Registry Cleaners Pos and Cons

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by JamesJ, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. JamesJ

    JamesJ Guest

    I've googled on the internet to find a non-bias informational website about
    whether one needs to use a windows registry cleaner to optimize system
    But so far I have gotten nothing but some links that appear non-bias but are
    egging you onto the web site to use their product.

    What I'm looking for is info on:
    1) Can the windows registry actually cause your system to slow down.
    2) Could malware put lines in the registry that can cause harm to your
    3) Does defragging the registry help performance

    Personally, I download and try allot of shareware which I then need to
    uninstall if I don't
    want it which is probably 99% of the software I download. I know I shouldn't
    be doing this
    because I'm just asking for trouble. But this probably leaves allot of
    unused registry keys.

    If someone can point to a web site with this information it will be

    JamesJ, Apr 25, 2009
    1. Advertisements

  2. JamesJ

    Rick Rogers Guest


    1) No

    2) Yes

    3) No

    Registry cleaners in general are a sort of snake oil. They give the
    impression that registry bloat (which actually was an issue in the Win9x
    line) can slow a system down, and that deadend entries can inhibit system
    performance. This is simply not the case. Dead entries (and some are not
    actually dead but are misidentified as being so) have no effect on system
    performance. Defragging and compacting is also not really an issue, as
    commonly used bits are preloaded and housed in caches (prefetch), not drawn
    directly from the hard drive.

    What can be useful are registry cleaners designed by a software manufacturer
    to specifically remove remnants of their software, like Symantec's symclean.
    These are not general cleaners, but target specific strings associated with
    their bits.
    Rick Rogers, Apr 25, 2009
    1. Advertisements

  3. JamesJ

    JamesJ Guest

    Is WIndows aware of invalid entries?


    JamesJ, Apr 25, 2009
  4. JamesJ

    JamesJ Guest

    I believe I read once that cleaaning the registry with a cleaner is like
    sweeping out 1 parking place in a 1 acre parking lot.
    Not sure where I saw that.

    JamesJ, Apr 25, 2009
  5. JamesJ

    SIW2 Guest

    Hi James,

    You might consider using the free 'Revo Uninstaller Freeware -
    Uninstall Software, Remove Programs, Solve uninstall problems'
    ( if you try out and uninstall a lot of

    In my experience it does a better job than most programs own
    uninstallers at clearing out the remnants.

    It runs perfectly on all my 64 bit systems, although it only recognizes
    and uninstalls 32 bit apps - that is pretty much all of them.

    Hope it helps

    SIW2, Apr 25, 2009

  6. Computer users who run 3rd party stuff which claims to make a computer run
    faster generally have more problems than those who don't, but they don't
    realize what the cause is until such time as they are talked into NOT using
    the cleaners
    Mike Hall - MVP, Apr 25, 2009
  7. JamesJ

    JamesJ Guest

    I used to have 3rd party software for just about every maintenance aspect
    of my computer. I now started to use Windows utilities, Disk cleanup,
    and the like.

    Thanks much,
    JamesJ, Apr 25, 2009
  8. JamesJ

    JamesJ Guest


    JamesJ, Apr 25, 2009
  9. JamesJ

    JamesJ Guest


    JamesJ, Apr 25, 2009
  10. JamesJ

    Chad Harris Guest

    1) The Windows Registry is the ultimate filing cabinet for the Windows OS.
    To quote Jerry Honeycutt in his eponymously named MSFT Press book "The
    Windows Registry Guide" who also has a website

    and a blog

    and has written articles for the maker of the Windows Registry, Microsoft

    "the registry plays a big role in how your comptuer behaves and controls how
    applications run on your computer." Microsoft calls the registry "the
    central repository for configuration data."

    You betcha it can slow down or even stop your computer from running. But
    people who know how to use it also tweak it to make it perform many tasks.
    Kelly Theriot has masterfully put together 828 or so sets of registry edits
    to make Windows do many things. She did it when XP was in bloom, but has
    continued to add to it throughout the current Vista run, and the vast
    majority of her tweaks work on Windows 7, which has a Windows XP Mode now.

    Many of Kelly's tweaks put together multiple regedits to effect the tweak.

    Windows XP Mode aka XPM Windows 7

    "XPM is built on the next generation Microsoft Virtual PC 7 product line,
    which requires processor-based virtualization support (Intel and AMD) to be
    present and enabled on the underlying PC, much like Hyper-V, Microsoft's
    server-side virtualization platform." ---Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott

    But back to the registry.

    You stated you hadn't found a site where anyone comments on so-called reg
    cleaners who is biased and "egging you on" to use their product.

    Ed Bott has no bias. Ed Bott co-authors the MSFT Press Windows Inside Out
    for XP, Vista, and Windows 7 and has 3 excellent websites.

    Here is Mr. Bott on registry cleaners. Mr. Bott recommends not using them.
    And again, I'd like to remind you--you don't know what the hell these
    so-called cleaners are doing, and precisely where if at all in the registry
    they are doing it.

    Ed Bott's Windows Expertise: Why I Don't Use Registry Cleaners

    I would say there is one registry tweaker that I have used, and I have
    confidence in and that one, but it makes automatic regedits, and it's made
    by a serious registry expert from Australia:

    PC Tools (formerly Winguides)

    Many regedits are available here, from the Registry Guide.

    Your questions were:

    1) Can the registry slow down your computer? Absolutely and it's proper
    editing can allow your Windows to do thousands of things it could not do at
    2) Can defragging impact the reg? Indirectly. I'd advise you to defrag
    often, and defrag depending upon how often you use your Windows system. You
    can set the native Windows defragger to run and reach it by typing "defrag"
    in the search box.

    You aren't directly defragging the registry when you run a defragger.

    You can gain some insight here:

    There are also a number of excellent papers on the Diskeeper site:

    My personal preference for Defragging is Perfect Disk:

    It will not yet load in a Windows 7 box, but works great in Windows Vista.


    Chad Harris, Apr 25, 2009
  11. Because that's all there is.

    No. And none of the registry cleaner advocates have ever been able to
    provide any links to any *independent* laboratory tests that would
    support such a claim. I've certainly asked often enough, but all they
    ever offer, when they bother to respond at all, are links to the
    registry sellers' marketing pages or "white papers."

    Yes. But you wouldn't need an automated registry cleaner to deal with
    such entries. The various anti-malware applications (anti-virus,
    anti-spyware, etc.) are better for this purpose, as they've been
    specific designed to seek and remove only those entries associated with
    the malware. They don't use a registry cleaner's "chainsaw" approach to
    what should be a precise surgical excision.

    Not measurably, that anyone has been able to demonstrate scientifically.

    Yes, such actions may well leave a lot of unused registry keys. So
    what? No one has ever offered any scientifically verifiable evidence
    that such entries have any impact upon system performance. In fact,
    given the fact that the registry is, in reality, an indexed database,
    there's no really any way for unused entries to affect anything other
    than a microscopically small consumption of hard drive space.

    Why do you even think you'd ever need to clean your registry? What
    specific *problems* are you actually experiencing (not some program's
    bogus listing of imaginary problems) that you think can be fixed by
    using a registry "cleaner?"

    If you do have a problem that is rooted in the registry, it would
    be far better to simply edit (after backing up, of course) only the
    specific key(s) and/or value(s) that are causing the problem. After
    all, why use a chainsaw when a scalpel will do the job? Additionally,
    the manually changing of one or two registry entries is far less likely
    to have the dire consequences of allowing an automated product to make
    multiple changes simultaneously. The only thing needed to safely clean
    your registry is knowledge and Regedit.exe.

    The registry contains all of the operating system's "knowledge" of
    the computer's hardware devices, installed software, the location of the
    device drivers, and the computer's configuration. A misstep in the
    registry can have severe consequences. One should not even turning
    loose a poorly understood automated "cleaner," unless he is fully
    confident that he knows *exactly* what is going to happen as a result of
    each and every change.

    Having repeatedly seen the results of inexperienced people using
    automated registry "cleaners," I can only advise all but the most
    experienced computer technicians (and/or hobbyists) to avoid them all.
    Experience has shown me that such tools simply are not safe in the hands
    of the inexperienced user. If you lack the knowledge and experience to
    maintain your registry by yourself, then you also lack the knowledge and
    experience to safely configure and use any automated registry cleaner,
    no matter how safe they claim to be.

    More importantly, no one has ever demonstrated that the use of an
    automated registry "cleaner," particularly by an untrained,
    inexperienced computer user, does any real good, whatsoever. There's
    certainly been no empirical evidence offered to demonstrate that the use
    of such products to "clean" WinXP's registry improves a computer's
    performance or stability. Given the potential for harm, it's just not
    worth the risk.

    Granted, most registry "cleaners" won't cause problems each and
    every time they're used, but the potential for harm is always there.
    And, since no registry "cleaner" has ever been demonstrated to do any
    good (think of them like treating the flu with chicken soup - there's no
    real medicinal value, but it sometimes provides a warming placebo
    effect), I always tell people that the risks far out-weigh the
    non-existent benefits.

    I will concede that a good registry *scanning* tool, in the hands
    of an experienced and knowledgeable technician or hobbyist can be a
    useful time-saving diagnostic tool, as long as it's not allowed to make
    any changes automatically. But I really don't think that there are any
    registry "cleaners" that are truly safe for the general public to use.
    Experience has proven just the opposite: such tools simply are not safe
    in the hands of the inexperienced user.

    A little further reading on the subject:

    Why I don't use registry cleaners

    AumHa Forums • View topic - AUMHA Discussion: Should I Use a Registry


    Bruce Chambers

    Help us help you:

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin

    Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do. ~Bertrand Russell

    The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has
    killed a great many philosophers.
    ~ Denis Diderot
    Bruce Chambers, Apr 25, 2009
  12. JamesJ

    Chad Harris Guest


    I should clarify that when I say the registry can stop your computer,. I
    mean loss of certain registry keys could slow certain specific applications
    or stop them from running as well as components of Windows, but the
    impression that so-called registry cleaner makers give that they are helping
    your computer run faster by using their product is simply false and again,
    you don't know what those products are doing in your registry. I would
    never trust the scans those things do finding a hundred billion eleventy or
    so so-called registry errors. That's simply false. They don't show you in
    anatomical detail what and where they are doing something in the registry.
    Never use them.

    Defragging is a correction of the fragmentation of the file system on your
    disk to optimize their retrieval and use, and it promotes organization of
    contiguous sectors on your disk, and in that way it will speed your

    Defragging and registry editing are two entirely different things, and I
    would think of defragging and the registry in separate categories entirely.

    The Diskeeper articles explain it well. "The Filing Cabinet" site articles
    also will help you to understand how defraggers work, and a number of other
    things in Windows if you pay attention to the hyperlinks on the left of the
    site's home page.

    Good luck,

    Chad Harris, Apr 25, 2009
  13. JamesJ

    JamesJ Guest

    Thanks much for the links.
    When you said defrag often you meant windows defrag, not the registry
    like some of these cleaners claim they can do?

    JamesJ, Apr 25, 2009

  14. Whether one needs to is the wrong question. Not only do you not heed
    to, but you definitely should not.

    Registry cleaning programs are *all* snake oil. Cleaning of the
    registry isn't needed and is dangerous. Leave the registry alone and
    don't use any registry cleaner. Despite what many people think, and
    what vendors of registry cleaning software try to convince you of,
    having unused registry entries doesn't really hurt you.

    The risk of a serious problem caused by a registry cleaner erroneously
    removing an entry you need is far greater than any potential benefit
    it may have.

    Ken Blake, MVP, Apr 26, 2009
  15. JamesJ

    NotEvenMe Guest

    my opinion is that a reg cleaner should only be used by someone who has the
    expertise to really not need it.
    otherwise, it's like handing a loaded and cocked pistol, with the safety
    off, to a 4 year old.
    NotEvenMe, Apr 26, 2009
  16. I've read all the previous posts on this thread, as well as various comments
    elsewhere on the internet.

    I guess this subject keeps coming up because people are fed up with the
    slowness of XP and V*sta, particularly at startup.

    You buy a machine that does 1000 000 000 things a second, but a normal user
    has no way of knowing what the thing is doing during the 15-20 minutes it
    takes before you're allowed to do anything that doesn't bring back the egg
    timer (should be a calendar).

    Sometimes I think it's the antivirus or other defense software, but it's
    easier to blame M$ because they're too stupid to provide a way of providing
    non-geek users with an indication of what's going on.

    Daddy Tadpole, Apr 26, 2009
  17. "15-20 minutes" is total bullcrap.

    My XP laptop takes less than a minute.

    This Vista machine takes about 60 seconds longer because I have more
    programs loading at startup. It gets to the desktop in less than a
    Steve McGarrett, Apr 26, 2009
  18. On Sat, 25 Apr 2009 08:15:08 -0600, Bruce Chambers wrote:

    (With lots of snippery)
    Well, years ago I read an article in Scientific American about support for
    cholera victims. Fed with enough electrolytes and some protein and carbs,
    they could be kept alive long enough for the immune system to kill the

    The authors closed with the remark that in fact their suggested nutrition
    supplement was somewhat like your grandmother's chicken soup, which works
    tolerably well at the same job.

    Not the flu, but still...

    The above is true, posted just for fun.
    Gene E. Bloch, Apr 28, 2009
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.