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Registry Cleaners

maynardvdm

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2007
Messages
3,117
Location
South Africa
#1
Ok i'm just starting a debate on Registry Cleaners. Are they useful or just a waste of time as so many people suggest. In my view, i have used reg cleaners before and did not do anything bad to my pc nor did i see any real improvement in performance. But I will NOT recommend the usage of reg cleaners. It may be used by advanced users. I have stopped using reg cleaners since a read somewhere that its bad. The one i did use wasnt a free one it was a paid reg cleaner. Maybe and only maybe there is a difference between paid reg cleaners and free ones (and not money :) )

Please feel free to comment here as we would like to hear everyone's opinion. Have fun :D
 
W

Wolfeymole

#2
I wouldn't use em either Maynard, to me if you watch what you install and are careful then you can rest easy.
Download trash, expect the worst and even then you can't be too careful as the most well thought of programs can infest your system throughout.
 

AdvancedSetup

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2008
Messages
819
Location
34° 12' 35" N, 118° 29' 21" W
#3
Well generally speaking they will not help your computer and the left over items that no longer point to valid folders or files it typically harmless.

However on rare occasion I have seen where it has corrected a problem that was not being corrected by normal cleanup methods. I've used the paid version of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools
However using it just because you think it needs it or someone told you to is not a good reason and they can in fact CAUSE damage that might not be so easily corrected, so you should only be using it as a last resort in my opinion, not as a routine maintenance utility.
 

Bluesplayer.

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
160
Location
London England
Operating System
Windows XP - Professional
#4
In the old Win98 days with smaller hard drives keeping your drive clean may have had some value.
In fact an inbuilt registry cleaner was a part of the Win 98 system.
[Microsoft stopped including a registry cleaner as a part of Windows after 98 no prize for guessing why]

My main concern with any registry cleaning software if the idea that it is a cure all, that you only have to download our program and you can safely revitialize your system.

Little thought is given to the level of experience that the user may or may not have.
Download our registry cleaner..scan..remove all that the cleaner finds and you will thank us forever.

Yes there may be the odd occasion when changing a registry value is needed to solve a problem with your system.
But some understanding and experience of how the registry works is vital if you are to avoid damaging your system.

But someone will say there is a backup provided in the cleaner program..

Having a backup installed in the registry cleaner is of little value if after pressing that Delete button you can no longer restart your system.

The few forums I visit now have a policy of not recommending any registry cleaners and checking Pc help forums can show many posters who now regret using a registry cleaner.

Worth a read.
Why I don’t use registry cleaners | Ed Bott’s Windows Expertise |
 

RandyL

Administrator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,878
Location
USA, Nebraska
PC Experience
Very Experienced
#5
An excellent point of debate. It looks like everything has been covered already so anything I say is just repeating the above.

I have checked out different registry cleaners. Only 2 were free. Most cost money. The results were similar.

Every single one produced false positives that would have crippled at least one program or Windows itself. Therefore they should only be used by the most advanced users for the most extreme cases. No one else should even think about it.

If you read on this forum or any other major problems develop after using them. As already stated the usual fix is to reinstall Windows and lose all data. Once a person has run a cleaner and screwed their system up it's impossible to figure out how to repair it since we have no idea what they or the program did.

Backing up the registry is not a cure all if you don't detect issues until months later or if you can't boot.

After running a scan you still need to decipher the results to determine what to do. This takes knowledge and research not a click to accept. So it's better to do nothing instead of the wrong thing. Once done nobody can help unless you know exactly what you did.

The only positive result I ever got was not from cleaning but from scanning to help identify registry entries to clear certain values on legitimate BHO's and even then I edited the registry manually.

Bottom line is there is no real value to anyone in cleaning the registry. In the extreme case where there is take it to a real pro not an average pro.

Bluesplayer, AdvancedSetup, Wolfeymole and maynardvdm all bring up the same points that lead me to not change my opinion. Thanks everyone.

Does anyone else have any thoughts or feed back on this?

RandyL
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#6
Excellent points by all.

IMO, most paid versions of "registry cleaners" are no better than Trojan Horses.
 

Tony D

Free PC Help Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
704
Location
Malvern, PA (USA)
PC Experience
Some Experience
Operating System
OSX
#7
I used CCleaner once, and only once. After using it, the machine wouldn't start and I had to rebuild it.

Since then, I've used JV16 Power Tools a handful of times and never had a problem. It has a free 30-day trial.
 

RandyL

Administrator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,878
Location
USA, Nebraska
PC Experience
Very Experienced
#9
Hi Kelly;
I've used both of those to check them out. JV16 was the best of those I tested and gave me the path to some of what I was looking for. (I was not looking to clean)

However it said I should delete needed entries for some of my software. Since I didn't want my printer and graphics disabled I declined.

So I stand by my basic statement. Reg cleaners no matter how good they are should be used with caution and not be used by the average person.

And rarely does a reg cleaner serve a purpose for a problem but can create problems.
 

raj_head

FPCH Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
59
PC Experience
Beginner
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#10
I use to use CCleaner and Abexo Registry Cleaner regularly as routine protection and although i never encountered any major problems im sure it explains a few irritating faults that i had. Though i am thinking i was extremely lucky in not deleting anything important as i only ever gave the files i was deleting a cursory glance. (though i dont think i could tell the difference between unimportant and important files anyway!)
 
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
4,098
Location
Stockport near Manchester
PC Experience
Elite PC Guru
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#11
Registry cleaners are a massive point of debate as are firewalls and anti-virus.
all people have their own opinions on some firewalls and anti-virus software as in good and bad programs - Norton anyone, I would rather chop my own arms off than use Norton :eek:
Some people may love it - its just an opinion thing and I have seen registry progrmams find 15,000 faults - again I kid you not (not Seth this time :rolleyes:)
Are you trying to say 15,000 invalid entries had no effect on the PC??
no question in my eyes
 

Mara

Free PC Help Contributor
Joined
Aug 13, 2008
Messages
288
Location
British Columbia, Canada
PC Experience
Some Experience
Operating System
Windows XP - Home Edition
#12
When I read the words. "Reg cleaners no matter how good they are should be used with caution and not be used by the average person", I smiled to myself as this is so, so true!"

When I was using Windows 98 Second Edition, I used CCleaner - it may not be the program itself but as a new user to computers, I chose to 'clean the register'. with very ugly results.

I couldn't agree more with everyone who advises avoiding registry cleaners, if at all possible, and only use them under expert guidance.
 

Martman46

FPCH Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2008
Messages
22
Operating System
Windows XP - Professional
#13
Registry Cleaners

The first PC game that ever pulled me in was the origonal Command & Conquer. But this game could be buggy and cause problems.
When I had a problem I could'nt remedy C&C support recommended I reinstall C&C which did not repair the problem.
So before I resinstalled the game they recommended I enter the registry (at my own risk) and remove all referances to this game before reinstalling C&C and gave me detailed instructions on how to do this.
This gave me confidence to carry out the same instructions with any other software I installed which was causing me problems. [FONT=&quot]
But Reg Cleaners I've used never always remove all referances to uninstalled sofware and all of them, when tested by me have produced false negatives. [/FONT]
A registry cleaner will remove most invalid referances to uninstalled software and I have never [FONT=&quot]personally used one that caused me problems.
For a newbie they somtimes can help but I believe that even newbies with the right instructions (provided the feel confident to do it) should be encourage to become more confident with the registry.
So I seen no reason to clutter the registry with invalid referances of old uninstalled software and the more powerfull a program is the more numerous the invalid the refrances they leave behind. They are useful has a tool but they are not the Gods they claim to be
I have never found any Optimiser the cured all my PC woes, the best tool for that is the Internet and the millions of people that give a little of their time to help others.
Without it I would'nt be the PC confident guy I am today.

[/FONT]
 

RandyL

Administrator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,878
Location
USA, Nebraska
PC Experience
Very Experienced
#14
I agree with many of your points Mart but disagree with some too. But that's ok. That's the point of this thread.

Invalid registry items in themselves pose no issue unless the PC is experiencing a problem. It's not like they take any space on the drive.

I have tested cleaners that produced false positives. Most in fact. Had I removed them all valid programs and even Windows itself would have been corrupted at times.

No the registry is not to be feared but one should always know what they are doing first and always make a backup of it first just in case. And yes knowledge is power so research first as you said.

But to just run a reg cleaner and dump everything it finds is an invitation to trouble as I know you agree.

For these reasons we try to find an alternative to editing the registry when offering advice but of course this is not always possible.

As for myself I've found editing it manually quite helpful to customize my PC and programs at times.

The bottom line is back it up first and never trust a cleaner unless you know what you are doing.

Nice post Mart.
 

Goku

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
1,570
Location
India
Operating System
Windows XP - Professional
#15
Excellent points Mart but I will echo Randy's words.

1. Editing the registry might be a solution to a problem but frankly I, and most other experts, would prefer to edit the registry manually than let a registry cleaner do the job.

2. Editing the registry manually is more safe than getting the job done by a registry cleaner or "optimizer". As always, it is important to back up the registry before tweaking with it.

3. People should be encouraged to venture into the registry but not tweak with it needlessly. And as far as I know, simply venturing into the registry to study the registry structure is not much of an enjoyable task so people cannot help tweaking the values. This is the main reason why most forums discourage users to modify the registry unless backed up by expert instructions.

4. The registry might be cluttered with thousands of invalid references and remnants but even after removing them, you will not notice a 1% boost in your computing experience. In fact, I have seen some cases where removing these "remnants" has caused performance degradation or worse, reinstallation conflicts.

That said, if a user is instructed to modify / edit the registry, the instructions to backing up the registry should always be provided as a footnote, or the experience of the helper is in question, in my opinion.

Personally, I have used tools to clean my registry for months when I was a computer novice. In fact, I used to run three registry cleaners everyday before shutting down my computer. Little could I blame them for my own doom!

Now, I use RegSeeker as it makes editing the registry much more easier and safer. A good point of debate though. :)

-- Goku
 

Plastic Nev

Deceased - sadly missed
Joined
Oct 19, 2008
Messages
5,442
Location
Lancashire
#16
Due to a recommendation, I installed the free "Registry Mechanic", then opened it! I disagreed with just about everything it told me so I closed it down and haven't looked at it since. That reminds me, one of these days I will free up a bit of space and uninstall it:D:D
 

Tootech

FPCH Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Messages
1,618
#18
I use CCleaner regularly to clean out temp files etc and clean the registry. So far, and I should say, in the last 5 years I havn't had any problems.

99% of the time it has been used on XP, once or twice on Win 98, but never on Vista. I guess the time will come, as more people move over to Vista, that I will use it on that too.

Mainly I do it just to tidy up, and sometimes to complete a manual uninstall.

The golden rule is to make a full registry backup before you start. System Restore may help if it goes wrong, but it is not 100% reliable, so backup everytime.

If you use something like JV16 Power Tools and look at the entries left behind by uninstalled software - often there are alot, uninstallers do leave alot of rubbish behind.

I guess the question is 'do old registry entries really have an effect on how windows runs and do they have an effect on performance'

It's interesting that Microsoft see fit to include a disk defragmenter in Windows to help prevent disk degridation, but don't include a registry cleaner/defrag tool:)

Some of the computer press would have you believe that it does make a significant difference - I have to confess, I really don't know!
 
W

Wolfeymole

#19
Yes but what you have to bear in mind Scott is that you are an experienced user of computers and most people that come here for help are not.

You must agree that in the hands of an inexperienced user CCleaner could be lethal?

We do not wish to imply that any member of FPCH is in any way stupid or to denigrate them in any way whatsoever.