Why I don’t use registry cleaners | Ed Bott’s Windows Expertise |

Why I don’t use registry cleaners

Published April 19, 2005 by Ed Bott

Welcome, Digg visitors. Wow, twice in three days an old post of mine gets picked up and Dugg like crazy. Just to be clear: If you have a specific problem with removing a specific program, a registry cleaning utility might be able to identify keys that will help you solve that specific problem. But that’s a rare scenario. Most people I know use registry cleaners as part of their magic cleanup routine, and I see very little upside and a lot of potential downside in this sort of routine use. Specifically, as I write below, I have never seen any evidence that routine “cleaning” of the registry has any positive effect. I stand behind that statement.

Via Matt Goyer, John Hoole offers this cautionary tale:

just a note to say if you have Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (probably all versions actually) steer clear of registry clean programs such as Reg Mechanic they go through your registry and delete unnecessary keys….. sounds good but it didn’t count on Media Center I ran it a few days back and when I came to use Media Center it loaded then produced a crash report and died, took me ages to figure it out until I came to run Reg Mechanic again and realized This program deletes DLL files too so….. I restored the first backup and rebooted and media center worked fine so if you have that error on startup that’s your problem right there. Just restore the backup from Reg Mechanic. So you have been warned.

I’d go a step further: Don’t run registry cleaner programs, period. I won’t go so far as to call them snake oil, but what possible performance benefits can you get from “cleaning up” unneeded registry entries and eliminating a few stray DLL files? Even in the best-case scenario the impact should be trivial at best. Maybe a second or two here and there, maybe a few kilobytes of freed-up RAM, and I’m being generous. How can you balance those against the risk that the utility will “clean” (in other words, delete) something you really need, causing a program or feature to fail?

If anyone has done any serious performance testing on this class of software, I’d be interested in seeing it. In the absence of really rigorous testing and fail-safe design, I say: Stay far away from this sort of utility.

If you have a counter-argument to make, leave a comment. But simply saying, “I use Reg-o-matic Deluxe and my computer is way faster than ever!” isn’t good enough. Show me the data!

Update: I did a Google search for “registry cleaner” performance tests, and got more than 25,000 hits. In the first 15 pages, however, there wasn’t a single example of an actual performance test. Virtually all the results were from companies that make and sell this sort of utility, or from download sites that have affiliate agreements with these developers. I found one recent how-to article from Ed Tittel on TechWeb. Ed asserts that “Most Windows experts recommend a Registry clean-up on all systems at least once every six months.” He didn’t link to any of those experts, however.

Later in the same article, Ed advises: “I urge you to check comparative reviews, ratings, and rankings of Registry Clean-up Tools before you invest hard-earned dollars on these products.” Sadly, there are no links here either. I suspect that’s because detailed comparative reviews of this class of software don’t exist. Ironically, the article inadvertently documents the case against this sort of utility. Early on, it states: “The typical Windows system has literally hundreds of thousands of Registry entries.” The screen shot from the free utility he spotlights shows a grand total of 19 “errors,” most of which are simply pointers to CLSIDs that don’t exist. Is it really worth spending hours on this task? I don’t think so.

The best bit of reading I found in my search was this rant from a poster named Jabarnut on a thread at DSL Reports’ Software Forum:

The Registry is an enormous database and all this “Cleaning” really doesn’t amount to much…I’ve said this before, but I liken it to “sweeping out one parking space in a parking lot the size of Montana” … a registry “tweak” here and there is desirable or even necessary sometimes, but random “cleaning”, especially for the novice, is inviting disaster.

I also would like someone to show me any hard evidence that registry cleaning actually improves performance. (Unless there is a specific problem that has to be addressed by making changes to the registry).

Sorry to go on like this, but I feel there is way to much Registry “Cleaning” going on these days just for the sake of “cleaning”.

Amen.

Update 11-Sep: Several commenters have made a good case for a handful of utilities that include registry repair and cleaning options. They make the point that these are useful when used intelligently, not indiscriminately. My colleague George Ou from ZDNet passed along these comments:

I do like the free CCleaner. I’ve cleaned out 1 GB or more of junk on friends computers and it does make the system a little more responsive. You don’t get as many unexplained pauses. This is a problem with the lack of multithreading in Windows Explorer most of the time when it times out on dead resources like a detached network drive. I thought I remember reading something on the Vista features that fixes this by supporting multiple threads.

Other than that, I’ve made sure that I don’t have any dead links the system is trying to access on the desktop that are sure to cause a 30 second lockup even if I drag an icon across the dead link icon. Ccleaner also does a nice job removing a lot of that junk. The combination of MSCONFIG and Ccleaner works wonders.

OK, I’ll give it a try.



Comments (90)

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  1. Ken says:

    Ed: I used to be a big sucker for various registry cleaners, but essentially learned the hard way that what you say about them is absolutely correct. In fact, the only one I have ever used that didn’t eventually wreck my system at least once (did you mention Registry Mechanic? Grr!!!!) was Registry First Aid (which is also the safest — it forces you to create a restore point, and it also automatically creates backups of all registry changes).

    I have used RFA enough to conclude that if used correctly (and if you choose the changes manually) it does my system no harm, but whether it results in any transparent performance gains (much less gains that justify the time one must spend running, maintaining, and updating the program) is a totally separate question.

    Ken

    Posted April 19, 2005 @ 2:58 pm
  2. johnpro says:

    I used System Mechanic and performed a clean up .

    I then decided to run a function called ‘defrag registery files’ My OS system crashed completely, refusing to boot to windows.

    I was using my daughter’s PC and was totally embarrassed. Worse still, there was no win xp disk in the house.{possibly not supplied as it was a HP}

    I was required to return to my daughter’s house the following week and had to drive a total of about 300km with my version of win xp.

    I convinced MS activation to give me a new activation code ..which he eventually he did just to, perhaps, get me off his case!

    An email to System Mechanic for help was not returned.

    I use to regularly use an older version of System mechanic on Win 98 and had no problems …although I did not actually by a copy ..just used the free trial. Performance improvements were difficult to tell, although it did not do any harm.

    So as usual ..buyer beware. Like many fuel and oil additives regularly touted, many pc utilities only enhance performance psychologically ..or so it would seem

    jp

    Posted April 19, 2005 @ 5:45 pm
  3. Zaine Ridling says:

    I used to clean the registry occasionally, too, but after using Total Uninstall, it completely removes all the entries a program installs to the registry, which solves my problem with these cleaners.

    Posted April 19, 2005 @ 8:44 pm
  4. Nicholas says:

    I’ve used RegScrubXP and Easy Cleaner without problems.. as well as NTREGOPT to “defrag” the registry. Haven’t had problems in the past 2 years of usage. It’s helped with some spyware removals on other people’s machines..

    But I can’t back any of this up with factual data :)

    Posted April 19, 2005 @ 9:25 pm
  5. Gary and the Samoyeds says:

    Is this a case of obsolete folklore? Does anyone know if the Windows 95 or 3.1 registry had a size limit or was poorly implemented for large sizes? Or was this NEVER a useful tip?

    Posted April 20, 2005 @ 9:30 am
  6. Ed Bott says:

    Gary, that’s an excellent question, and I think you’ve nailed the source of this category. The size and integrity of the registry were indeed an issue in the Windows 9X days, when system resources were limited, memory was relatively scarce, and a badly written app could hose the whole OS. In fact, Microsoft published its own Registry Cleaner utility made specifically for Windows 98 and Windows Me, and there was a registry backup feature built into the OS. They’ve never published an equivalent tool for Windows XP (or any NT-based OS).

    Posted April 20, 2005 @ 9:38 am
  7. Steve D says:

    I have to agree that registry cleaners do little good at best and can occasionally do a lot of harm. Not a trade off that seems worth it.

    On the the other hand, how full of old crud does the registry fill up with? It seems like Windows does get slower over time with adding and removing programs although I don’t have any hard data. The registry seems like a very poor concept, basically a huge dumping ground that runs your system that you have to rummage thru and hope you find a problem. Not worth it at best and not worth the books on tweaking your registry either.

    What’s needed is a registry manager, something that clearly organizes personal preferences, systems settings and the rest of the junk that apps throw in.

    Posted April 20, 2005 @ 4:38 pm
  8. Seeker says:

    I’m actually really annoyed with this issue. On my Win98 machine I have this great little program called TestRun by BB. It makes a dummy copy of your registry and user files and puts your computer in test mode with them. Then you can fool around all you want and put your computer back to exactly the state it was in before you screwed everything up. It really works nicely too. I can also switch back and forth between the configurations.

    You can make various copies to restore too. I like to make a nice copy of my freshly reinstalled OS with my well-tested installed just how I like them. Then when I get really fed up with Window’s shinanigans I just restore that copy. It’s exactly like a fresh reimage.

    WinXP just won’t give up that much control. In fact when I have used Total Uninstall lately and it doesn’t do much good. I also used Windows own restore function and my system is pretty screwed up now… a week after reimaging. XP just does too much stuff in the back ground to be able to replace all of the settings to a day earlier. It also thinks for itself too much and makes so many changes on it’s own that we confuse it when we change old Registry entries and remove system dll’s.

    It is now screwing with programs that I didn’t touch in my installations. My Symantec Virus program won’t even work now. How the heck did it delete files in the Symantec folder???

    I hate computers that think for me. I am the master, it is the slave dammit, contrary to what Microsoft would have.

    Posted May 4, 2005 @ 6:50 pm
  9. Lazaro says:

    A product that has worked really well for me is Stompsoft Registry Repair. It kept my registry clean of Windows debris and has a nice feature set.

    Posted June 9, 2005 @ 12:16 pm
  10. DSLR Lurker says:

    Very well said, Ed. I used to be a big proponent of registry “cleaning”, and recommended it as a first line of troubleshooting. But after seeing first hand the many problems that can be caused and exacerbated by these “tools”, I now only recommend them as the very last resort before wiping and starting over.

    Posted June 11, 2005 @ 7:07 pm
  11. Red_Dog says:

    I really don’t like using or want to use a Reg cleaner. But I’ve got one of those rare instances where windows issues me an error message about something missing in the reqistry that cannot be verified. It causes my system to reboot. It behaves like a virus, but the three different virus scanners and programs don’t find anything. I’m left with using a Registry Cleaner. And they have already messed with some of my programs activation codes, which I now must go find again! ;-( Bad idea in my mind.

    Posted June 27, 2005 @ 1:22 pm
  12. David Candy says:

    Regclean and Regmaid were designed to clean programmers machines. Typically each build (at least in VB)generated new clsids which meant one project could generate zillions of one use registry entries. It wasn’t meant to be used as an end user cleaner.

    Posted July 24, 2005 @ 5:16 pm
  13. David Candy says:

    Q156078

    Posted July 24, 2005 @ 5:18 pm
  14. Tom Easley says:

    I am taking your advice and not bothering with a registry cleaner. However, I find it ironic that your commentary is accompanied by so many ads for products you wouldn’t use and are advising against!

    Posted August 13, 2005 @ 6:41 am
  15. Ed Bott says:

    I find it more obnoxious than ironic. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer very good tools for blocking ads that a client (that would be me) finds objectionable. Most of the Google ads on this site are worthwhile and legitimate. But when I wrote about spyware, or registry cleaners, or Windows performance, a whole class of ads appear that can best be called snake oil. I can exclude up to 200 URLs or domains, and I use this capacity to block the worst offenders. Beyond that, I have to trust in the intelligence of my audience to not fall for snake-oil salesmen.

    Posted August 13, 2005 @ 7:05 am
  16. andy says:

    Yup I agree wholeheartedly. As a serious gamer I was horrifed to see my display come garbled, games running slow, with major artifacting etc. Scrated my head for days. Dxdiag reported that everything was fine. I even thought I’s dlown up a card with my serious Guild Wars nights. Then I remembered using a registry editor. Thank god I backed up or I would have had to reformat. They suck everyone avoid them like the plague

    Posted August 31, 2005 @ 7:11 am
  17. Ivan Tadej says:

    Hi Ed. I post quite a lot on ArsTechnica forums (and read even more), and there are bunch of “real techies” who know their stuff. And one in particular (with nick DriverGuru) exposed many many of these myths; for instance regarding the “memory optimizers”, “XP tweaks” and well “registry optimizing” (deleting the orphaned keys/entrys/values)

    As far as I understand it now these orphaned keys/entrys/values surely make registry hive-files (and their respective backups) unnecessarily bigger, but that (the size of the registry-files) certainly doesn’t degrade the computer’s performance per se, i.e. don’t impact the speed of registry operations (and therefore impact the overall computer’s speed) nomather how many of them were left after some program was un-installed, or how “deep” the respective key/entry/value resides in the registry structure, simply because registry queries (searching), reads and writes ARE NOT THE LINEAR PROCESS.

    Here are few related threads on ArsTechnica (my nick is “shirker”)

    “Keeping the registry tidy : How DO you do it ?!” (In this one DriverGuru mentions the “linear” thing)

    “removing unused registry entries?”

    Not related to this particular subject, but another “gem” from the very same DriverGuru guy was the one regarding the “number of running processes” thing. You see, I always thought that more things that are open/running/mapped etc. the slower the system might become. But then I was told by DriverGuru that ALMOST NOTHING IN THE SYSTEM RUNS IN NORDER-N TIME, LET ALSONE WORSE. In other words there is nothing that makes the system run slower just because there are more “things” running/mapped, like more processes, more handles, more texture-objects etc.

    P.S., However, there is one program that I would recommend. It is called Registry First Aid (shortly Reg 1 Aid), from KsL Software, published by RoseCitySoftware:

    http://www.infinisource.com
    http://www.RoseCitySoftware.com/Reg1Aid

    This one is really powerful, cause it doesn’t clean registry automatically (like I imagine most of “registry cleaners” do), but it offers users to browse invalid entries it finds, and then choose which one to fix, and how to fix them, like defferent options for paths for example, that app finds during HD scan for those string-values. This was especially useful, when I changed the “ProgramFiles” and “CommonFiles” variables with MS’s TweakUI, because Registry First Aid simply fixed all that for me (instead of doing it manually with Regedit)

    Options that it offers after the scan:

    “Fix entry” … fixes to the choosen “correct” entry
    “Leave entry without change” … self-explanatory
    “Delete entry” … self-explanatory
    “Cut Invalid Substring” … for complicated values with more than one path, etc.

    cheers, Ivan Tadej

    ________________

    Below are the links to my home-site, which is generally about the important computing stuff I discovered so far in the world of computing. I’ve tried to make a site that will try to express those other practical things that you learn when you are useing your computer, i.e. I didn’t want to make a site with usual “tweaks” and security programs listed (like there are many out there), and also nothe that the emphasis is on the site’s content not the look (by default I only use HTML/JavaScript and a bit of CSS), i.e. I’ve tried to make it as simple and fast as possible, so there’s no fancy code, etc.

    The three “clean” variants (with no popups, banner-adds, and W3C validated):

    http://ivan-tadej.atspace.com/index.html
    http://users.volja.net/tayiper/index.html
    http://shirker.freehost386.com/index.html

    Well, there are two others though with pretty much the same content (with only slight differences in site-code, like inner-links, host-specific banners, etc.), but I don’t list them here.

    Posted September 3, 2005 @ 7:07 pm
  18. Ian says:

    Iv just been cured of Registry ‘optimisers’!After reading your comments I decided to put it to the test.I downloaded 4 different Reg ‘optimisers’-each returned varying’discrepencies’.One advised I had 186′errors’.At the other end of the scale,another told me my registry was in an’outstanding’state.Its nonsense.Leave well alone is my advice to those who just cant resist breaking the ‘If it aint broke,dont fix it’wisdom.Thanks for freeing me!

    Posted September 5, 2005 @ 8:32 am
  19. albert says:

    I absolutely agree for all those registry cleaners but windows really need to clean the registry BUT in normal(without clean wrong keys and..)and safe metod AND to clean it if possuble all of the unused keys and values!I fhave found really very good tool for this “question” and it is jv16 power tools (the registry cleaner) and regsupreme(only registry cleaner).I am absolutely shure this is “one” (I will say the best) registry cleaners!!!!!!!

    Posted September 7, 2005 @ 4:59 am
  20. cow says:

    sometimes a bloated registry will cause problems… i do agree that most people should stay away from most registry cleaners. I do however like to manually clean my registry from all the left over keys programs like to leave.
    registry supreme or rg crawler work well with that but it helps if you have an idea what you are doing.
    I dont nessarily do it for performance but i am under the opinion that when you uninstall software it should remove all traces or ask if you want to keep ini files, etc but i cant stand the left directories and the forgotten reg keys.

    Posted September 16, 2005 @ 10:58 pm
  21. Charlotte K. says:

    Cleaning the Registry -by itself- does NOT actually free too much hard drive space, yet helps in preventing POSSIBLE Registry conflicts.

    Nevertheless, Registry Mechanic is but a S-C-A-M, as are many other registry “cleaners” out-there… meant to fool innocent people, and -perhaps- cleanse people’s wallets !
    .
    I DO USE SUCCESSFULLY 2 F-R-E-E Registry Cleaners in all of my computers (about one dozen of them -sic), and have also installed them in other people’s computers, many of them computer-illiterate, retired senior citizens, some over 70, for the main purpose of removing UN-WANTED FILES.
    .
    They use them regularly, at least once-a-month, for many, many years, on many different Windows Operating Systems, with notable exceptions on some Win 95’s, where I installed some older versions that are somewhat compatibile.
    .
    Here’s what I’m using, STRICTLY in their “default” settings, without any “tinkering” to their settings:
    ..
    1.) EasyCleaner, from: http://personal.inet.fi/business/toniarts/ecleane.htm

    2.) RegCleaner, from: http://www.worldstart.com/weekly-download/archives/reg-cleaner4.3.htm
    ***
    REPEAT, unless you know what you’re doing, do NOT change their respective Default Settings, or serious damage may be done to the computer.
    ***
    EasyCleaner … In example, only use the followings EasyCleaner “thingies”: MRU, Clear History, Clear Cookies, Clear Files, UnNecessary (make sure you have clicked/ticked all of the entries available here [Normal Types, Extra Types...etc.], followed by Search, … then Delete All, … followed by OK, wait… one more OK, … then Close -n.b.), and Registry, in the same way as UnNecessary.
    * NOTE that the UnDo feature leaves a lot to desire, and that the Clear Cookies is not too complete.

    RegCleaner … just go to the Tools > Registry CleanUp > Do Them All.

    Once it’s done, go to Select > All, to check/tick all entries, then click/tick on the Remove Selected (lower right corner -n.b.)
    ….
    Furthermore, these people also regularly do a C:\ and/or D:\
    Disk CleanUp from their respective Properties …, plus Internet Explorer Ptroperties CleanUp of Cookies, History and Files (including OffLine -n.b.).
    …..
    All this is followed by a Disk DeFragmentation.

    NOTE: Defragmentation and Disk CleanUp are most efficiently done in Safe-Mode, although very few people bother to do it.
    .
    I also teach others these same procedures, without even a single complaint.
    ..
    Needless to say that I -personally- “tinker” with these settings, whenever necessary…
    .
    Incidentally, as I correctly observed in various more-or-less technical postings elsewhere, these 2 fine programs need not be updated, and come FREE and CLEAR of any mal-ware, or other similar garbage, meant to extort money.

    The creators of these applications appear to be pure computing enthusiasts (like Patyrick Kolla of SpyBot Search & Destroy -n.b.), who love what they’re doing, and dream of a safer and cleaner Internet browsing and experience, while most others are in just for the money, at times even STEALING such good programs from well-intended people.
    ***
    This was my 2-cents. There are 98 more cents to make the Mighty Dollar ! :)

    Posted September 23, 2005 @ 12:54 pm
  22. Ivan Tadej says:

    Charlotte K., please elaborate; what do you mean/imagine by: “preventing POSSIBLE Registry conflicts.”, i.e. what are “registry conflicts” ??

    regards, Ivan Tadej

    Posted September 25, 2005 @ 1:08 pm
  23. Charlotte K. says:

    By “possible registry conflicts” I mean … potential “disagreements” between certain Registry Entries.

    In a more plain language, here are some examples of such:
    .
    1.) Boot up your computer, then have one, or even more message(s) DURING, or AFTER complete boot, requesting so-and-so file(s)… whereas such file(s) once belonged to program(s) that was/were “supposedly” un-installed ;
    ..
    2.) Similar message(s) as per above, due as a result of incorrect and/or incomplete un-installation operation(s), such as in the case of just DELETE, rather than UnInstall certain program(s), as done by inexperienced people ;

    3) Have program “XYZ, vs 1.xxx” un-installed, so that one can install an upgrade … say “XYZ, vs 2.xxx” . More often than not, some left-over files from the previous -and obsolete version- may end up interfering with the interface and operations of the newer version ;
    ….
    4.) Quite often, one may encounter even some executables still “alive-and-well” in the background, although these may
    not always be visible from the Windows Task Manager, yet they are THERE, un-necessarily eating up precious memory resources, that results in dramatic slow-down of the computer.
    .
    .
    Incidentally, following a detailed clean-up from spyware adware, germs, trojan horses, and others such “beasts”, many-a-time these “left-overs” are capable of completely regenerating themselves, rendering your tedious clean-up work as useless. Same goes for Registry entries, of course.
    ..
    ..
    Needless to say that manually editing the Registry should be -DEFINITELY- left to those that truly know what they are doing… for serious operating damage may occur as a result of error(s), even to the extent of “killing” the Operating System.
    ..
    However, more and more people desire to acquire a certain degree of “say” and control over their personal computers, thus … people’s tampering -in one way or another- with the Registry is inevitable.
    ..
    Strictly in THIS CONTEXT, my recommendation was -and is- to use these 2 Registry Cleaners, especially for their features that enable one to remove most of those unwanted files (history, cookies, temps, un-necessaries, and the like -n.b.). AND … Leave the Registry ITSELF alone !
    In other words, don’t do a Registry clean-up if you aren’t sure, or … are afraid.
    ..
    ====
    NOTE: a.)Every one of my clients (private & Corporate -n.b.) does every one of the above procedures, inclusive of the Registry clean-up, exactly as I trained them.

    b.) Every computer was “clean-as-a-whistle” prior to turning it over to their owner !!

    In other words, there was ABSOLUTELY no other possible interference from any loose Registry Entry, or “forgotten” invalid “Registry references” left by me. I specify this because I suspect that many Registry Cleaners’ users may have problems in using these wonderful applications due to certain OTHER pre-existing conditions, or incomplete PREVIOUS clean-ups, or naive attempts thereof.
    ====
    ..
    The SPEED INCREASE WAS CONSIDERABLE, if you take in account that some of the computers I worked on had almost everything “dead”, even the mouse … and I had to use “manual” means of accessing it, occasionally the MS-DOS.
    ..
    Not ONE of these computers had to be re-formatted, or OS re-installed, although the amount of work is considerable, and need to have lots of patience and -especially- passion, in doing it. As it were the case, almost every one of these computers contained some photos, and/or documents of importance that needed to be salvaged intactly, and absolutely no one area “specialist” was either capable, or willing to do it; They urged a clean re-install instead.
    ..
    In several years of working on computers, I ONLY “lost” two (2) of them, due to -I suspect- hard drive failure; However, I managed to salvage every single needed and prized item from them, whether with “manual” commands, or with home-made “improvisations”, in one of the two cases having the Hard Drive in the freezer, over-night !!!
    ..
    ..
    ..
    Keep in mind that cleaning the Registry is not -by itself- going to speed up too much of your computer, unless it has severe Registry “conflicts”, as heretofore defined.
    .
    The real speed increase comes from removing those ever accumulating un-necessary files, to be followed by Defragmentation.
    >
    NO ANY SEARCH BAR ALLOWED, except for Google’s Advanced.
    >
    Also, I tweak the IE’s Options, from Advanced >Empty Temp Internet files … (It’s but one of the many that are checked -n.b.), Programs >Manage Add-Ons, Content > AutoComplete is DISABLED, Content >MyProfile is DISABLED, Security is all CUSTOMIZED, while the General >Settings is set to NEVER.
    Likewise, the SpyBot Search & Destroy is tweaked in its Advanced Mode (I love its great capabilities !!), so are the others that I ALWAYS install on their computers, be it anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti- … rust ! … :o) …
    .
    I’m fully aware that -by and large- people should abstain to get into the Registry, unless they are knowledgeable; Yet, they do it anyway. So … My advice is for those that still want to do it.
    ..
    ..
    ..
    From my extensive experimentations with various utilities, I regretfully have to admit that programs created by pure “Computer Enthusiasts” are -in general- far better than the “commercial”, for-money versions !!!

    Also, most of the U.S.-made ones are inferiour, and almost every time associated with some sort of spy- , or ad- ware application, whether from the onset, or -more commonly- following the up-dating process. That includes Norton (one of my former “darlings”, and McAfee.

    PandaSoftware shows some timid promises… while TrendMicro appears to be Trend-Mendous with its FREE scanning & cleaning !
    ..
    In my recent experience, we fail to have any really clean & good US-made applications, at present time, while Open-Source scored yet another welcome victory throughout Europe and the rest of the World.

    EasyCleaner’s stolen-version owners try to sell it for some $ 24.99 or so, and is LOUSY…, so do two almost-identical copies of SpyBot Search & Destroy (marketed under other names -n.b.), while the real one was greatly handicapped by the “workings” of one of our US companies, by rendering a “funny” Tea-Timer interface… that I corrected, partially.

    ADVICE: To ensure that you have good program applications, one needs to do lots of research prior to trusting any of these !

    I, for one, test new applications in full for about 3 to 5 months, prior to installing them on others’ computers, going to as far as e-Mail exchanges with their authors, which enables me to know far more about their personal philosophy and/or motivations, as compared to most of us.

    My eMail addy is openly availabble: In-Direct@MyWay.com, for anyone with bona-fide, reasonable, and common-sensical issues.

    Do NOT S-P-A-M , please, for I know how to trace ALL of it, and act accordingly !

    Posted September 29, 2005 @ 12:15 am
  24. Ivan Tadej says:

    Dear Charlotte K.,

    [quote]1.) Boot up your computer, then have one, or even more message(s) DURING, or AFTER complete boot, requesting so-and-so file(s)… whereas such file(s) once belonged to program(s) that was/were “supposedly” un-installed ;[/quote]

    Yes, but these aren’t dangerous at all, just annoying. Also, they are easy to track and you can usually get rid of them (delete them) quite easily, since these entries normally reside under “HKCU\…\Run” and “HKLM\…\Run” keys.

    [quote]4.) Quite often, one may encounter even some executables still “alive-and-well” in the background, although these may not always be visible from the Windows Task Manager, yet they are THERE, un-necessarily eating up precious memory resources, that results in dramatic slow-down of the computer.[/quote]

    Well I can’t imagine how some executable would be still “alive-and-well” (you mean running as a process I assume), but not visible from the Windows Task Manager.

    [quote]Incidentally, following a detailed clean-up from spyware adware, germs, trojan horses, and others such “beasts”, many-a-time these “left-overs” are capable of completely regenerating themselves, rendering your tedious clean-up work as useless. Same goes for Registry entries, of course.[/quote]

    I can’t imagine any registry entry being responsible for re-creating the executable of already deleted program, i.e. if you deleted the executable no registry entry by itself can bring it back.

    [quote]The SPEED INCREASE WAS CONSIDERABLE, if you take in account that some of the computers I worked on had almost everything “dead”, even the mouse …[/quote]

    ???

    [quote]Strictly in THIS CONTEXT, my recommendation was -and is- to use these 2 Registry Cleaners, especially for their features that enable one to remove most of those unwanted files (history, cookies, temps, un-necessaries, and the like -n.b.)[/quote]

    This can be done from any file-manager or from Internet Options Control Panel’s applet (the General tab), i.e. particulary the “Delete Cookies…”, “Delete Files…” and “Delete History…” buttons. Don’t know why anyone would need a special program for that.

    [quote]Also, I tweak the IE’s Options, from Advanced >Empty Temp Internet files … (It’s but one of the many that are checked -n.b.), Programs >Manage Add-Ons, Content > AutoComplete is DISABLED, Content >MyProfile is DISABLED, Security is all CUSTOMIZED, while the General >Settings is set to NEVER.[/quote]

    Not quite sure what this has to do with registry cleaners…

    regards, Ivan Tadej

    Posted September 29, 2005 @ 6:06 pm
  25. Ivan Tadej says:

    >> The flip side is that a cache that’s overfilled with more
    >> data than is necessary, or that’s filled with old and
    >> obsolete data also is bad: That useless data is just so
    >> much junk that gets in the way.

    Yes, but as stated in Ed Bott’s original article (and I guess on Microsoft’s site too), the Windows cleans the old/obsolete files in Prefetch folder by itself (after 128 files were created); so why bothering with doing the OS’ job ??

    regards, Ivan Tadej

    Posted October 17, 2005 @ 4:33 pm
  26. Ivan Tadej says:

    Sorry all, I posted this last comment under the wrong article; it should be posted under “One more time: do not clean out your Prefetch folder!” one…

    Ivan Tadej

    Posted October 17, 2005 @ 4:40 pm
  27. Rick C says:

    I was about to buy a registry cleaner but, reading this board, have now reconsidered. I have been using Windows ME for several years and my computer has slowed appreciably. Can someone point a real computer novice to simple information which will help me to get rid of unwanted “stuff” and enhance performance?

    Posted November 1, 2005 @ 10:01 am
  28. Leah C says:

    I too was considering purchasing a registry cleaner to help speed up my computer but after reading this board I’ve decided against it. Thanks for the info Ed. Much appreciated.

    Posted November 18, 2005 @ 11:29 am
  29. Sensi says:

    You should try Tuneup Utilities (cf. http://www.tune-up.com/) before saying all that. It have a registry cleaner that have been reliable and efficient on all my 32 bit Windows XP systems (home, pro and media center 2005) since years, and it is free!

    Best regards,
    Sensi

    Posted November 23, 2005 @ 1:46 pm
  30. Ivan Tadej says:

    Well Sensi, please tell us what do you mean by “reliable and efficient” ??

    ________________

    regards,
    Ivan Tadej, Slovenija, Europe
    http://users.volja.net/tayiper
    http://satyrhosts.bravehost.com
    http://ivan-tadej.atspace.com

    Posted December 14, 2005 @ 6:56 pm
  31. Georg says:

    i tried a LOT of them - and (assuming) 99% of them are ineffective (because they dont find many wrong entried) and/or DANGEROUS since they delete important registry entries.

    IN FACT - i can *only* recommend two cleaner/defragger tools which is the excellent

    jv16 power tools (with other great essential tools)

    and/or

    regsupreme pro

    which is from the same company, similiar to jv16 tools but rather a registry-only tool.

    STAY AWAY FROM ANY OTHER registry-cleaner - i speak from experience and i had bad ones with other tools than the two above.

    A very good registry defragger (== purging of the deleted entries, therefore shrinking the registry) is

    NTREGOPT (together with erunt, which is a registry backup tools)

    I use both of those tools with success for a while.

    “success” in a sense that i find many unused/wrong entries once in a while and after deleting i *usually* dont see problems on my PC.

    BUT BEWARE - editing, deleting (even with a automatic tool) is NOT something for everyone - it’s my opinion it’s tools for geeks and hardcore computer literates which know what they’re doing ! You need a pretty good understanding about PCs and Windows internals - otherwise you will create more problems. DO NOT buy those tools if you’re rather inexperienced and expect wonders and magic solutions for software problems.

    BUT if you’re an experienced user those tools CAN be very might and powerful. I personally dont have a doubt that purging the registry of unused/wrong entries (sometimes hundreds at a time) and then defragging (shrinking) the registry about 3% or so in the long run benefits my machine.

    Windows (XP), respective the software you install, has the problem that (even after a proper un-install) MANY of the programs leave entries in the registry.

    Those tools are also good for selective deleting entries if you know that you deleted a certain program and STILL there are related entries in the registry.

    BEWARE AGAIN - deleting ONE wrong entry can make software non-working, and if it comes really bad can screw up a whole system.

    Posted December 18, 2005 @ 3:06 am
  32. Erik says:

    Hi Ed,

    I also tried a lot of them Reg Mechanic, RFA, reg cleaner, reg seeker, etc. I ‘cleaned’ the registry on a regarly base

    My conclusion: what a waste of time.

    I noticed no single performance improvement or what so ever, but after a while i faced a lot of problems wrt a lot of programs (won’t start up or some functionalities were gone.

    I remove all that crap from my PC and now after 6 months my PC is still spinning like a Ferrari. :)

    Kind regards,

    Erik, The Netherlands

    Posted December 24, 2005 @ 3:49 am
  33. Sha Boland says:

    I have XP Media Center Edition 2005 and recently whenever I load up Windows, my Systemworks 2006 deletes a backdoor virus. Because of this I thought about the old program I used to use, back in the day of Windows ME, Registery Mechanic, since it allows me to customize my start options. I don’t use these kind of programs to clean the registery, but to stop several processes that automatically run on my computer that I do not want. I found out that Registery is worse than ever and isn’t compatible with MCE05. So, I’m wondering, do all these utilities that can alter the startup always fall under registery cleanups? I’ve downloaded programs that claim to help startup but they are so complicated, I don’t want to mess with them. Does anyone have a utility they can recommend that will not destroy my system? This virus automatically running on startup is annoying, I don’t want whatever program it is that’s trying to run it to start. I wish I could find out what it is and remove it. Systemworks told me to run a system scan, which doesn’t do anything.

    Posted January 3, 2006 @ 3:17 am
  34. Cosmin says:

    I hate to break it to you but cleaning up the Registry is a requirement. Installing Office 2000 on a fresh system adds about 3 MB to the registry. And guess what, uninstalling Office doesn’t make the registry shrink back. Just of curiosity I compared a “before Office” and “after Office” full registry export. There were dozens of leftover Office entries, that the uninstallation doesn’t remove, that’s without mentioning files that were left behind.
    And not only that but I have several user accounts on my PC. I have one that has a user profile hive of about 15 MB. And it’s slow as hell. Copying and opening up Win Explorer is slooow. On the clean user profile, the user hive is about 1 MB (but it’s only clean because I don’t use it often), and the difference is visible. Explorer opens right away, regular tasks perform better. Even right clicking brings up the menu faster. The registry seems to suffer from the same problem as Access databases, which require recompressing periodically (I’ve seen an Access database of about 2 MB shrink to 1 MB after recompressing). The registry is the dumbest idea anyone could possibly come up with.

    Posted February 10, 2006 @ 9:24 am
  35. Ivan Tadej says:

    >> The registry is the dumbest idea anyone could possibly come up with.

    Well, what do you then suggest to use instead? Maybe the .ini files to store all the information about the devices, computer/hardware configuration and software installations like in the 9x days??

    regards,
    Ivan Tadej, Slovenija, Europe

    Posted March 15, 2006 @ 11:11 am
  36. Ivan Tadej says:

    Sha Boland, you might want to try the “Autoruns” program: http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/autoruns.html from Sysinternals site. It is a free and “non-setup” application, i.e. “non-setup” in a meaning that it’s only a .zip archive that requires no special installation whatsoever.

    best regards,
    Ivan Tadej, Slovenia, Europe
    http://www.tadej-ivan.be/

    Posted March 16, 2006 @ 11:44 am
  37. ken mead says:

    i used to use registery cleaners and felt that my pc was more prone to ustablity and in 12 months i havent been using them my pc runs just fine.I figure that if everything gets out of shape just renistall everything on a fresh hd , you cant do better , in short install as few programs as possible . I have also found that sometimes sticking to original installations discs/files is better then upgrading to later upgrades , if it not broken dont try to fix it. if you pc is running ok , leave it alone.

    Posted March 20, 2006 @ 1:47 am
  38. Ivan Tadej says:

    ken, I know precisely what you are trying to say, and be sure that this is only a so-called “placebo effect” and believe me, that that’s pretty much all there is about it …

    best regards,
    Ivan Tadej, Slovenia, Europe
    http://www.tadej-ivan.be/

    Posted March 20, 2006 @ 12:46 pm
  39. marlboro says:

    first off if u use registry cleaner just to clean crap out then u r fool and should have your computer crash on u other wise a registry cleaner can be useful just not in way u all think proable cuz most of u r point and click operator not trying to be mean here but ok u should never do anything to registry if u dont know what u r doing so if get a program just click away and let it delete stuff then u desrve to have your pc crash

    now that being said i use a small registry cleaner not to increase speed but i install and unistall alot apps now a alot the apps leave regkeys that can lead to system conflic ok here exsample i uninstall my old torrent client and i had torrent file associated with it but when i uninstalled it my pc still thought it was my defult do to a regkey now that leads to problem using my newclient as my defult true i can manuly regkey remove and in most cases i do but i can just bring up my registry cleaner have it do keep swipe then scane though all the one i know i need to get rid notice i said scane them meaning look over them my self using registry cleaner save me time going through my regregistry manualy when i can just pull up a list of all the old regkeys in my sytem and look to see what i know needs to go for u people that just run them registry cleaner and click your way though and dont take the few seconds it take to read what u r geting rid and what it conneted to then shouldnt be on a computer u wasting your money even having one but a registry cleaner can be useful to clear up bit and peices of left over regkeys that your system might think still active and that will give u some type of conflic but u still should take the time to learn a bit about regkey befor u remove any even if a an app sayes it ok if u dont run the registry cleaner to speed your computer but to keep for having sytem erors my sugation to u all if u seeing how from what i read none of u seam to know that much is take your computer to best buy and let them do mantinance seeing how u all r wasting your money any how even own the thing whats a couple more dollars

    Posted May 2, 2006 @ 1:07 pm
  40. Jim Palmer says:

    Thanks for your input. I actually convinced myself to download one, however reluctantly. When it finished loading, I found it peculiar that it immediately gave me and error message: Error Doctor has created an unexpected error in errordoctor.exe! Just as well, as I was too suspicious anyway because none give the price before the “free” download. It’s like here’s your problem, do you want to pay us to fix it or take a huge risk?

    Enough of that. The reason I considered their offer(s) is I have lost my sound and volume control altogether and my computor says there is no driver. Perhaps you can advise me on this problem. My operator is ME and I have had sound for 5+ years. a small ps: System Restore is also disabled.

    Thank You’
    Jim

    Posted May 15, 2006 @ 2:29 am
  41. mac says:

    Jim,

    There two kinds of people:
    1. Those who want to make fast money and they gon’t give a … about your problems,
    2. and those who wants to make money and reputation with thier reliable, safe products.
    I choose the safes ones: AMUST Registry Cleaner, JV Power tools.

    Also some people are making comperison analysis on the regular basis.
    web-site: http://www.wilderssecurity.com

    Posted May 30, 2006 @ 3:18 am
  42. Martin Katz, Ph.D. says:

    I frequently use RegSeeker to clean my registry. Not to speed up the computer, but to fix it.

    It has restored the ability to run or install some programs.
    Cleaning the registry is often a good fix to XP problems.

    I have field engineers and QA testers do it when they are having problems.

    Martin

    Posted May 30, 2006 @ 9:50 am
  43. Math Oliverio says:

    I’m using registry cleaner on a regular basis. Many small programs have bad uninstallers and installers too.

    So just to keep PC clean I’ve purchased this one
    http://www.xpregistrycleaner.com
    http://www.amustsoft.com/registrycleaner

    Posted May 31, 2006 @ 5:06 am
  44. WASTEDLIFE says:

    REGISTRY REPAIR UTILITIES CAN BLOW AWAY IMPORTANT APPLICATION FILES. MY UTILITY ALWAYS POLEAXED HP’S IMAGE ZONE PLUS. GOOD BYE REGISTRY UTILITY.

    FOR A SIMPLE RESTORATION OF TRASHED REGISTRY FILES TYPE “SFC /SCANNOW” AT THE COMMAND PROMPT.RESULT: ALL ORIGINAL REGISTRY FILES ARE YOURS. EDEN BEFORE THE FALL, ALAS, NOT COMPUTING BEFORE BILL.

    NOW, IF EVERYTHING’S REALLY GONE TO HELL, DON’T KILL YOURSELF; DON’T CURSE BILL. COUNT TO 100, TAKE A WALK, ETC. YOU, OR AN AVERAGE GEEK, CAN (USUALLY) FIXED THE MALFUNCTION WITH HP’S D:RECOVERY- ASSUMING YOU HAVE A PAVILION COMPUTER. BUT, IF YOU’RE REALLY, REALLY SCREWED, AND YOU CAN’T ACCESS SYSTEMS RECOVERY AT BOOT (’F10′), THEN RUN MICROSOFT’S RECOVERY CONSOLE CD, DO “QUICK” FORMAT C:, THEN REBOOT WITH THE CONSOLE CD STILL IN DRIVE. PRESS ‘F3′ FOR BOOT OPTIONS & REINSTALL THE OS. GOOD LUCK & BACK UP.

    IF YOU DON;T HAVR HP SOFTWARE, ANY OS’S RECOVERY DISK OUGHT TO ENABLE YOU TO REBOOT, ACCESS C:\ HARD-WIRED IN RAM, THEN REFORMAT, ETC.,ETC. YOU MAY HAVE TO DISMOUNT THE C-DRIVE FIRST. THERE’S A COMMAND IN THE “HELP” LIST FOR THAT, IF REQUIRED. TAKE COURAGE; YOU WILL SMILE AGAIN.

    Posted July 2, 2006 @ 1:50 pm
  45. Michael O'Keefe says:

    In full agreement on the “registry cleaners.” The one exception I’ve personally used with only the best results is Ccleaner. It also does a great job of cleaning up temp files, cookies of your choice, ect.

    I’ve Installed Registry Mechanic a few times and after “cleaning” the registry, the computer took 45 seconds longer to boot up! That kind of performance increase I don’t need. I wouldn’t use this program again except as a last resort prior to reinstalling windows.

    Posted July 25, 2006 @ 6:18 pm
  46. Spring says:

    [quote]
    Ivan Tadej Says:

    September 29th, 2005 at 6:06 pm

    [quote]4.) Quite often, one may encounter even some executables still “alive-and-well” in the background, although these may not always be visible from the Windows Task Manager, yet they are THERE, un-necessarily eating up precious memory resources, that results in dramatic slow-down of the computer.[/quote]

    Well I can’t imagine how some executable would be still “alive-and-well” (you mean running as a process I assume), but not visible from the Windows Task Manager.[/quote]

    Here is evidence for why it is sometimes necessary to clean out registry keys: but you MUST know what you are doing, and ALWAYS create a backup in case you mess up.

    I had installed a trial version of CyberScrub Antivirus which uses Kaspersky engines. I decided I didn’t like it, shut it down, uninstalled it through Add/remove programs, used search to find every folder related to CyberScrub anti-virus including searching hidden folders. I deleted all of these folders. The results were these two error messages which I received every time I restarted my computer:

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Service Control Manager
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 7026
    Date: 7/14/2006
    Time: 7:43:36 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    The following boot-start or system-start driver(s) failed to load:
    Klif
    ——-
    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Service Control Manager
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 7000
    Date: 7/14/2006
    Time: 7:43:36 AM
    User: N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    The KAV Monitor Service service failed to start due to the following error:
    The system cannot find the path specified.

    The CAUSE of this was left over registry keys in the registry. The dratted KAVMONITORSERVICE even showed up in my services list.

    A similar situation occurred when I uninstalled Counterspy which I had tried out. I kept seeing the program try to start up every time I logged in: there would be a quick flash of the icon in the systems notifications tray before it vanished. The program had been uninstalled, all folders searched for and deleted. The culprit, once again, was left over registry keys in the registry.

    Mostly I use a registry tool simply to find the registry keys that are causing problems or are from uninstalled and deleted programs. I NEVER use the auto function.

    Incidentally, the KAVMONITORSERVICE [b]never[/b] showed up in taskmanager even when the program was installed and running. Taskmanager does NOT show all tasks and processes that go on.

    Spring

    Posted July 31, 2006 @ 10:32 pm
  47. George QWuellhorst says:

    I am in complete agreement about NOT using these registry cleaners. I am running a dual boot syatem, Win2000 Pro and Windows ME.
    Whenever I do uninstall a program, the only time I “play” with the registry, I run Norton’s Windoctor. I am surprised no one mentioned it. Windoctor, will list all the registry entries it finds with a description of what it does. It gives you the option of manually deleting or changing esch incorrect entry it finds.
    99% of thje time all entries found are those connected to the uninstalled program.
    Never had any problems doing things this wsy,
    Sutre wish they had a “windoctor” for 2000Pro.
    George.

    Posted August 9, 2006 @ 2:14 pm
  48. Jake says:

    I have to agree with some writers, generally registry cleaners are very useless. Especially those filled up with eye candy, sound effects and empty promises.

    But I’m glad to say there is one exception: jv16 PowerTools.

    First of all, it’s not a registry cleaner. It’s an utility suite containing many really good utilities, a registry cleaner for one. But the quality of the registry cleaner is something way beyond the average. It doesn’t have so called false positives (valid registry entries listed as errors), it doesn’t make up errors as some programs do.

    Posted August 14, 2006 @ 1:29 am
  49. Luis Pineiro says:

    O.K. Im convienced, I wont be buying any Reg Cleaner again. I did not know about all the trauma it causes.

    But how about all the “Delete Files”, “Clean Files” permenately software out there that claims to erase everything and everywhere a person goes on the internet? Can you advise on that please, thanks. Write to me at the above email address thanks.

    Posted August 30, 2006 @ 8:18 pm
  50. kenman says:

    If you’re hosing your system with registry cleaners then perhaps you don’t have the technical know-how to be fiddling with these things in the first place. I’ve used many registry cleaners and never, not once, had an issue. Conversly, I’ve fixed many, MANY problems due to errors in the registry. There are just some problems that can’t be fixed without making changes to the registry, and you could either spend a week researching each individual issue and making the changes manually, or you could let a cleaner find the problems and report them to you, create a backup, and then fix the problem for you. I much prefer cleaners also because many times they’ve found problems that I didn’t realize were caused by the registry.

    That being said, if you’re incompetent to be able to read over the reports generated by the cleaners and then make an educated decision, and instead you blindly click the FIX NOW button as soon as it appears, then yes, you should avoid registry cleaners and optimizers. On the same token, if you’re not proficient enough at fixing computers to be able to gracefully recover from a bad decision involving registry repair, then once again, you should be fiddling with such matters, or if you do, don’t bitch when it breaks and you don’t know how to fix it.

    Registry cleaners and optimizers, no matter how fancy the UI is, aren’t made for the average (novice) user. Just like I would never recommend to the average user to disable all unused XP services using services.msc, I would never suggest to the average user to use a registry cleaner or optimizer of any sort.

    Posted September 6, 2006 @ 6:42 pm
  51. Kevin108 says:

    The only RegClaner I have ever used is Microsoft’s OWN RegClean v4.1. It’s long been discontinued but I’m sure you can find it online somewhere. It hasn’t made much of a difference with Windows 2000 or XP but with Windows 9x it made a TREMENDOUS difference in boot time. I still use it every few months or so.

    Posted September 9, 2006 @ 9:38 pm
  52. raza says:

    whatever ever happened to good old microsoft regclean? it works fine with anything upto xp-pro, regardless of their discontinuation…. may not be the most effective, but its never crashed me. i tend to use it every 3-4mo or so.

    Posted September 11, 2006 @ 11:10 am
  53. TechTweaker says:

    I use ccleaner. It removes unused or entries that are left over from an uninstall. I have never had a problem plus it gives you the option of creating a backup just in case it accidentally deletes an important entry. Thats the only one I use.
    Spybot s&d has a tool that removes uneeded entries as well its in the advanced section under tools.

    Posted September 11, 2006 @ 11:19 am
  54. cbmeeks says:

    Registry cleaners don’t do a good job against stupid programs that check to see if its garbage is in the registry. It will just put it back.

    stop installing crap programs and you don’t have to worry about the registry. :-)

    http://www.codershangout.com

    Posted September 11, 2006 @ 11:21 am
  55. Arrakistor says:

    I used WinASO on one of my systems that was unusually slow running XP Pro. A sony VAIO machine. After it cleaned out the 360+ errors it found, and defragged the registry it ran much much faster. The errors before would be, for example, long wait times when trying to maximize or minimize a screen, or trying to open My Computer or surf at all through the file system. The difference was significant, and I would indeed recommend WinASO to anyone with similar issues. Not to mention, I am pretty sure it backs up the changes it makes, so you can undo them if you come across an issue like the article mentions.

    Posted September 11, 2006 @ 11:22 am
  56. jd says:

    Ivan,
    A nice alternative to the registry WOULD be something stored in separate files like you’re saying. Or at least a database format that doesn’t choke when it becomes a little large. MacOS X has an abstraction layer that everyone uses for storing preferences that just keeps it in a compressed XML file in a developer-defined scope. Meaning that if the preferences are system-wide, they go into /Library/Preferences, or if they’re only for the user (which 99% of them are), they go into /Users/username/Library/Preferences, etc. I’ve never run into any slowdowns with this system. Using the API is dead simple as it does most of the work for you, including picking a filename to store the preferences in. It can also handle all kinds of serialized objects. It would be nice if Windows moved to this type of system and got rid of the whole registry bloat problem once and for all.

    I don’t care about the disk space the registry requires,. I just care about the fact that the bigger it gets, the slower it gets. And eventually, it can get very slow.

    Posted September 11, 2006 @ 11:28 am
  57. The Blunt Prophet says:

    In this day and age of reformating now taking around 30 minutes to be back up and running. Who cares who tested what. If you want to try and fix something quickly use one if you screw it up use your backup and be back up and running quickly anyways.

    In my eyes 6 one way half a dozen the other.

    Posted September 11, 2006 @ 11:30 am
  58. Sausageman says:

    Hello everybody :)

    This was wery interresting, and i thank you all for your knowledge and shearing it to otehers in need.

    My question is about: Tuneup utilites 2006 - and it´s 1-click maintenance. I use it with its basic settings and it runs automatically when windows starts, but only then. So far it has been all good nd okay.

    Does enybody have eny bad experiences tuneup 2006?

    i have experience with registrymechanic -program and it really caused a few odd problems = delete! My brother recommended tuneup, and i´ve been using it…

    Posted September 12, 2006 @ 9:26 am
  59. Andrew says:

    Mark Russinovich has put the “cleaning the registry” improves performance” Myth to rest:

    http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/registry-junk-windows-fact-of-life.html

    “A few hundred kilobytes of unused keys and values causes no noticeable performance impact on system operation. Even if the registry was massively bloated there would be little impact on the performance of anything other than exhaustive searches.”

    And like Ed said there is still no documented reproduceable evidence of any performance improvement from cleaning the registry.

    Posted September 25, 2006 @ 12:08 pm
  60. Frank Castro says:

    WARNING!WARNINGWARNING!

    “REGSUPREME PRO” -WHAT AN ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!!. DL’d IT,RAN IT,
    NOW MY NEW BUILD WILL NOT DOING ANYTHING BUT LET ME USE THE INTERNET. NO CONTROL PANEL,NO SYSTEM RESTORE, NO XP RECOVERY, CANNOT OPEN ANYPROGRAMS,LET SAY THAT AGAIN, CANNOT OPEN OR RUN ANY PROGRAMS! , ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

    TRIED TO USE THE XP RECOVERY AND NOTHING. WAS TOLD AT ANOTHER POST THE EASIEST THING TO DO IS BUY A NEW HARD DRIVE AND INSTALL XP ON TO THAT,THEN LOAD CRITICAL INFO OFF OF THE EXISTING HARD DRIVES.

    I JUST READ ABOVE HOW NOT TO USE “REGSUPREME PRO” ON XP MCE. I WOULD GIVE ANYTHING IF I HAD READ THIS POST BEFOREHAND.

    IF YOU VALUE YOUR TIME, MONEY AND SANITY AVOID “REGSUPREME PRO AT ALL COSTS. AND BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WITH THE REST OF THE JUNK OUT THERE. YEAH IT CLEANED MY REGISTRY! CLEANED IT RIGHT OUT. THIS WAS THE NEW RELEASE “REGSUPREME PRO. THAT WAS TOUTED AS SAFE!

    THE SUPPOSED BACK UP FILES WOULD NOT EVEN OPEN NO MATTER WHAT.
    I HAVE DONE THINGS THAT CAUSED CONFLICTS BEFORE, BUT WAS ALWAYS ABLE TO REPAIR OR RESTORE. WHAT A TOTAL NIGHTMARE!!!!

    PLEASE IF ANYONE HAS ANY HELPFUL IDEAS ON HOW TO FIX THIS DISASTER, IT WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

    FRANK
    CASTROREALTY@BELLSOUTH.NET

    Posted October 11, 2006 @ 7:44 pm
  61. Bernard Winchester says:

    I have just read the post re TuneUp Utilities and One Click Maintenance: I have been using it for three years and it has never given me any trouble (unlike, I agree, Registry Mechanic!). After reading the above, however, I certainly wouldn’t run OneClick every day, but rather every few weeks. Other features of TuneUp have proved invaluable, such as controlling start-up programs, removing short-cut arrows, restoring cascading menus, etc. No doubt could do these things from inside Windows, but for me TuneUp works simply and effectively.

    Posted October 30, 2006 @ 7:37 am
  62. Chipper says:

    I don’t know if I entirely agree. I have been using StompSoft’s Registry Repair for a while now and after the first use I did notice a considerable change in the amount of time that it took for my computer to boot up. Now this may be due to invalid entries that were trying to start programs that were no longer installed, but I tend to think that over time you do collect a lot of clutter that can impact the performance of your computer. So on one hand if you have only been using your computer for a few years cleaning the registry may not make much of a difference, however if you have been using it for several years or more I think that there is a benefit to cleaning it via the use of a registry cleaner because of the accumulation of entries that are present.

    Posted November 1, 2006 @ 1:59 pm
  63. Jared says:

    I got JV-16 power tools, and I now have way more problems then I could ever invent.

    My 2nd DvD player, (when I put in a dvd to read) completely fails the system. I don’t even get the ‘blue screen of death’. It goes into a warm boot, just like as if you just reached down and hit the reset switch.

    I have soooo many issues now, I’m gonna have to totally wipe the entire drive. Fdisk the whole freaking thing (4 partitions) and all of them now have bad tables, and chkdsk won’t fix it anymore.

    I had found soo many sites promoting registry programs, and of course nobody said all the issues you will get.

    Do yourself a favor - Don’t use a registry cleaner. You’re just asking for a rebuild. start with a clean drive, setup os, run chkdsk, run updates, run chkdsk…

    and leave it at that.

    Posted November 6, 2006 @ 4:56 pm
  64. wayne says:

    You guys should have a look at this article it helped me out lots!

    http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=171203805

    Posted November 7, 2006 @ 4:19 pm
  65. Bill Seaton says:

    Ed,

    I have a problem with Antivirus. I suddenly got a message that my protection was poor. I uninstalled the program at fault and installed AOL’s protection package.the problem is I can’t COMPLETELY install antivirus since it says I have multiple antivirus programs on my computer. I have tried uninstalling repeatedely and have no luck at all. How can I completely uninstall all traces of the program I originally wanted to get rid of?

    Bill S.

    Posted November 26, 2006 @ 9:14 am
  66. Grant says:

    I have found that running a reg cleaner increases the responsiveness of navigating windows (IE: Bringing up context menus, etc) but as far as overall processor performance and mem usage, I would have to agree that while there will be gains, the gains will be minor.

    Posted November 27, 2006 @ 10:10 am
  67. Jared says:

    I wrote an earlier comment about JV-16 power tools. I’ve got a ton of issues now. I talked to an ‘old duffer’ who has been in the IT world for just as long as it’s been around. He told me you can still use the old MS program - regclean.exe that came with win 98 (??)

    that actually fixed alot of the problems that JV-16 power tools created. I have a paid for, full program of JV-16 power tools. I’ll never use it again.

    Posted December 16, 2006 @ 3:20 pm
  68. JoTongue says:

    Ok. There is no data to support whether Registry Cleaners actually create a performance gain, or degrade it. I saw how you posted someones comment about CCleaner and that it actually DOES seem to do something for the system, run it once a month on the average users computer and you can easily gain over 500MB (Yes, MegaBytes) of space. THAT is data that can be backed, though there is still no way to tell whether running “Issues” portion of the program will actually do any good in relation to performance.

    I suppose if you were hit with Zango or Tango or WildTangent and any other form of Malware — after getting them removed — and then running something like CCleaner’s “Issues” option might just get rid of the crap that shouldnt have been there in the first place.

    Why would you want a Registry Entry for Malware????

    That’s my .002 dollars.

    Posted December 30, 2006 @ 10:32 am
  69. Camille Lockling says:

    Well after reading all these comments I realize I really am a complete novice although I have had this computer for 4 years. I went without any virus protection for months.I just now signed on with comcast and have a three month trial with Mcafee. But prior to signing on I have been getting this pop up that says my computer could be damaged and I need to sign on with registry cleaner gold or something like that. I cannot get rid of it so I keep clicking it off. My computer seems to be alright. How can I get rid of this?

    Posted January 2, 2007 @ 12:27 am
  70. Dudeman says:

    Has anyone bothered to tally up the total for and against for Registry Cleaners? It seems there are many issues that make sense on both sides. However, being a firm believer in Murphy’s Law, you have to believe one of his versions is sure to come up! Bottom line, I’ll stay away from Reg Cleaners and just do a defrag once a week and if things get bad, I’ll just format drive and re-install my original OS image and it’ll be back to square one.

    Thanks all.

    Posted January 6, 2007 @ 8:52 pm
  71. Mazinger says:

    Registry cleaners are VERY benificial. If you think you are pro user, you should still read how each cleaner works and what it does and doesn’t do before you dive into clicking “Start”

    The number of entries that are left behind from installations, removals, driver, moved files or folders, cache for Java and Explorer are immense. After a long time of use, the entries make Windows search more strings to access the programs and thrash the hard drive unnessessarily for objects that are not there.

    Ever get a Trojan, virus, Malware/Spyware? Few virus programs remove all the entries and files that were associated with those malware. Leaving them still causes conflicts with Windows. Well these come in handy to identify the strings, entries, hidden installation that Windows does not identify as an installation package and even give you the programs executable, dll, .bak files and locations that remain and still link themselves to Windows files that make your system run slow or not as fast as it did and keep the hard drive from searching sectors for files that have been removed.

    If you have no self education on these programs, then no wonder it messed up yor systems.

    I have used RegCleaner and Jv 16 Powertools for years on every computer I built and installed it to help my friends overcome slow performance, complete malware removal and program removal cleanup and never ever had a problem nor a need to load a previous restore or registry backup. In fact they have helped in the TOTAL removal of Spyware and Trojans 100 fold.

    The comment from Ed “I’d go a step further: Don’t run registry cleaner programs, period” should have been preceeded with ” In my opinion” since there is obviously no valid edjucation behind the blog.

    Posted January 7, 2007 @ 4:34 pm
  72. Rex McCarty says:

    I bought my first Computer in Apr.1998, it had Windows 95 and Crashes were the norm. During the first two weeks it would only boot up by hitting the F1 key so a fifty dollar trip to the computer shop that only charged but didn’t fix the problem Prompted me to get some knowledge fast. I reformatted and reinstalled by the end of April and started buying parts. I built my first one that fall and and will never again buy a computer.All these Win 95 problems led me to Try microsoft’s regclean, every time the computer would Bog down and slow up I would use it. It very definately freed it back up. This has worked on every Windows up through Win 2000 Pro and allthough I never owned XP it works on it also. Now I use the perfect solution to The Windows Registry. Linux!

    Posted January 24, 2007 @ 9:56 pm
  73. MrHomey says:

    Okay, I’ve read all the comments and it seems that cleaning the registry might not be such a good idea. That aside, I have found no mention of the highly touted RegCure. The free download found 2162 problems on my machine (mostly in the Empty Reg Keys and File/Path Refs). Help! I am tempted to do it.

    Posted February 11, 2007 @ 5:22 pm
  74. terry8898 says:

    GRRR! I learnt the hardway too. I don’t both using registry cleaners since it wiped important registries and I had to do a clean rebuild of my PC what a waste of time.

    Posted March 2, 2007 @ 3:25 pm
  75. Tom Dombrosky, Tampa, Florida says:

    I only know that my 3 year old Dell Dimension now takes about 8 minutes to boot and everything else has slowed commensurately. I haven’t tried a reg. cleaner, but was about to try when I came across this web site.

    Now what do I do?

    LOL

    Posted March 2, 2007 @ 7:38 pm
  76. Pete Green says:

    Hi,
    Read through a lot of the comments, and yes it’s true, stay away from reg cleaners.
    I went through a phase of about two months with a collection of reg cleaners. Reg Cure, Winoptimizer, Registry Mechanic, and Crap Cleaner.
    XP gradually got slower loading until it was taking about 15 minutes to load.
    I was happily running the software and finding regularly up to 200 “problems”, I was thinking wow what a boost for my PC getting rid of all this rubbish, but how wrong I was.
    I think a software is needed that is ultimately intelligent in it’s deletion of files.
    However in real terms it’s down to the user to clue up about what can be deleted and what can’t.
    If you are unsure dont dabble with any of them.
    I have totally reinstalled XP from scratch and i’ve still got start up problems!

    Posted March 3, 2007 @ 9:54 am
  77. James Schwartzkopf says:

    Tom Dombrosky —

    Your best bet is probably a virus and spyware scan. I’d bet decent money your issues lies there.

    If those don’t clear up your issues, your next best bet is probably to reinstall windows (there are other options, but those are beyond what I can get into here).

    Beware the snake oil, there’s a lot of it out there. If they are trying to sell you someting and promising to solve all your troubles, 90% chance they’re full of kaka.

    Posted March 17, 2007 @ 4:24 am
  78. steve says:

    I was having probs getting a certain driver to start, having tried to cure it myself unsuccesfully, i got the pc. man in costing a fair amount of money. It worked, but later prob occured again.After reading your comments, i began to wonder and realised the probs occured after i had installed the enemy.I recovered all what i had cleaned from the registry back-up and hey presto.If only i had read your comments before wasting money.So i would just like to say a big thankyou to you, your comments have helped no end…..Thankyou again, take care….Steve

    Posted March 17, 2007 @ 6:05 am
  79. joe98200 says:

    I too used Registry Mechanic to fix my files because Halo PC wouldn’t work in the first place. This was recommended so I tried it. What happened was the opposite of what I wanted. Things like GameGuard.des processes were not working properly and other such problems surfaced. I definitely wouldn’t try something like this again.

    Today I did a complete restoration of my laptop and everything is back to normal.

    Posted March 17, 2007 @ 7:58 pm
  80. Carlos Reyes says:

    Ok. I’ve read all the comments and it seems that use a registry cleaner might not be such a good idea.
    But if the registry is a data base that keep al that we install and all what We do. need to be a way to clean the registry whit out reinstall windows

    Posted March 27, 2007 @ 2:20 am
  81. Janice says:

    Don’t…I’ve “experimented” with a variety of registry cleaners including ccleaner and though in most cases any damage could be reversed, in my last “experiment” it failed miserably and windows was totally trashed. Well not totally I could still boot but it was full of errors that only got worse as I attempted fixes. Ended up buying a new drive, restoring from my original restore CD and then installing only minimal programs. I kept the old drive to access data as I needed it. I must say things run fast now. Now that is a good registry cleaner ;-)

    Personally, the only cleaner I found reliable is myself and regedit. I’m more careful then any of these programs about what I delete (AOL crap)

    Posted March 28, 2007 @ 8:58 pm
  82. Roy Turnbull says:

    In searching for info on registry cleaning software, I found only one true test: “Langa Letter: Testing 10 Windows ‘Registry Cleaning’ Software Packs” (From the October 10, 2005 issue of Information Week). Here is the link:
    http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=171203805

    Result: only 2 of the 10 tested programs worked. Two of the programs that had poor performance were highly recommended elsewhere. The two that performed well: JV16 PowerTools and EasyCleaner (The second one is free).

    The testing could have been more complete, but it was the only evaluation anywhere I could find that didn’t base ratings only on features or ease of use, but actually had a structured test to evaluate performance. I didn’t read all of the posts, but did notice favorable mentions of these products, and warnings against several others.

    Caveat Emptor
    Roy

    Posted April 1, 2007 @ 11:14 am
  83. Darkan9el says:

    I use JV16 on a daily basis and it is more than just a reg cleaner its system management program. the reg cleaner gets rid of rubbish, that does not mean it speeds the system up, but just dusts behind the filing cabinet.

    I also use another registry program called Registry Workshop this is a great program for searching the registry but does more besides.

    As for actually having a registry I’ve read recently that a registry isn’t actually necessary and that programs just require an ini file to run. I have programs that do just that on my U3 stick and on my flash drive.

    So why exactly does micosoft want every PC to have a registry?

    Posted April 7, 2007 @ 5:29 pm
  84. Lipsknot says:

    Mate I just ran Ccleaner on vista and i deleted 114.1 Meg and it runs heaps faster and is running fine.

    Posted April 16, 2007 @ 2:58 am
  85. poop ove says:

    Most of the registry cleaners allows you to select the entries you want to delete. So if you are going to use a reg cleaner id say, learn what not to delete before you do.

    Otherwise just dont use them.

    Posted April 17, 2007 @ 6:35 am
  86. Corrine says:

    Two years old and this post is still going strong!

    http://www.freedomlist.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=181938#181938

    Posted April 17, 2007 @ 4:56 pm
  87. John R says:

    Registry Cleansing = Colon Cleansing

    The best thing you can do to improve overall speed is to keep your drives defragmented. You can use DEFRAG that is included with the OS, or if you have a lot of activity on you PC, get a really good one like Diskeeper.

    Next best, especially if you turn your PC on and off every time you use it, is to educate yourself about processes that start up when you start the OS and delete or quarantine the ones you don’t need using msconfig (also included with the OS). No lessons here, but you can find out how to do this with a few Google searches. Unless you are really cramped for memory, most processes that start up at boot time just set there.

    Also run a good spy bot cleaner because these processes affect your browser significantly.

    Mess with the registry ONLY when you need to and only with clear instructions that you are comfortable with, a registry backup and a way to reinstate it if all goes to hell.

    Posted April 25, 2007 @ 10:15 am
  88. Brian E. says:

    The only reason I am posting is that I have come across a new Reg Cleaner called RegCure. I am not sure if I want to buy it because, I do not know if it will back up first, let me delete what I want or make a restore point. I ran it on my fresh install of Vista, 2 months old, and it came back with 913 items that need to be fixed….LOL.. Its got to be kindding.

    I am a PC tech. I do not trust Reg Cleaning programs. I think they can cause more problems then solve, especially if you do not know what is being deleted. I have tried JV16, thought it was OK. Tried RegCleaner, I thought it did a good job. Tried RegDr by PCtools, I thought it did a good job. What I like the best is Ccleaner. It allows you to delete what you want, period. I also use Diskeeper in auto defrag mode. This program keeps the drives inline and running fast.

    Just be careful on what you let delete for you. Find out first what files do what in the registry. And, no I do not use any of these programs regularly. Thats why I am researching now, because I am running Vista and this new program RegCure says I have issues…LOL. What ever..

    Posted April 25, 2007 @ 1:26 pm
  89. OLIVIER GEBUHRER says:

    I use registry cleaners on a REGULAR basis , I am a poor lonesome grassroot user , no IT , no developper ; I Sticked for a long time to JV 16 PT regarding registry till I got “errors ” which were false positive (even with JV16PT YES!!!!) ; I asked on he forum precise questions about them and never received a satisafactory answer. NEVER; there a couple of IT Gurus just eluded my questions.But false positive , is apparently the common law with registry cleaners !!!! Apparently and I do not know why ; therefore I always test one by comparing the results with another one ; there is in my view no cleaner which makes magic tricks but there are very good tools to be used with extreme caution : that’s the point ; if used that way , these tools ARE useful.

    Posted April 30, 2007 @ 12:32 am
  90. rexus says:

    Yeah well, Vista has a very efficient system repair accessory… had to use it since Registry Winner screwed up *something* so badly that windows refused to boot.

    It detected cca 1300 errors (?!?) and among many “errors” was also a system restore utility… yeah, right. Maybe few programs are OK (like CCleaner, never did something like this to me), but in general, avoid this stuff, especially on Vista.

    Posted April 20, 2009 @ 12:20 am

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