Ask The Community: What Do You Think Of Registry Cleaners?

If you read any tech blogs, chances are you have seen an ad for a Registry Cleaner at some point.
Registry Cleaners are an interesting issue because some Computer Technicians do a ‘registry clean’ as part of every system cleanup they do while others avoid them like the plague.

What do you think of registry cleaners?
Do you make use of one? If you do, which one? Do you see any noticeable improvements?
Do you believe the Windows registry never needs a ‘cleanup’ and you are more likely cause more problems than you will fix?

Tell us your opinion in the comment box below. If you are reading this via the newsletter, hit the Comments link to visit the site. You do not need to signup for anything to leave a comment and you can even comment anonymously.

Be sure to check back in a few days when I post the results.



Bryce Whitty

About the Author

Bryce Whitty
More articles by me...
Bryce is an Australian computer technician and the founder of Technibble. He started his computer repair business when he was 17 years old and is still running it 9 years later. He is an avid traveller and spends at least a month of the year in another country.

Comments (165)

  • Bart says:

    I never use registry cleaners and always uninstall them from my client’s machines. I think they potentially can cause problems and they do not help performance. In my opinion they have become a scam used by software companies to target computer users that are frustrated with performance issues. Problematic registry entries should be manually fixed.

  • Beau says:

    I used to use regclean when it was supported by Microsoft, but I agree with Bart. They are pretty much a scam and manual is usually the way to go. (Unless it’s a malware infection, then things like Malwarebytes do a fairly good job at cleaning out most of the mess. I think exe extensions still need repaired manually.

  • Will says:

    Registry cleaners are certainly not the cure-all, but they are a viable option. I use registry cleaners as a part of every system cleanup I do because I’ve never traced a problem back to one and they have noticeably increased the speed of some of my clients’ computers. Most computers, however, have negligible, if any, speed gains when they have their registry cleaned in my experience. Of course, if there is a specific registry entry that is causing a specific problem, I fix it manually, but for general cleanup I use them. I never recommend paying for any registry cleaner, however. Paid versions in my experience have no advantages over the free ones.

  • Wesley K. says:

    I use ccleaner for registry cleaning. That is as far as cleaning it I go for.

  • Rob says:

    Registry cleaners come across as modern day snake oil, and I don’t have lot of faith in them. I use the one built into Ccleaner occasionally and I even wonder about it’s real effectiveness. Paying for a registry cleaner, never.

  • Jesus says:

    I only use Ccleaner, I try to avoid registry cleaners at all costs. Like they said if is not broke don’t fix it.

  • Josh says:

    ccleaner to quickly fix the myriad registry problems caused by software installation/uninstallation mucking up the registry. I always back it up first, so if ccleaner screws up I have a quick fix. There are a lot of registry issues that you can’t fix with this type of software, and there are scams (fix-my-pc is one of them), but registry cleaning tools like ccleaner do have their place when used correctly.

  • Josh says:

    maxmyspeed is another HUGE reg cleaner scam that should be shut down by the FCC.

  • Mark says:

    CCleaner all the way, but not because it necessarily fixes anything or speeds up the system. It simply finds left over reg entries that are no longer associated with anything and gives me the option of quickly and efficiently removing them, after I’ve backed it up just in case.

    As it’s name suggests, it’s a cleaner not a fixer or speeder upper and I only use it because it’s free. That and the ‘secure’ file wipe feature ;)

  • Mark says:

    Oh, BTW, I almost forgot to mention. I also use CCleaner Enhancer which “adds support for more than 270 new apps to CCleaner”

  • Rob says:

    I agree on CCleaner. Never had it “scroo the pooch” on me yet. And it’s quick. I know it’s not making any huge difference with serious problems, but it does clean out the “trash” leftovers and like I said, it doesn’t ever seem to do any damage. That’s a lot to say when dealing with the registry.

  • Rob says:

    Oh..and thanks to Mark. I didn’t know about the extra add-ons for CCleaner. Just picked those up.

  • Bob says:

    I use a reg cleaner as part of my normal clean-up routine. On many PCs the results are negligible, but on some there are clear performance gains. My choice is the excellent (free) Eusing, which can be run as a portable version.

  • I limit myself to the use of CCleaner’s registry cleaner. Like many others have pointed out, it has never made a computer slower, and in some cases it can make them faster. I guess you only really notice the performance increase if the number of errors is at least 50 (I’ve had systems where, according to CCleaner, there have been hundreds of errors!).

    I would never pay for a registry cleaner, and think it’s purely criminal that they can get away with such obvious scams as they do.

  • Methical says:

    I use the CCleaner’s Registry Cleaner, and sometimes the NTREGOPT to compact the registry, and optimize it for loading.

    @Mark and Others
    The CCleaner Enhancer is a waste of time, its ‘advertising’ for someone elses hard-work. All it is is the winapp2.ini file that can be found on the Piriform Forums.

  • Jonno says:

    Ccleaner and JV16 Powertools are the best of the bunch. And work well if used properly.

    Clena out when having problems, removing leftovers. The other is REVO uninstaller which gets even more dirt on its hands and can uninstall many probematical hard to uninstall programs…including registry entrails of course
    Whoops that should be entries.

  • Shaun says:

    all registry cleaners are a scam they cause alot of problems and when you start most of them they nearly always hilight a non existant problem just another way of companys making money for nothing

  • Francis says:

    Guys, I think we are all out of direction here. The problem is not the registry cleaners ….. it’s Microsoft Windows which has an eternally unresolved problem with its registry file, page files and temporary files and seems cannot resolve it ever. Its Windows bad programming which cannot resolve it even with SP 1000th edition – it progressively fattens the O.S. and consequently reduces all your HDD to zero, then starts crashing and crashing….till you have to reformat the whole HDD and install Windows again thinking you have viruses/malwares or spywares, etc. but never fault Microsoft. That for all of us is the WIndows eternal vicious life cycle – learn to live with it and prepare to reinstall W- PERIOD!

  • Francis says:

    Guys, I think we are all out of direction here. The problem is not the registry cleaners ….. it’s Microsoft Windows which has an eternally unresolved problem with its registry file, page files and temporary files and seems cannot resolve it ever. Its Windows bad programming which cannot resolve it even with SP 1000th edition – it progressively fattens the O.S. and consequently reduces all your HDD to zero, then starts crashing and crashing….till you have to reformat the whole HDD and install Windows again thinking you have viruses/malwares or spywares, etc. but never fault Microsoft. That for all of us is the WIndows eternal vicious life cycle – learn to live with it and prepare to reinstall EVERY 8-12 MONTHS – PERIOD!

  • Richard says:

    I tend to avoid them unless suggested for a particular issue, i cringe when i see a customers machine with 4 or so reg cleaner apps and speed booster deluxe pro trial and driver super awesomer extreme deluxe etc. :)

  • I use Tune-up Utilities and run a registry cleaner on every customer’s machine. This has never resulted in any problems, and I do believe this is an integral part of every cleaning and tune-up.

  • Pete says:

    C Cleaner has absolutely worked miracles for me when trying to fix ridiculously sluggish computers after nothing else worked. Is registry cleaning a Pandora’s box? I don’t know because I usually don’t hear back from the customer after the repair. All that I know is when a customer wants to avoid reinstalling Windows at all cost, C Cleaner can save the day. My Comp TIA book says that C Cleaner is a “mild” cleaner, so it’s the only one I use. I only use C Cleaner as a last resort before reinstalling Windows.

  • Jon says:

    I never use any reg cleaners and uninstall any registry cleaner I find on client machines. They usually do more damage than good!

  • Brian King says:

    I use Glary Registry Cleaner / Utilities. Virtually every time I carry out a health check on a PC. Customer regularly comment that performance has definitely been improved. Like others, I do cringe when I seen a host of untested trial Registry Cleaner software downloaded by the user, and then left because it requires a payment to be made. I normally remove it all for them as part of the health check process

  • Francis… you’re off topic.
    I use CCleaner then check device manager with all devices being shown (requires editing system variables) andperiodicallyy removenon-presentt devices, then I defrag the registry. Stability and boot times are improved.

    I do have to agree that most of the cleaners on the market are fake… they take advantage of misinformation and nievity, add useless aditional adware and frequently copy other good utility’s code and looks.

  • Eike Heinze says:

    @Francis: Did you even read the title? If you want Win bashing please do that someplace else.

    @All:
    There is a difference between “perceived” and “real” advantage. Example: When Ccleaner found and removed hundreds and hundreds of orphaned reg entries the customer “sees that I care” and is happy – whether these entries actually caused harm or not.

    I use CCleaner routinely for years but only the portable version since the OpenCandy issue broke open. And yes, I have donated…

    CCleaner has NEVER done any perceivable harm to a registry and I have NEVER seen any perceivable performance gain.

    I believe that those who claim performance gains don’t understand enough of how databases work; the registry IS a database. And with the database background I claim that any programs claiming to “speed up the registry” are to a large part at best a harmless hoax and at worst an openly shameless scam.

  • Russel says:

    I only use Ccleaner Reg tool on computers that have got really slow. Kinda like when a ship is sinking every little bit helps I guess.

    As soon as I see customer with one of those scam/sales type reg cleaners like “reg mechanic” I get the customer over and start going through how they think they have issues and then explain as basically as possible where the slow spots are in there computer and how programs like reg mechanic prey on peoples concerns when they are really a trojan horse aka virus.

  • Bob Campbell says:

    CCleaner is the only one I use. I’m not sure that it really helps, but it certainly has never caused me any problems. Paying for a reg cleaner: NO WAY!

  • Craig says:

    I use CCleaner to clean the registry as part of every system tune-up I do. Does it improve performance? I seriously doubt it. But, I’m already using CCleaner to clean up temp files so it only take a moment to hit the registry too. I think of it as just one more house cleaning task of many that combined result in a healthy PC.

  • pugsport says:

    I have used regseeker from hovercraft for several years. The biggest problem with apps is the the orphans they leave behind when un-installed. I have seen improvements on most machines, its not unusual for several hundred obsolete entries being removed. One 5 year old pc had nearly 5 thousand entries removed. I also use pagedefrag by sysinternals, this also optimises the registry.

  • Robert Park says:

    Frankly, although reg cleaners remove many items from the PC but, when without one, I have never noticed any improvement in performance. I have not use one for over two years on my own PC.

  • Troy says:

    The idea of registry cleaning is a good one and it’s effectiveness completely depends on the software. I use Little Registry Cleaner and/or Ccleaner.

    The replies like “I think they potentially can cause problems and they do not help performance.” is a ridiculous claim. It’s like saying, “I don’t use an Operating System because it can potentially delete all my files and restart my computer.” It simply depends on the software. But good software can replace the manual job of removing useless registry entries or errors well. Even if you have to sift through the changes and checkbox each one, verify that it’s not dangerous, it will have saved you much time.

    As for performance, considering it’s a major cause of windows performance degradation over time, removing unwanted, redundant and broken registry entires is a very important maintenance task. If you don’t, your not maintaining your OS’s database.

  • Max says:

    I have used Glary’s Utilities and CCleaner for the registry and have never had a problem, Glary’s upon initial run on clients computers always shows hundreds of entries with missing links or pointing to wrong location, at any rate you click repair and in a few seconds it is done. When I reboot everything works OK, I don’t know that it does any harm just leaving those entries or to remove them. I used one (test) IObit 360 and did have problems with some programs and had to reinstall those programs.

  • Mr. Jim says:

    For older Xp boxes that have been up and running for years I always find improvements using a combination of CCleaner and JV16 Power Tools.

    Also,if I am getting a box cleaned up to donate to charity and choose to leave it intact rather than clean install, JV16’s “find and replace” is essential for replacing previous owner registration with generic “User 1 ” and removing product keys from uninstalled software such as QuickBooks.

    And whenever I’m able to install CCleaner before malware removal it can greatly help scan times by quickly clearing out many old Temp folders.

  • Sam says:

    I use CCleaner’s registry cleaner after most virus scans, just to clean up the system.

    I agree with the above posts, and I make sure to tell customers about free tools like CCleaner so they don’t pay $39.99 for “Super All-In-One Virus Scan Speed Booster Tool (Pro)”.

    One thing that would be nice is if someone told websites to stop posting ads for these fake tools, they don’t work and are just scamming people out of their money.

  • Bill says:

    I don’t always do it unless I have a very slow machine, but I do use CCleaner’s registry clean every now and then. I’ve never once had any issues with it, and while it may not increase speed noticeably on most machines, I’ve never had a speed decrease. Then again, when I use it, I also run the actual CCleaner portion to remove temp files and I’ve had a few that removed over 3-5GB of temp files! So who can say if the temp files or registry clean is what helped with speed.

  • Al says:

    I think the registry is one of Windows biggest downfalls compared to Unix/Linux systems. So in some cases a registry cleaner is effective for removing null keys, and pointers to applications that are no longer on the system.

  • +1 for CCleaner. That’s what I use for my clients if I see that they really need to optimize their system.

    If I saw a registry cleaner installed to a client’s pc, I ask for their permission to get rid of it. Most of the time these registry cleaners are nothing but a waste of money.

    Sadly, there are many articles on the web, promoting registry cleaners, telling computer users that it is really important. The truth is, sometimes I even ask myself if it is really needed, especially if you see nothign wrong with the computer.

  • George says:

    I use Glary Utilities free. It has always been very effective on registry cleanups. I use it since i diecovered it, like 2-3 years ago and used it thousands of times without any problems. It is always selected in my freeware list when i use Ninite.com. I had some nightmares with CCleaner and i don’t use it anymore, not like is not good, but it let me down several times making some Windows XP unbootable.

  • Marc says:

    I’m of two opinions on these.

    First off, my explanation to end users is this: If you do not know what the entry is that is being removed, then how can you trust an automated program to remove it?

    In that vein, no one is an expert on the registry, however as tech’s we can have a basic idea of what a program is doing. I’ll certainly run one and then choose what I allow it to remove (typically entries that reference missing files, uninstalled programs, one has to check though that in the case of files that the file truly doesn’t exist, a quick search can establish that).

    Other than that, I do not advocate using them nor will I, the above is when an EU has it already installed, and most of the time after I run it, I uninstall it.

    As far as clean up, use ATF cleaner for temps, etc.

  • although I use cclener but within days I was sometimes asked, What is CCleaner can clean the registry? I do not know the exact

  • Jmage says:

    Like most of us I use Ccleaner on every PC I need to “Clear” or get faster. But I don’t use the Registry Cleaner function of it anymore. After crashing/BSOD some system with the reg cleaner I forfeit on it and don’t run it anymore. Now I only use it to clean Startup Items and to clear the Temp files on a PC.

    Ccleaner messed up some computers after the 2nd or 3rd “clean” you make. Because even after the 1st one it will still detect “problems” in the registry. What I do now is use it to scan the registry then look into what it found for serious problems and fix them myself.

    I’m always able to fetch some “performance” somewhere else than running a reg cleaner. And I do remove all those crappy Reg Cleaner that the user has installed over time.

  • Brian says:

    I’ll use ccleaner personally, but still manually go through common problem areas. I tell clients to never use a registry cleaner, because of potential problems, and explain one mistake could junk the operating system. It’s important for the user of a registry cleaner to at least know what the changes happening are about before clicking that “fix all” button. It’s not for a novice, as most pc owners are.

  • Jarty says:

    To all the people that have indicated that they use a registry cleaner where they have, in fact, appeared to have improved system performance by removing null entries, I have two questions: 1) What metric has been used to gage the performance improvement and 2) what specifically does removing obsolete registry entries do to effect an improvement in performance.

    I am not looking to start a fight here so no angry, defensive posts, just honest questions to which I would like to have great answers so that I and my customers can benefit.

  • Brian R says:

    I use ccleaner, there are alot of computers that have added programs and then tried to uninstall them and leaves many things left behind pointing to nowhere. I believe it helps the computer. But always do a backup first.

  • Notto says:

    They can be good and bad.
    I use ccleaner however i do not do a blind click to get rid of everything. i always check and double check what is it that is being removed.

    Generally speaking cleaning out the temporary files, etc is better than registry cleanup for gains for a customer.

    NEVER EVER sell a registry cleaner to a client and definitely always remove them as well as most driver software that installs from the internet.

    Just explain they should only be used by a well educated professional because in the wrong hands they can do serious damage.

  • Bob says:

    I use CCleaner on my Vista 64 desktop about once enery 6 mons and do notice a slight improvement in user switching time. This desktop is shared by my wife and son and there is a lot of S/W that gets installed and removed by them so I think it helps a little. I have also used it on my XP Pro Lenovo Z61t Laptop and did not notice any improvement in boot time or general speed of the system. I think it does a good job of cleaning up the temp files and I do use it regularly for that I have never had a problem on either machine, but I still do a backup before I clean.

  • Scott says:

    I challenge anyone to provide a study that shows a before/after improvement with a reg cleaner. I personally have not. In all the studies that I have found on the net, no one else has either. The potential harm, not to mention the cost of some reg cleaners, far outweighs any perceived benefits. If you want to give a client a proven product, give them MBAM. I do, on occassion, run a reg cleaner, but I would feel embarassed telling a client that I did it to improve the speed of the computer.

  • techandlife says:

    I’ve had Windows 7 on my PC for over a year now and have never used a registry cleaner. It still boots very quickly. Used to use CCleaner to clean the registry on my old Windows XP install but never really saw any speed improvement.
    A follow-up ‘Ask the community’ on disk defragging would be helpful.

  • gunslinger says:

    I use reg cleaners. Ccleaner and Glary. I don’t know why you would “clean” a system and not clean the reg. Its not hard to back up the registry, in fact most reg cleaner will prompt you to do so before cleaning. Anyone who thinks it really does not matter should try uninstalling programs like Nero or Microsoft office then see the 1,000 or so entries left in the registry. Over time this type of adding and removing while leaving garbage in the registry will slow your system to a crawl. As a side note I have used Ccleaner for at least 7 years now on every customer machine I have touched as well as on my personal system daily and it has never broken anything.

    I actually agree with Francis about Windows and the registry even though it was a bit off topic.

  • Jonathan says:

    I use ccleaner to fix leftover/missing entries. Thats completely different than the registry cleaners/ boosters your talking about. The only good registry boost is format

  • Joey says:

    @Bob Campbell, why use something if you’re not sure if it helps or not?

  • Mark Bolden says:

    In reply to Jarty’s 4/11 post: I agree that we should start gathering statistics on the systems we optimize so that we can identify tools that really make a difference. I have not gathered any metrics personally, but I usually noticed cleaner startup and marginally improved system performance in some cases. Usually cleaning the registry (I use Glary Utils) is more of a general housecleaning routine that I perform on a client’s system after I have cleaned a malware infection. Removing the dead references/problem entries at a minimum can keep the registry as lean an error free as possible and can make future troubleshooting a bit easier if a problem should arise. So, lets start gathering some metrics on some tools to see what we can find out. I will personally start this week.

  • Doctor Micro says:

    Gunslinger is spot on. A good registry scrub by a competent tech who knows what he/she is doing should be part of any system cleanup. I have customers who will click on and install just about every PC “goodie” program they find. Sometimes they uninstall them, sometimes not. After a year or two, you can imagine what their Program Files & Start Menu directories look like, to say nothing about the garbage that has accumulated in their registry. Remember, the entire registry gets loaded at Windows start up, including all the junk.

    In general, as far as registry cleaning, here’s what I do:

    Manual Restore Point labeled “As Found”. Uninstall any customer-installed reg cleaners, memory enhancers, speed boosters, etc. Then a manual registry cleanup for leftover and obviously bogus entries. followed by CCleaner (with backup option), reboot and check for any errors (haven’t found any yet that were caused by CCleaner). Sometimes I also run Glary’s along with a registry compact. For CCleaner and Glary, I use the portable versions and generally do not install them on the customer’s machine as in untrained hands, they can be dangerous.

  • TekServ says:

    Another +1 for CCleaner.

    I use it after cleaning a system to get rid of some of the leftovers in the registry. As with any modification to the registry, always make a backup first!

  • hanan says:

    I am using the one builtin ccleaner, i don’t see any added impromements.

  • nomad says:

    I have seen them do more harm than good. I will use one is if a client deleted a bunch of program folders instead of uninstalling one. In this case I will use ccleaner or Comodo but I audit their choices before they make the actual changes.

  • Norm says:

    I use CCleaner. As far as I can tell, it does a good job. Avoid and uninstall all others. Norm

  • I am a ccleaner fan as well. Never had it bite me (1x in early days, but it was my fault), and I have seen improvements with machines after using it, we also install it for every MSP client. A fantastic and safe product. The only reason I would think others might be hesitant to use a registry cleaner is that they did so without backing up the registry or having an image if things went wrong…

  • Painless says:

    I use the reg cleaner in Tuneup 2007 when I am working on an XP or Vista machine. I have never had any issues with it and I use it as part of the overall process. There may not be any significant improvement but I can’t believe that removing 1000+ invalid entries does not have some effect.

    The majority of my work is onsite usually with the customer watching so the visual effect of using Tuneup is beneficial. They ‘see’ that they are getting something for their money.I also remove any other reg cleaners while I am at it, especially since there are now fake regclean viruses on the go. Tuneup 2007 is very visual from that aspect it is just unfortunate that that it does not work in Windows7.

    You may say that it all ‘smoke and mirrors’ but a reg clean is only a small part of the process and it meets customer expectations. It is afterall all about keeping the customer happy.

  • Andy says:

    I use registry cleaners (specifically Netgate Registry Cleaner) on clients machines during my in-shop maintenance. I also keep a copy installed on all my machines because it has a “resident shield” type of effect that prevents registry key installation and requests if I would like to allow it, in my experience this can help prevent a large number of problems by making the viruses you download completely inert.

  • Martyn Tanner says:

    I have tried various Registry Cleaners in the past and they have always caused problems with installed software. I now use the registry tool in CCleaner which I have found to be very reliable. I also use Revo Un-installer when removing progams as this makes a very good job of removing associated registry entries.

    Don’t touch them is my advice.

  • John says:

    I use CCleaner and Glary Utilities and both work well. I find some machines get a substantial boost in boot times and gen. running speeds when using one or the other. I also find that sometimes I use one and don’t see to much improvement then I will run the other program and walla performance gain. Any other registry cleaners I have run across are garbage and I always try to inform my customers they should never ever use or mess with the registry. Leave that stuff up to the professionals.

  • Tom says:

    Ccleaner or Glary Utilities everytime. No problems.

  • John says:

    I use two registry cleaners, both 100% free: CCleaner and Auslogics Registry Cleaner. CCleaner I always back up the registry before cleaning it with CCleaner (bonus for if we ever have a corrupt registry and need to go back), then use the Auslogics one to get some stuff CCleaner doesn’t get.

    I don’t see a remarkable speed difference with newer computers, but a dirty registry is a dirty registry, and backing up the registry while you’re at it isn’t a bad thing either. I’d never pay for such a tool, though.

  • Registry cleaners can create burdern on the machines, and sometimes they can erase pertinent system files. On one occasion I had to reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system after running a registy cleaner.

  • Michael says:

    CCleaner is all I use for Registry Cleaner.

  • James Ford says:

    I use CCleaner on work and non-work computers. I always use it when I setup a computer or do major upgrades. So far I have not had any problems because of using it.

    On a few occasions I have noticed a performance improvement. The performance improvement usually happened on PC’s that required a significant number of updates.

  • shipdog7 says:

    Years ago I saw a lot of problems as a result of registry cleaners which had gotten too aggressive and knocked out a much needed PC file. For the past few years I use a freebie called Regseeker. I use it on all computers. I have never had a mishap using it. I also use NTREGOPT to compact the registry. Does it help? Only my opinion but I think it does.
    When you get your car washed, doesn’t it seem to ride smoother? When you put an additive in your gas tank, doesn’t it appear to run quieter and smoother?

  • Kenn says:

    Most registry cleaners I do not trust. I needed a good one for a very long time as I tend to use my OS without reinstall for years and tend to install / uninstall many different programs over time. I have seen the performance suffer over time due to this.

    I use CCLEANER available from piriform.com (and their other free products as well!) It is quite excellent and has proven a valuable tool for myself very often. Performance increase on some of my old clunkers have been over 10% when the registry was distilled to only the active portions.

    Thanks for the chance to be heard.

  • Mike Brown says:

    The first thing I take advantage of is Revo Uninstaller. I have never had a problem with the registry clean-up portion of the uninstall process. The second thing is ccleaner. Once again, I’ve never had an issue with letting it clean up whatever it finds.

  • Stanley Reynolds says:

    I routinely use Auslogics registry cleaner on my customers’ machines. It rarely has a marked effect on performance, but it usually finds thousands of junk entries, which I’m happy to remove. Sometimes it allows me to save a Windows installation. If I’m trying to get rid of program registry entries because it won’t reinstall, I use Regseeker to remove them. The free registry cleaners work as well as the commercial ones, as far as I can see.

  • Gizmologist says:

    I used to use Iobit’s Advanced System Care as something my customers could do themselves (a “One Click Fix”), and customers said it improved things. I switched to Glary Utilities when I found out Iobit was stealing code from Malwarebytes. I also use CCleaner as a secondary reg cleaner. Some of my customers perceived speedups are probably due to placebo effect, but they are happy when I leave them, especially if I leave them with a safe means to maintain their computer themselves. (They rarely do, though. Instead, they call me back in to do it for them.)

  • Lance says:

    Never, and I also remove them from customer’s computers. Usually where there is one reg cleaner there are several, and also speed boosters, etc. The customers that knowingly download these think they are doing something good and if one is good 3 are better. These are the same clients that have between 3 and 7 browser toolbars and at least 2 or more different anti virus programs.

  • SteveTomorrow says:

    I have used CCleaner and System Mechanic by iolo. I have yet to see any system improvement, the units-of-measure here rather elusive. It is hard to prove a negative; had the extraneous entries not been removed, maybe there could have been a problem, if only sluggishness. Likewise, I have yet to see any problem caused by a registry cleaner. Running a Windows registry cleaner the first time on a machine that has been in use for a year or more; most customers would be impressed with the large amount of useless entries that can be removed. You can never say ‘the Windows registry never needs cleaning’ – because someone will show you at least one example where the process was helpful, at least in the customers perception. As always with computers, a fresh backup of the registry would be most prudent before tinkering.

  • Parry says:

    I use CCleaner and Registry Life. CCleaner is installed on all systems that I manage so I use the registry cleaning aspect of it too. I’ve used it for at least 4 years without problem. I use Registry Life mainly because it has the ability to compact the registry. While the jury is still out if this actually helps, I use it nonetheless and I’ve never had any problems with it. Both are only used in a repair situation, not as a monthly procedure.

    As a side note, I use Revo Uninstaller as well. So whenever I uninstall an application, Revo removes the registry entries as well. I’ve never had a problem with this utility either.

  • Although I rarely see an improvement, I find that CCleaner quickly fixes many registry errors and has never caused a problem for me.

  • bob lou says:

    CCleaner is about the only one I really trust. We used to use tune-up utilities in the shop, someone recommended it to the owner. We used it several times and it seems ok.

    I read an article in PC World magazine and they said you should never use a registry cleaner.

  • Russ says:

    I use CCleaner Monthly. I have never had a problem!

  • Chester says:

    CCleaner is the only one I trust. We use it regularly when repairing computers. I used JV16 Power tools a couple of years ago for search and replace, but haven’t used it since. I don’t think a normal user needs a registry cleaner, I remove them from customers’ computers in general. We also use Revo Uninstaller a lot.

  • Jamie says:

    I love it when you get a new customer that thinks you can get one of these so called Tune-Up/Registry Cleaner utilities and no need to get anyone around, they generate a lot of work.

    Obviously I tell customers to stay away from them.

    Like most people CCleaner is the only one I trust.

  • Big AL says:

    Its real nice to see others have stumbled apon
    the same programs I have used for years. I’m not a pro tech – just an average joe that has messed with and built computers since Comodore 64 – about 20+ years.
    Anyway – I have used these programs since they have started – Ccleaner and Eusing Free Registry Cleaner – Avast Anti Virus Free – Super AntiSpyware – Adware Free – UBCD.
    I have used them to help repair and clean 100’s of computers and laptops.
    I have also tested (used) tons of other programs trying to find the holy grail.
    I have since stopped looking – the ones I use work great. I have noticed speed gains on some and not so much on others.
    I must say Thank You to Technibble for all the info and feed back from the subscribers.
    I hope you all keep putting in your 2 cents to help other not so tech savy people to wade through the gunk of everyday computing and repair.

  • ernest says:

    I use glary’s utilities, free version, I have noticed a speed increase after cleaning the registry and compacting it, plus it has some other modules that I use also, and you cant beat free. I like to keep my system well tuned.

  • azziz07 says:

    Well Glary utilities, some benefits are there, but honestly some do more damage like meesup with .net frameworks. Ive not seen yet GOD REGISTRY CLEANER!!!!

  • Registry cleaners are a double edged sword. On one side they can speed up your computer, and solve BSOD issues. On the other side thay can cause BSOD, or the system not boot up! I don’t use registry cleaners as a rule, but I have in the past as a last resort without issue. But I have 2 requirements; 1. They must create a back-up(restore point) of the registry.
    2. Must give details of the problem and present multiple options to resolve each issue (ex. Don’t change!, change it to this path statement and why, Manual Edit, and Remove it completely)….Then, If it’s a sticky change, I will open the registry and investigate it myself, or click ‘Don’t Change’.
    These are the rules I go by! It’s not that uncommon to find a double install of a program such as the old Netscape…Where the uninstall didn’t completely remove the first installation, and you installed a newer updated version and got a BSOD, or it just kept crashing every time you started it up!

  • Brad Watt says:

    I do not like them, they end up causing more issues then they fix.

    I do however use a single registry cleaner which has never given me any problems and that is the registry cleaner built into the most wonderful program CCleaner by Piriform. http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

    Not sure if you are aloud to promote but the registry cleaner that is built in has never messed up a machine I have used it on and if it ever does you have the ability to merge the deleted keys right back in if needed.

  • nrkmann says:

    I do not believe Francis was off topic, rather he/she had answered the five whys of root cause analysis and came to a reasonable conclusion.

    The question on metrics was going down the right track. If everyone here always did a before and after stopwatch boot test when using their favorite utilitie(s) we could gather some good data to start driving toward a metric driven answer.

  • I too use CCleaner, I was using ALM for a while, but it jacked a system once for me.. and that was it.. I will say that before It jacked the wxpsp3 system I checked each entry that was being removed and all looked well.. I have never had a problem with CCleaner but I will say you MUST check the entries to be removed, and back up the reg.

  • Marco Rodi says:

    I use the one in CCleanner. I don’t think you see alot of difference but ccleaner is safe and I just do it because it’s there. But I do think there are some registry cleaning software that can damage your computer instead of fixing it.

  • 1101doc says:

    jv16 for our techs during clean up. Great “Find” tool to remove entries for malware or anything throwing “can’t find” error messages. Advise customers to avoid them completely. Very little benefit aside from hard drive space on most systems. Very old XP systems with tons of in/un- installs are about the only ones that benefit at all. ‘Ordinary’ users run too great a risk for us to recommend Registry Cleaners. +1 for CCleaners safwety record, but on most systems running the Registry cleaner function does little beyond making the user feel good about maintenance.

  • I do use CCleaner as a “portable” app for both general crap files cleanup and Registry cleanup. Typically there is no significant improvement in performance but on a few machines there has been both significant performance increase and error elimination.
    It’s a great tool to perform mundane tasks automatically and it’s the only one I would ever use. Yes, others registry cleaners would scare me as to what they would alter or delete. I do believe most windows registries will have issues but it’s just a matter of resolving issues manually or automatically.
    And yes, it would be nice if Windows could be better written to begin with in order to reduce issues.

  • BazGee says:

    Eusing free registry cleaner does an excellent job, better than any comercial app.

  • Lloyd says:

    As part of any system cleanup or malware removal I always use Ccleaner to remove temporary files or folders then at the end of clean up I use it to remove obsolete registry keys always making a backup first which to this day I have never had to restore from. It may not speed up the machine but it looks good and I know there are no leftovers on the machine after I leave. I also use it to remove redundant startup processes that helps speed up windows startup instead of loading programs the client rarely uses. One thing Ccleaner does not do is cleanup all user profiles though and you need to run it in each one to get everything. Afterwards it is advisable to uninstall or at least remove the shortcuts to Ccleaner before leaving.

  • Doug says:

    CCleaner for sure. This is one of the tools that we use when cleaning up a clients hard drive. Usually this tool is all that is needed to increase the performance. I can’t tell you how many times that we installed it and removed over 3 or 4 gigs of junk. Thats a significant amount of junk, so you can imagine the increase in performance. The only thing with ccleaner is that you have to run the registry cleaner multiple times until all of the false entries or removed (i don’t know why this is). But yeah, ccleaner is great. I only had 1 problem out of about 3000 uses, and that was fixed through system restore. I like the way it handles the internet cache as well. It’s foolproof and perfect for us.

  • Rommel Yanto says:

    I have been using the free progam of AML Registry Cleaner. I believe thet the registry section must be cleaned due to left over files that was left behind by a program when it was uninstalled. It gives added boost to computer the first time i used it. Keep your registry clean.

  • MANONYGHT says:

    First off, they are necessary in some situations, but, particularly when dealing with abused OS’es that need special attention and repair or trying to resolve applications that have run amok of their normal operating procedures.
    Registry cleaners, however, should not be used as regularly scheduled maintenance. You might get away with it a few times, but, eventually you will get “got”.
    Right now, my favorite all-purpose registry cleaner for all OS’es is Eusing Free Registry Cleaner.

  • Denny says:

    I too, use Eusing Free Registry Cleaner. Most machines I’ve used it on have benefited noticeably from the scan. A few had no discernable improvement but showed no bad results either. The portable version has recently restored two machines from a non-booting condition to functional when nothing else I tried short of reinstall would restore operation.

    I don’t use EFRC just to be doing something. If the machine is in my shop, it has a problem. If it won’t boot, I’ll run the portable version first. After I’ve solved a no-boot problem, I run other cleanup utilities starting with an antivirus then a malware cleaner or other spyware scanner. When these have done their work, I run EFRC as a matter of course and always find a long list of repair items to peruse. I seldom find a line item that I’m afraid to delete.

    I’ve never had to use the restore function after running EFRC.

    …And it’s FREE!

  • John Waterman says:

    As an advanced user, here’s what I use:

    – Ace Optimizer (very reliable with all registry cleaning options selected)

    – CCleaner with CCEnhancer.exe integrated (very reliable)

    – Registry First Aid Platinum (very reliable for advanced users)

    – Registry Compress (not a cleaner but does a fine job in shrinking a fragmented or bloated registry)

    I learned about registry cleaners the hard way, by using them, but only and ONLY after I had a completely reliable fall-back via Norton Ghost (and many Ghost recoveries).

    Some registry cleaners totally hosed my XP registry and were unceremoniously trashed.

  • A+ Computer says:

    I use CCleaner with almost every computer I have seen. I found that it does help performance in some machines and in the others it doesn’t seem to hurt it any. I have had times when I would get errors pop up on windows loads and cleaning the registry took care of this.

    I have also used a registry cleaner long time ago that did a lot of harm and the backup didn’t work. This is why I stick to CCleaner and don’t tend to test others out very often.

  • jross says:

    Another vote for modern snake oil. I uninstall them immediately.

  • Lodovik says:

    I rarely use registry cleaners except when all other treatments have failed to cure an abnormally slow system. In my experience, I rarely saw a substantial increase in performance with those tools. How about registry defragmenters? Some users report noticable gains from those apparented tools.

  • mooncat says:

    Ccleaner is all I use.

  • Jim says:

    I rarely, if ever use registry cleaner. We manually take care of registry problems, and Ccleaner is the only one we trust. Definately never buy one!

  • paul says:

    ccleaner and Eusing

  • Barcham says:

    I always remove registry cleaners when I find them on a client’s system. The average user can do more damage than good by using these things. I will use ccleaner or Malwarebytes when cleaning up a system but I find that if a system has reached the point where the registry has bogged down enough to cause serious slowdown, it’s time for a format and re-install of Windows.

    I also find that Win 7 does a much better job of keeping the registry clean than XP ever did and there is much less need for such things.

  • Techlogon says:

    I don’t use a registry cleaner on a client’s computer as I have never seen any evidence that they do less harm than good. Even Microsoft stopped offering the Windows Installer Cleanup utility which aimed to tidy up the registry.

    Likewise, registry compressers like NRregopt – perhaps a placebo effect at best.

  • MJColonas says:

    I do use registry cleaners – carefully. If I’m working on client computers I will use CCCleaner and/or Uniblue’s Registry cleaner if there are a lot of issues.

    If I’m working on servers, then I will use only Autoruns.exe from Sysinternals. I find that cleaning up lost fragments naturally helps speed up the performance of the server. Need I say that backups are always made prior to doing any reg work.

  • Ricta Scott says:

    I use CCleaner as it doesn’t ‘dynamically’ find errors, it looks for predefined issues and doesn’t think it is too smart. The smarter they think they are, the more danger. People who say they manually clean a registry are bigger BS artists they the products they call “snake oil”; you cannot effectively clean a registry manually.
    Backup the registry before you use the cleaner and I cant see an issue anyways.

  • Petetech888 says:

    I use CCleaner followed up by IOBits newest “smart defrag” to iron out any performance lags. It may not be to everyone’s preference but it works fine for me for the everyday run of the mill servicing.

  • Lisa says:

    We use Ccleaner, but are very careful with the registry, it has messed up Adobe and a couple of other programs with the clients. They were understanding about it though.

    Lisa

  • Doug says:

    I use ccleaner on every machine I touch. Like others have said removing orphans, duplicates and other unnecessary reg entries can not hurt and may boost over all performance, but I also find it easier to remove programs and stop unnecessary start up items which will boost performance. it also makes it much easier to clean up temp files, internet history and empty the recycle bin all in just in a couple of clicks. Not only do I use it for clients machines but it is installed and run regularly on all of my machines. Never ever pay for reg cleaners.

  • Timothy says:

    I came across a forum where some post master recommend this “reg cure”……

    I tried using it on my own PC, I run it ocassionaly. but I don’t think I would want to use it on my client’s PCs…..

    registry Cleaners for me is not that bad thing, but the best solution either…

  • Timothy says:

    I came across a forum where some post master recommend this “reg cure”……

    I tried using it on my own PC, I run it ocassionaly. but I don’t think I would want to use it on my client’s PCs…..

    registry Cleaners for me is not that bad thing, but not the best solution either…

  • Gilles says:

    For myself experience, CCLEANER is helping when very slow booting is present, also tried AVG PC TUNEUP and SLOW PC FIGHTER got interesting amelioration ( again , when real speed problem ).

    Always create resotre point before,

    Never got problem with windows after cleaning, maybe a lucky star …

    UNIBLUE regystry helper , seems to give some problem on many machine I encountered… or user ?

  • Gilles says:

    ( follow=up )

    Also tried IOLO system mechanic , no bad thing to say ; help me sometime ; never cause crash

  • FMC says:

    I use CCleaner on most PCs that I work on. I have always seen improvement and never encountered an issue using the default settings.

    On occasion, I also run the one in Spybot Search & Destroy to locate issues which CCleaner may have missed.

    I have found that registery cleaners are only beneficial every few months, unless the user installs more than their “share” of programs…

  • I never use a registry cleaner. I think its potentially harmful and may lead some programs in nonworking and unresponsive state. You should never play with windows until microsoft says so.

  • BernardV says:

    Am I missing something here ?
    Did the last couple of years computer science change from a calculated profession into a gut feeling ?
    In all discussions and articles about registry cleaners I’ve never seen much facts or figures about the problems solved and performance increase. How come that no one can provide me with actual cases and percentages of performance increase (or seconds/minutes) and actual number of cases in which it help solve the problem ?
    Most responses to me seem to be like; if it doesn’t hurt the customer…..
    However I do know a lot of other tools that don’t hurt the customer. Should I also install or use this at customer computers and let them pay for it ?

    Ok, just to be clear; I don’t dislike registry cleaners at all and maybe they do good. However I’ve never seen a good article nor have I seen someone with good figures about how much performance increase or in how much cases it does solve some kind of problem.
    I know that Windows leaves a lot of junk laying around, but my humble opinion is that most of this junk doesn’t cause a huge performance problem. Mostly the bunch of installed software a customer has (and doesn’t want to remove) cause performance issues among other issues that a registry cleaner doesn’t solve.

    As you might guess… I like proven solutions and software. However I have never seen a very good and very extensive test of registry cleaners with posted results (with actual figures). That’s why I like the new product Soluto. It hasn’t proven for me yet to find much performance problems, however for me it gives a tool to look at boot times. This gives me an opportunity to compare performance solutions or even compare boot times over a period of time. It has some limitations, however is a good step in the good direction.
    Just my 2 cents.

  • Hank Arnold (MVP) says:

    I’ve always been suspicious of registry cleaners and “optimizers”. I’ve yet to see any legitimate studies that prove that they help in any meaningfull way. Working in the registry is, to me, like doing open heart surgery. One mistake can tank an entire system. What doesn’t help are the claims of their supporters that remind me of some chiropratic hawkers that it will cure just about any ill.

    Hank Arnold (MVP)

  • Andy G says:

    Hello,

    i want to say thank you for a great job you’ve done on your blog.
    I have a software download website and I also write articles for people to help them with their computers and software. Is it possible to place this article on your blog as a guest post?

    Regards,
    Andy G.

  • Eddie says:

    I use ccleaner on default settings and sometime Glary Utilities. I’ve never had an issue with either of them.

  • Tony L says:

    I have used Eusing free Registry Cleaner in a number of situations where a general slowdown of the system was apparent to the user. I have never had a problem or had to use my registry backup.

    However, I use this tool in conjunction with other procedures to rectify this type of symptom.

  • Ashok K Bagaria says:

    I have used many Registry Cleaners and I have found them causing more problems than fixing them.
    I would not advice anyone using Registry Cleaners to any of them.

  • Mike says:

    I use them. and i have never had any problems. the registry can get fragmented just like your hard drive and it keeps getting bigger and bigger when you add or remove apps. I see better improvement in performance when cleaning and defragging the registry. I do it on all of my clients computers and have been using them for over 8 years.

  • Casey Parker says:

    Personally … I think Registry “cleaners” are the worst “product” there is! If I see a registry cleaner on a client’s computer, it’s a “non-compliance” for their contract.

  • Richard says:

    I use Glary Utilities for registry cleaner and defrag. It’s free and works well. I think I may have even got it here when I started my business a few years back. It’s not only a registry cleaner but it is said to help optimize your system. I use it as part of my “Advanced Tune up”.

  • Kitsune3 says:

    I’ve noticed, in some cases, when you uninstall malware or spyware, if you use ccleaner, it will get rid of the registry entries that are left behind. Recently anti-malware programs have been better in removing these entries, but still, there are the odd situations, that they are left behind. Of course, they no longer point to anything.

    If a person has a 4-5 year old PC that has never been formatted and its obvious that they’ve installed and uninstalled a million things over the years, ccleaner well help speed up their system to some extent. I’ve seen 10’s of thousand entries, more then 50-60 of them to do with startup. Yay oldschool realplayer, lolz.

    Its not a standard use of mine, but I have used it. I find fragmenting to work much better for speed increases.

  • Rick says:

    Being a small fish in this big pond and certainly not the guru many of you are, I have to say that I believe one of the best registry cleaners I have ever used… and I have used many mentioned here… is Registry mechanic. Yes, bought and paid for. Have bought it many times and used it on my personal computers and even advised some of my clients to use it. No benchmarks or data collected. Just watching the computer(s) boot up and run smoothly after sluggish performance and crashing. If I am being “duped”, so be it. I’ll except that. I KNOW the machines I have used it on have responded remarkably better after its use.

  • Tony says:

    I use Ccleaner. I’ve NEVER had an issue after using it and I think it helps clean the clutter nicely. Whether it helps performance, that depends on how junked up and bloated it is to begin with, using it weekly or even monthly for that matter is probably a waste of time though.

  • gunslinger says:

    @BernardV

    “my humble opinion is that most of this junk doesn’t cause a huge performance problem”

    Really? How do you explain why a fresh install of windows is always faster than a two year old install, even if all programs are removed from the older system? Answer: Junk files and reg entries left over by installing and removing programs. The larger and more fragmented the registry is the longer it will take the system to boot and more sluggish it will be.

    I would think this would be common sense.

  • Gizmotch says:

    Most of our clients and the general computing public just want things to work. I use Glary Utilities not only to sweep out the registry dust bunnies but I also use the registry defrag and shortcut fixer. I don’t look for an improvement in performance, I clean the registry to help prevent MS bloat and extend the amount of time Windows is useful. I have never had a problem with Glary, I use it because it doesn’t screw anything up and that is alot to ask. So, if it doesn’t screw anything up and does actually do something, I see no harm in it.

  • Rational Dreamer says:

    The problem is not the tool; rather, it is the choice of when to use the tool. A ball-peen hammer is an essential tool for an automotive mechanic. Nevertheless, it is of no use when the problem is the injectors. Similarly, registry cleaners have their place in a technician’s tool box. After uninstalling a large number of apps and installing a few others, deleting a large number of files, and perhaps when an inveterate web surfer fills their machine with junk files, a reg cleaner might be a helpful tool. I have tools to search the registry as part of my arsenal and I am well versed in the XP registry (working on 7’s) and often work manually and with .reg’s but is it ethical for me to charge someone for time and expertise that they do not need?

  • Rational Dreamer says:

    I was reading my previous post and I thought that perhaps the ending was unclear. The cleaner does a “good enough” job when a “hand wash and dry” is not justified. I bill the client for what is needed and what was done. The difference between the client using a cleaner and me using a cleaner is my expertise and experience so I do use the cleaner but I do not let it do my thinking for me.

  • Krash_em_all says:

    I have been using EasyCleaner by ToniArts for a number of years and it is a nice program to remove programs, delete temp files, clean old registry entries and even explore start-up entries and duplicate files. it is a bit old and not really designed for Vista/Win7 but a quick run as admin and it is ready to go and portable too. haven’t had it hurt one yet, when used by the tech who knows what it can do. It even has a backup entry before deleting option.

    I will agree with others who posted that the standard Reg boosters are more like highway robbery than a fix tool. I try not to install anything I have to remove before finishing the job.

  • whiskey3 says:

    I use CCleaner only…

  • Michael says:

    Another +1 for CCleaner only.

  • BernardV says:

    @gunslinger

    Just to make a bit more sense of my previous post; yes, I do agree with you that there is a performance problem due to junk.
    But I want to make a point that no one can provide me with any facts or numbers of actuall cases in which registry cleaners solved performance isues or solved real problems. Only response I see this or that registry cleaner is great, without actual prove to back it up.
    So my point is: registry cleaners do clean up junk, but mostly the junk that is easy to clean and does not solve any real performance isues. Most performance isues are caused do to much less easier to clean junk.
    Why is it then that like virusscanner tests they can provides us with system load figures and figures in how much cases it manages to clean the system, but for registry cleaners no one can provide any numbers at all ? Maybe because user ‘feel’ their computer is faster, but actually it isn’t ?

  • CCleaner is one of the best PC registry cleaner.. cleaning from the temp files.. to recycle bins..
    Thumb up.

  • Dale Gildemeister says:

    From the time I learned about the registry, I saw a need to keep it as cleaned out as possible. For a long time I manually cleaned the registry and even now I often go in to make sure software that has been removed is totally out of the registry. I do use CCleaner and like Registry Mechanic from PT Tools

  • Stevo says:

    I have always made a point to try various cleaners on my own machines before using them on client’s, and this has served me well.
    For instance, I tried Ccleaner’s registry cleaner on my personal computer before i touched a client’s machine with it. After restarting, which is required after a registry clean, my computer would no longer boot. On top of that, none of my restore methods would work either.
    My conclusion, Ccleaner is a great disk cleaner, and the registry should be left alone. I now only use regedit and only to modify keys I have experience with.

  • Max says:

    I dont use ANY registry cleanners at all. They cause problems at medium term future. They were valuable in the years of Win98, they are useless right now.

  • izzyd says:

    Like most techs here i use ccleaner obsessively. I also use Wise Registry Cleaner on every machine i work on. I am surprised im the first one to mention it considering i recognized 90 percent of the reg cleaners that were mentioned here and WRC is beyond a doubt (for me) the best and safest. OF course i always backup before i make changes. i also scroll the the errors before i nuke them to make sure nothing slips thru. the trick is to learn the registry keys so that you can spot potential errors before its too late

  • Boyd says:

    Only something like ccleaner, and then just as needed. I would never recommend them to a customer.

  • GID says:

    I stay clear of registry cleaners for the most part. I prefer to manually edit any registry entries should it be necessary. The whole idea of cleaning is somewhat misleading anyway. You are essentially looking to remove or edit entries to lessen the amount of data to read in order to presumably decrease load times, which is minimal at best.

    I’ve never seen a noticeable increase which warrants continual usage of registry cleaners.

    If a client has one I remove it. If they want one I advise against it. In an amateurs hands, those types of software can be disastrous and I’ve seen systems get not only slower but also damaged from a client using them.

    The phrase ‘Registry Cleaner’ is a popular buzz phrase these days to entice users into buying products or somehow perform the tasks they should be hiring a technician for.

  • Chris says:

    I like registry cleaners…. But not all of them. Honestly I have found the registry cleaner in the Norton 360 Suite. It makes for a good thorough end result product. However I personally have not had good luck with CCCleaner, it has caused some conflicts on machines using Symantec’s End point Protection on occasions (not all of them)

  • Rob says:

    Come on Guys, are some of you for real??? Having a clean registry, in my belief is the most important thing in having a smooth running PC. The amount of crap that’s left behind after installing and uninstalling programs is sometimes unbelievable. I regularly find my clients registries totally crammed with registry entries associated with programs that had been removed from their PC’s sometimes years ago, I have on occasions found up to a thousand entries that a combination of TuneUp Utilities and CCleaner find, and if I manually look at the registry, all entries found by Tune Up and CCleaner are all there to see. Both of these programs have options to restore the registry if something does go wrong (which has never happened to me). Performance will not increase if there are only 50 or 100 rubbish entries, but I guarantee a PC at the other end of the scale (600 plus) there would be a very noticeable increase in performance.

  • tekgeek says:

    I use Ccleaner or tweaknow regcleaner and I do save the registry the first time I clean just in case but I have seen some extremely slow computers speed up just from doing a reg clean alone … I do many other things than just a reg clean but that is one thing I have noticed that changes the speed.

  • deepak says:

    Ccleaner is the one i use its simple and good, helps me when ever my system download speed goes down or starts acting weired

  • BernardV says:

    @Rob:
    Yes, I am for reel.
    However when you say “noticeable increase”, you tend to prove my point. How did you notice this increase ? Did you measure it ?

    Again: I don’t say registry cleaners don’t provide a performance increase, however I would love to see this backed up with facts or numbers.
    Has anyone ever seen a test in which they actually measure the performance increase or done this yourself ?

    Maybe this is bit of a sidetrack to the original question. That’s why a made a forum thread about computer science on the general business forum. I would very much value your opinions about this.

  • gunslinger says:

    @Rob

    I agree 100%.

    I have run two reg cleaners on older systems (Glary and Ccleaner) and came up with over 2000 junk entries. The boot speed alone was quite noticeably, and the machine became “snappier” over all.

    @BernardV

    I have never actually measured the speed difference as I’m sure most have not. I wont say its dramatic but there is a difference when large numbers of junk entries are removed. Its just one more thing that helps speed the system up. Removal of temp files, defraging, and disabling un-needed startup programs are others. There is no one magic trick to dramatically speed up the computer rather a combination of the above mentioned.

  • Mike Smith says:

    SNAKE OIL!
    No one here has any concrete reproducible evidence that it improves performance. Registry cleaners are like spark plug wires that improve horse power, or cold air injection on turbo charged engines (hint, the air gets heated back up by the turbo before it is forced into the cylinder – which is hot too).

    The registry is a flat-file. It is slow to access regardless of what you do to it. Are you telling me that you can measure the speed difference of a computer parsing a 1500 line file vs a 1200 line file?

    The reality is that the registry is a problem, like investing all of your money in Enron; It’s fine when things are good, but when things go bad, they go really bad. Like a twinkie the size of a school bus ;)

    Windows is such a black box that regular users and novice techs “feel” better when they do something they consider to be proactive.

    It’s so tech sounding to say “I cleaned up 300 registry entries today”. 300 is a number people understand, whereas Windows and the Registry are not.

    Windows keeps trying to be more Linux-like with every new version. Maybe some day MS will catch on…

  • waynebob says:

    I have used CCleaner (carefully) for years with never a problem. I always use the preview first to see what is being cleaned. I am curious why Microsoft’s own scanner does a registry cleaning (with no preview option) if it is such a bad thing.

  • waynebob says:

    Other features of the Windows Live OneCare safety scanner

    In addition to the free security scans, Windows Live OneCare safety scanner also provides:

    Straightforward information about online threats.

    The ability to search the Microsoft Virus Encyclopedia.

    Answers to questions about the health and safety of your computer.

    Tools to help protect, optimize, and enhance the safety of your computer.

    A registry cleaner to help remove invalid or obsolete registry items on your computer.

  • SRM says:

    I’ve always used Ccleaner, never had a single problem with it and found it to be extremely effective – I would never use anything else for registry cleaning on customers’ machines.

    Interestingly, having read the above comments I’ve just installed Glary Utilities and used it to clean my main (XP Pro) system (already cleaned every few months with Ccleaner) which resulted in a significant speed increase both in startup time and normal usage.

  • gunslinger says:

    @Mike Smith

    “No one here has any concrete reproducible evidence that it improves performance.”

    Give me concrete reproducible evidence that cleaning temp files and internet garbage improves performance. You can’t does that mean its ok to leave all that on a system?

    Give me concrete reproducible evidence that a computer is more protected with an AV program than without. You can’t.

    Also you are wrong about Microsoft trying to be more Linux like. They are actually trying very hard to copy OS X.

  • This is a supplement to comment #86! I ran Ccleaner on my laptop, and found something disturbing. I found ‘Invalid Paths’ to 3 system files missing and buried in the long list of entries to be cleaned. Including ntbackup.exe which I ran just less than a month ago! Which reminds me why the common person shouldn’t run a regcleaner!!! They would probably hit clean without concern for what it might do to their system. This is not a performance issue, just that you can’t perform what’s not their! So much for windows file protection. Also, I discovered that all of the restore points were missing, grrrrrrr! But if I had hit that ‘Clean’ button, I would have never known this until it was probably too late. I do believe that these people that advertize Regcleaners to the common person are doing the general population a dis-service by pushing their poultry on unsuspecting people!

  • Jeanne Renner says:

    I use CCleaner. It’s definitely helped clients who never deleted a temp file in a few years. I agree with the poster who said just format and reinstall every 12 months, that’s the best advice.

  • Todd H. says:

    I occasionally will use a registry cleaner on a customers pc when there are obvious errors appearing – e.g. after the removal of viruses, when their registry entries still exist.

    This is usually a one time fix, then I remove the software, since they probably don’t need more junk on their pc anyhow.

  • Jon S says:

    *sigh* there are some things you just never talk about around company. Politics, religion, registry cleaners…

  • PC Ops says:

    Cleaning (checking) the registry after a virus removal is my standard procedure. CCleaner does fine for me. I also want to mention Glary Utilities, this has proven itself over the years as thruthworthy as well.

    I dó think it’s a not a good idea for the average end user to use registry cleaners.

    My bit.

  • Layoric says:

    CCleaner. People looking for evidence? I don’t care if you don’t believe it makes a difference or not, I know it does. I didn’t sit there and count boot seconds, but on some systems the boot time is noticeably faster, others not so much.

    When it does make a most noteworthy difference is when it eliminates error messages that appeared once the desktop is displayed. Message goes away, user doesn’t have to click the OK or CANCEL button – I’d call that a speed improvement.

  • Mike Smith says:

    @gunslinger
    where to even begin…

    @Jon S
    Now that’s funny!

  • ajc196 says:

    Snake oil. Pure and simple.