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Do I need a Windows Registry Cleaner?


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Further to AdvancedSetup's excellent guide I have a few questions which I feel remain unanswered in all coverage relating to Windows registry matters. I like playing Devil's Advocate on this subject. Firstly, I don't wish to propose the use of Registry Cleaners and the absurd way they are marketed as a universal panacea for the structural shortcomings of Windows operating systems, but there are clearly a number of issues that can arise in practice when changes are made are made to the registry by adding, removing, updating or overwriting software. Overwhelmingly these issues are of no significance to the performance of the operating system but on rare occasions they cause problems to which the system's inbuilt correction has no solution. This is far less common with post-XP systems but they still exist.

I could give you a number of examples, Nero being the most notorious, where removing the program via Windows Add/Remove or even using Microsoft Installer CleanUp tool would still prevent a replacement software functioning properly. All major AV's (including MBAM) provide a dedicated standalone 'Uninstaller', which are largely targeted registry cleaners. Why is this? If registry entries for non-installed software have no impact on the system. Why do we use or recommend the use of programs like Revo which append software's own uninstallers to remove leftover registry entries if these entries can have no impact. It's reasonable to assume that Microsoft see these 'redundant' entries as harmless otherwise they would apply a task to remove them. In my view the real dichotomy is that if you know how to use a registry cleaner properly you know enough not to need one and if you don't know enough you shouldn't be allowed to.

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  • Root Admin

Excellent feedback BornSlippy

In many cases none of these "Registry Cleaners" will fix the problem either and near the bottom of my post you'll see where I do say to remove the entry that is causing an issue. So, yes these custom built removers are specifically targeted at known registry or folder and file issues and it only cleans that specific issue. None of them attempt to be the all knowing tool that these snake oil Registry Cleaners try to be, but only clean what they know in their own testing can cause an issue. In most of these like you mention it is also file related and not just Registry related.

So yes, if needed I would recommend using only the dedicated tool required to do the job and certainly not one of the Registry Cleaners

If you get stuck and really need it then yes Revo Uninstaller often does a good job of cleanup, but again it's not targeting the entire Registry claiming it's going to save the World or your PC.

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asides from the link to the post made by daledoc1 and adding the fact that this post will be read by end user button pushers ...

disclaimer/cautionary comment : the registry is not the place for the uninitiated to be in , an error in this area can/will land one in deep kimchee .

i have noticed that the "build up" of junk registry entries will cause a slowdown of a machine ...

how long before it is noticeable and to what degree depends on the machine and the entries themselves .

those of us that have been around the block a couple of times will recall the time when trojan/virus/malware removal required going into the registry and manually removing certain entries as per a set of instructions .

these instructions were very specific in the removal of certain entries , while others were outlined as "mentioning or related to" .

and if one made a mistake in this area , many times the results were not pretty .

during the course of manual removal one might apply the term "sweating bullets" and double checking ones work .

i won't lie to anyone (bravado is bs) ... any time i went into the registry , i was on "full alert" (i attribute this to the small number of "oh hell ..." cases) .

there was a time when most users did not even know that a registry existed and what purpose it served .

i believe that the "automation" of the removal of registry entries (in/with certain cases/applications) has distanced and/or desensitized individuals as to the ramifications of "playin' 'round in the registry" .

analogy ahead :

i do not believe that the average person would attempt to change a full set of fuel injectors in their vehicle (pick the type of injection system) .

with most people , there is a "fear or ignorance of the unknown" that prevents them from trashing an engine (not to mention getting their hands dirty) .

this line of thought seems to vaporize or loose veracity when it comes to computers and software (i can't recall mass marketing of ; "yes , you can change your injectors") .

some companies are unabashed when it comes to claims of what their product can and will do . i do not recall a single "registry cleaner" outfit ever stating ; "yessir , this/our software might just pooch your machine" .

bottom line ...

(1) to the uninitiated ; stay out of the registry .

(2) yes , there is validity to clearing out junk entries in the registry .

(3) view the claims of "registry cleaner" companies with a skeptical eye , as in :


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