions from Microsoft in using it - but not what it is! Can anyone shed some light on this? Am I causing any potential problems by deleting the entries? I haven't noticed anything "go wrong" after deleting them (even many days / weeks later), but of course it doesn't mean to say that I haven't inadvertently impaired the operation of Windows or set things up for a problem later. :)


I deleted the software folder ages back because I don't use it [or my sys doesn't]. Tracing.. it is just what this says : http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc957864.aspx
Mind that the key they rattle on may differ for different installations. In my Home, it is HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft \Tracing\
Anyway, disable tracing by setting it to 0.
Reg cleaning... it is not worth the time taken. A typical registry occupies maybe 25 - 30 MB, you may clean out 5KB or less. And if you were to run another reg cleaner it would find different things to remove. And after you run a slew of them a quick manual check would find plenty more that you could remove safely.
Probably a better thing is to run Pagedefrag:

Thanks to you both for the reply. Not sure that I really understand the purpose of the tracing beyond trying to "trace" network problems: the implication is that programs can be traced too - for troubleshooting of some sort? Can't think when I'd ever need such a thing or when a customer would pay for me to do that instead of just nuking the system & starting again. lol.
Anyway, it appears that it's very optional, so I'm gonna keep deleting the items from the Registry as they appear (which is only ever on the 1st pass on a PC that hasn't had it done yet).
In regards to gerbil's comments about the Registry: you must work on some pretty slim Windows installations - the smallest SP3 install I've seen recently is 40MB - typically, the ones I see on home user / SMB PCs is 60-80MB. I use Registry Mechanic (paid license), TuneUp Utilities 2010 (paid license), Glarys Registry Repair & TweakNow RegCleaner (+ CCleaner / IOBit AWC just for good measure) - typically, I get 400-500 removals (+ another 50-odd manually), then use NTRegOpt to get anywhere from 5 to 22% reduction in Registry size. I don't use NTRegOpt on Vista or W7 systems - I use the Registry Compactor that comes with Registry Mechanic. I specialise in optimisation, and have found that by doing vigorous, yet thoughtful, Registry cleaning / optimisation, coupled with unnecssary Services deactivations & a decent HDD defragger (PerfectDisk to start with - it does a great job of PageFile and other system "unmovables"), then MyDefrag on Weekly setting after that, I can get a 10-20% speed increase on the PC's previous performance.

NtRegOpt is fine for removing blank spaces in the registry, but cannot defragment it. Pagedefrag loads to run at boot time [using the standard Windows defragmenter] and because the hives are not loaded at that point they can be processed.
You missed a reg cleaner!! CCleaner has one... :)
I used to occasionally let a reg cleaner loose, but all they seemed to come up with were MRU and similar entries that would be cycled out over time. They would point up maybe 10 or 20 entries that might stick, so no big deal. I decided it was pointless.
My ERUNT daily folder [including Erunt files] is 26.9 MB for SP3.
Don't go by config size... it is loaded with backups and log files etc.

You missed a reg cleaner!! CCleaner has one... :)

nope uses it to see below from post #4
(+ CCleaner / IOBit AWC just for good measure)

i use ccleaner and only ccleaner from time to time ,also believe your 20-30 % increase is high,what do you do to measure it before and after !
did you ever try not doing the registry shit and just the defrag and other stuff you do and see what the increase was !
my limited understanding of computers leads me to say, that windows doesn't scan registry and slow at all those dead registry entries ,only maybe if the associated program was in startup and incorrectly deleted would this happen ,but i may be wrong in thinking that way

@ caperjack
I didn't say 20-30%, I said 10-20%. I have no official metric to measure it with, just a general sense of speed & responsiveness after the fact. Clearly, the CPU & RAM hasn't changed, so the literal computing power of the PC hasn't change. However, one can have a "fast on paper" PC that "runs like a dog" (esp if it has bloatware like Norton, McAfee, TrendMicro or similar on it). So while there is no official measure, my clients certainly notice the difference in speed with comments like "Wow, that's so much faster" and the like.
My understanding of the Registry is that it is referred to very regularly by Window for all manner of stuff. Therefore, the less crap / un-needed entries the PC has to sift through to get to the information it needs, or dead-ends it has to resolve due to crapped-out / broken keys, the better - yes? I haven't read up a lot on this, however, I have seen definite improvements in PC operations from a good reg clean alone. However, it appears to need a holistic approach - being able to defrag the unmoveables by the likes of PerfectDisk alone isn't enough, but again, in conjunction with reg cleaning / "optimising", junk file removal, disabling of unnecessary startups / services, yields results. I had a PC in yesterday that I hadn't done maintenance on for around 18 months: it had a total of around 2000 Registry errors (rough combined total from all 5 cleaners) - I find that is typical of PCs that have gone 12 months or more without a service. The record was 4,000 errors on a PC last year - it was a barely-functioning mess! ;)

@ gerbil
I've tried that Pagedefrag in the past, but gave it up in favour of PerfectDisk. I've found that most Microsoft-supplied "tools" are pretty average, at best - the supplied defragger being a good example. I find that even MyDefrag does a better job than the defragger that comes with XP / Vista - haven't tried the one on 7 yet. So you're saying that NTRegOpt doesn't defrag the size of the Registry, and that the size it reports is actually a combination of the Registry and it's backups - is that right? My understanding is that NTRegOpt works only on the Registry proper (I'm certainly not manually checking the size of the Registry - I don't know how to do that) and that it IS actually writing an amended Registry file. If it is only "removing the spaces", is that not in effect a compaction / defrag? Perhaps I'm using the term "defrag" in too broad a sense here: I realise that a "proper" defrag involves re-arranging data for optimal use - that wouldn't be necessary in the Registry - so really I guess I'm meaning "optimise" (take the gaps out, crush the data down so the file is smaller) rather than "defrag". Just a bad habit I've picked up somewhere along the way! My bad.

Missed that, caper. Grrr...
I cannot comment much on PerfectDisk.. but I note that it does registry and pagefile defragmentation in the boot mode. It is a single pass tool. It uses the Window defrag API.
Mydefrag uses the Window defrag API... I guess it may differentiate in how it applies it... where to leave blank space etc. I don't know.
Ntregopt uses a copy/write function? to remove blanks from the registry files - if they are fragmented to begin with and there is no contiguous free space on disk then they shall likely remain fragmented.
I did not know from where you were taking reg sizes... from the numbers given I thought it must be the config folder.
ERUNT gives the size of the current user's registry, not that of all users.
I doubt if disk defragmentation is a perfect thing - the moment windows rewrites a file that is larger than the original plus the free space in its last sector you will get a fragmented file. Unless your defragmenter put free space right there ready to be used. Which, of course, would create a lot of blank spaces on a disk.
Perfectdisk consolidates free space into the largest pieces possible. But really, would you not need free space at the end of every file to avoid fragmentation? Nope, this is not how it works.... new files and fragments go to the new free space... and when next rewritten as larger files they will likely fragment. Involved is a never ending defrag job to be perfect.
And then there is the application of the information in layout.ini - a record of what is used and how much so that file placement is optimised for faster disk access to most-used files - including sys files.
But back to registry defragmentation. Compaction by removal of blank space would rarely result in removal of fragments?
I dunno much about this - it is a task to be done very occasionally for me. I am not a tech; I will be asked to fix a few friends' machines just sometimes. Mostly, I'm just inquisitive.

Registry access... I understand that Windows uses a string searcher, and like its method of finding files it won't go down blind alleys except to the point of checking the first key or name letter. But... it has to do that on every reg access, past every branch. Blank space, fragmentation do affect it.
[Windows treats every name in a pathname as a file [and any remaining parts as parameters] until it discovers otherwise. eg in D:\"Program Files\Somepgm\..." Program Files is taken to be a file until explorer discovers it to be a folder.]

All you experts out there need to listen to "Island Boy". Conjecture is like talk; it's free and cheap, and sometimes worhless. The rubber meets the road when you turn on a computer and it slogs aroun like a sick dog. FIRST thing is a reg cleanup. [ I use RegSeeker; be CAREFUL with it and set it to always BACK UP. ] Then RESTART.
The PC will usually startle you with the difference in speed. Then use CC Cleaner to clean out dead file entries + other junk. Do your DEFRRAG after all the cleaning.
Winblows defragger is WORTHLESS. It will lie and say that your PC has been defragged,
or it will analyze and say the disk doesn't need defragging. Then run a REAL defragger like Auslogics (free)and look at all the frags windows leaves. If you want the one and only REAL DEFRAG that gives your PC new life, then get a trial of PERFECT DISK and run it.
There is no defragger out there that does the job of Perfect Disk. Defragging ONCE a day
is certainally not overkill, if you use your PC a lot.

Winblows defragger is WORTHLESS
the one and only REAL DEFRAG that gives your PC new life
Does PerfectDisk still use the Windows Defrag API?