Registry keys and values for the . .. my machine . The Registry Keys and Values for the System Restore Utility
She also teaches malware removal in its free training program. Over the years, Kat has helped literally thousands of people online to clean and fix up their computers. Its something she has a lot of passion for, and is very good at. She answers questions like this every day, and recently posted a blog on Geeks about this very question. The information she posted is gleaned from her own experience with users, as well as many of the other experts she works with. I asked her permission to copy it here, so that more of you might be able to read her advice, and even add to the discussion.
Programs like CCleaner can be very dangerous to your computer. No registry cleaner is completely safe. There is also no hard evidence that cleaning out the registry has any effect on the overall speed of a machine. It will speed up searches within the registry itself, but has no effect on overall performance. There are a few misunderstandings about the registry.
People seem to think that cleaning the registry will make it smaller and easier to manage. Unfortunately, it doesnt work that way. What you are doing is creating mini gaps in the registrys file. These gaps will be reused by new data that inserts itself into your registry.
The end result is that the registry becomes fragmented. Searching the data in a fragmented file is way slower than it is within an optimized file. In short, the only way to speed up the handling of the registry is by completely rewriting the file(s) and even that is marginal at best. Registry cleaning will not improve your system speed.
Even though there are a lot of orphaned keys and/or values present, you wont notice a difference in your system speed. The only difference youll notice is when actually searching your registry. Do you even ever do that?
I know I dont. To be quite frank, if you clean your registry often enough, it will become fragmented. That will result in slower system performance quite the opposite of what you were trying to accomplish in the first place. I think Id rather have orphaned keys in my registry instead of deleting something by a so-called cleaner that should have never been touched.
Thats the problem with programs like these. They will miss entries that are bad, and mark good entries for removal. Ive seen it happen hundreds of times over the years.
A novice or normal computer user hoses their system completely, simply by deleting everything a program such as CCleaner told them to. If you must do something with your registry, do it manually. If you dont know how, leave it alone You honestly never need to do anything in there. If you have a case of malware that attacks your registry, I urge you to seek help from someone trained to know how to properly remove it. Also, even if you consider yourself to be an expert on the registry, I beg you to take a few extra minutes to make a backup before you begin.
I promise youll thank me later. Last, I know there will be people who argue with me. There will be those who swear up and down that CCleaner is a wonderful program. Theyve never had a problem with it Maybe youre a tech who uses it in your line of work.
Good for you Im glad youve never had a problem yet. Even when you know exactly what youre doing, programs like this still occasionally can and will completely hose a system. I sincerely hope it never happens to you. credit to Sari and Bobbi_Flekman for some of the wording of this writing.
Kat makes excellent points in the above writing. I hope everyone will take the time to ponder what shes written, and even add your own thoughts to the mix. If youre using something like CCleaner to clean out your temporary files, stop it now. There are some excellent free alternatives that are much safer for your machine, such as ATF Cleaner or even TFC. Both are very safe, and very effective. Good advice
There are a lot of magic fixes and tweaks that get passed around on the web, its good to see these myths busted. One that particularly bugs me is when people suggest that you tweak your pagefile to improve performance despite this persistent help I have never, ever, seen benchmarks that prove this helps performance. Ccleaner works, if it works it works- it is noticeable, period. Faster is faster , simple as that.
When removing a problematic program, there is no way to get a clean instalation until you remove the file and clean temps. Anything else is non-sense. Besides, this article goes striaght againts that particular product not mentioning Regclean, Regseek and others more.
Zero kudos This is a very good thing to know. Ive used registry cleaners in the past like CCleaner. I thought it was safe, even though it asked you to backup the registry.
I now know the consequences of these tools. Thank you. Hello,I have some more things to tell about registry. I also personnaly always said that registry cleaners are useless and dangerous. But one thing I do is defragment/compact registry hives using ERUNNT freeware so registry get rid of gaps and fragmentation. One thing also I encountered on Win2K machines (XP seems to have a much higher limit) is that SYSTEM registry is size limited
if it goes up to 9MB (I dont remember the exact size) then your system will not be able to start anymore and youll get black screen during very beginning of system boot when WIndows tries toload the SYSTEM registry file. Youll get some msdos line showing an error 4 (if I remember well the number) with a stupid message telling some useless error text instead or clearly say SYSTEM registry too big) so it took me a long time to find out the reason and finally found it on MSDN. The SYSTEM hive can grow a lot if you insert many USB devices and insert them in different USB Ports, especially with USB drives or memory as you can have many and also plug some other from friends. To clean such drive related entries and some other drive shre related (they will be redeclared as soon as you use them again) I use VxSCRUB that is also small, free and safe. Thoses 2 tools are the only one you need to clean you registry. But I remember the old microsofts RegClean back in 1997 It has been the only Registry cleaner I ever used years ago
And it still works it do not clean many things but if you really want to use one, this one is safe. Regards. Regards. I have been using for a couple of years now Registry Booster, from Uniblue. The only reason I went with this one was that it is Windows certified. Indeed, I have been using it without problems since I got it.
Every time I run it, it deletes an average of 50 bad entries, or more. While I do understand the issues posted here, I can also say that I use Diskeeper, and it takes care of defragmenting the Registry (it is an option with Diskeeper). All in all, I think it is a good idea to clean up the Registry, although I wouldnt go with any software of this type that wasnt Windows-certified, for at least some peace of mind. Just to be precise, I just saw at the Uniblue site that the correct term is that Uniblue is a Microsoft Gold Partner, and Registry Booster is supposed to be Windows Vista 32 Compatible-certified. Or so I hopeI agree that registry cleaners are useless for speeding up the operation of a computer.
However, what I have seen many times in my line of work is that a number of problems (lockup, seemingly freezes, programs constantly asking for installation CDs, cant unistall a program, etc.) that were solved by a registry cleaning. We use JV16I dont know about CCleaner although I do use it. I primarily use RegScrubVistaXP which has a registry defragmenter built-in. I defrag my registry about once a month to eliminate said gaps. No problems in two years of using it. In fact, I once used it to fix little software popups that were occuring on my aunts machine and its been smooth sailing ever since.
Personally, Im quite happy with it. I use CCleaner primarily to remove tracking cookies. At work I am using regseeker to clean-up DCOM problems, DLL, OCX registration and other related information saved in registry. There are some application that do not clean themself up after uninstall. So the procedure I use is delete all files related to the apps, delete the entries in dcom config and then run regseeker cleanup to delete all parents and child registrations. This way the machine is clean an a re-install of the apps will work.
I have been using this procedure for years without any problems. To quote your line Over the years, Kat has helped literally thousands of people online to clean and fix up their computers indicates how bad computer hardware and software design really is. The only resaon a computer should go in for repair is due to componet failure. If the OS was programmed properly we would never need to make decessions on which AV or repair program to choose from. All they Microsoft & Apple have succeeded in doing is create make work projects.
Chris had this happened, you would probable not be in this line of work. Hard to imagine. I think it is fair to point out that CCleaner only cleans out the registry when you specifically tell it to, and in compirson with ATF or TFC it is equally as effective in temp file clean up.
Agree? That said, let me clarify.ATF rocks, I use it over ccleaner anyway Excellent article The same goes for programs like revo unistaller that allows you to remove registry foot prints. Agreed, Registry Cleaners are rather dangerous.
I foolishly used on the other day, and 2 apps were immediately broken, requiring installation. There were other problems too. Out of curiosity I re ran the reg cleaner (PC Win Doc Pro) immediately afterward and it found 80 more problems.
The question is, why didnt it find these problems on the first pass? As for the speeding up windows, cleaning the registry would never work. Its a database removing entries does not shrink a database. wow this has opened my eyes up big time. i never knew that cleaning your registry can actually fragment it
i think when people ask how can i speed up my computer people will respond with: get more ram, clean your hard drive, and clean your registry. thank you so much for this article, but i have a question about CCleaner, i use it, but not to clean my registry, i use it to clean my temp. files, and the other things it does, is that safe to use? and i have one more question, i have win 7, and have the sidbar app to calculate ram and cpu usage, and when my system is not doing anything, just sitting at the desktop, i am using 1.5 2 gigs of ram.
is this normal, when i had vista, it was like 2 3 gigs at idle, but is this normal? oh and congrats to your assistant Hi.. I am just wondering, the whole article is about cleaning registries, and then at the end it is said to not use Ccleaner to delete your temporary files? Ccleaner has multiple uses, one of them is to clean the registry, and another is that it deletes unneeded temporary files from your computer. These are 2 different things, so why should we not use it to delete temporary files from our computer?
as cleaning temporary files, and cleaning a registry are two different things. I have used Registry Mechanic during the last four years. I run the app every time I delete a program (with their own uninstaller or with windowsone. That and a regular defragmentation (weekly) keeps the start up and shut down times at the original level. Thanks for your informed opinion, Ms Kat I whole-heartedly agree with you.
As a professor of an A+ course, my students are always asking me what I use to clean out my registry. When I tell them that I dont use anything, they are shocked. As Kat stated, there is really no need to deal with the Registry unless youre fixing someone elses mess-up for doing so in the first place. Great advice, Chris and Kat Keep up the great work.
Gina. I can personally attest to the fact that registry cleaners can hose a system. Ive seen it happen. Remember, people, you have a program going in there and removing things.
How often have you looked at what its removing before hitting the next button? I know its tempting to use these programs thinking your going to save some precious milliseconds. And its true, installing and uninstalling applications does leave little bits of refuse behind in the registry.
But, like Kat wrote, you are not going to save that much time if any by cleaning the registry. You are better off defragging your hard drive and deleting the couple of gigs of asian models you have stored and freeing up some hard drive space for other uses. I worked for Microsoft in the 90s as a Senior Technical Writer. Among other things, I heavily revised the MS-Press book on the registry and wrote the Registry Help File for the Resource Kit.
In my opinion, you should never ever use a registry cleaner. CCcleaner and jv16 PowerTools 2009 are excellent tools for OTHER purposes. All of the registry cleaning tools I have ever tried out give as many as 100s or even 100s of false positives. Some of the best sellers in that category dont even give you a choice.
After a scan, its delete all or nothing. Frankly, they all present a long list of either harmless or actually important keys and values. if you use one of these cleaners, dont be surprised if some Windows functions disappear or programs dont work properly.
leave it alone. Windows knows what keys to access and usually does it appropriately. I fell for many of those registry cleaner come-ons that scan for free and you have 413 problems that can be fixed but only 10 for free then you must purchase. I foolishly thought that if I use enough of the free 10 cleans, eventually I would get a cleaner registry.
Then RegCure offered Lavasofts AdAwarePlus as a bonus with purchase for less than the cost of AdAwares normal premium package price. What I got was RegCure will find 413 problems and say it fixed all of them. Rescan and you mysteriously have 627 new problems.
Good news is RegCure can fix all of them also. Rescan and you have 329 new problems. Every subsequent scan finds over 100 new problems.
How good can a fix be if you get more problems identified by the product than you started with? I dumped it fast and dove into the registry manually to ferret out each new entry compared with my backup. Ended up going to Win7 soon after and nothing that can identify the abundant google trojans is compatible anyways. Had to say goodbye to my trusted friends; ZoneAlarm,Norton,Spybot S&D, and AdAware as they will not allow Win7 to run. More on that in a soon blog post. For those of us that have been using CCleaner for several years I assume from your comments that my registry must be full of holes and jumbled entries.
Do you recommend that I use a registry defragger to correct this problem? If you, do your recommend a particular one? Thanks,HughFinally someone with a little sense in their head. The registry is not a amateurs playground.
I see customers in my store every day that do just this and accidentally delete a key that controls a vital boot function. However there are a limited number of tools that make direct changes to the registry that in the enthusiast community are absolutely essential. For example RivaTuner and EVGA Precision both make changes to fan speeds by editing registry keys and because the term automatic fan speed often equates to slowest fan speed in all scenarios, it is a necessary evil specially in instances where overclocking is considered. I do agree that most registry cleaners are over-rated to solve most system errors which is not always correct. Other methods like the Comand Prompt chkdsk /r and System Restore should always be used first to fix system errors. I have been a computer tech since the days of Windows 95 and have a BA in computer programming and I will say that sometimes when Registry Cleaners are used correctly they can solve some problems.
Mostly application related errors. I feel that this article used a very bad example of a registry cleaner, CCleaner is basically a system junk cleaner not a registry cleaner. It only cleans the most safe errors of the system registry. CCleaner is constantly getting updated all of the time and runs on all versions of Windows. ATF Cleaner and TFC are both very much out-dated and lack many settings and user control. Im surprised that this article recommends these out-dated programs that dont even support Vista.
I will say that I have used CCleaner for many years on my systems and my customers systems and never once has it ever caused any problems and if you read most of the computer help forums they all highly recommend CCleaner. The example that this article should have used a a dangerous registry cleaner should have been RegCure, it is the most popular registry cleaner and it is complete junk. It deletes many needed registry keys by default. I know that this post was written 5 years ago so I hope this will still reach you.
I bought Auslogics BoostSpeed 6 yesterday because it boasted some pretty great stuff, but after having read this article and several discussions on the Microsoft forums, you are the first person (who seems to know what theyre talking about) that has said anything good about these types of programs. All of the Microsoft guys said that registry cleaners dont actually benefit you and will inevitably screw up your system at some point I guess everyone has