I find it hard to visit any computer security website these days without AdSense or a similar advertising agency displaying an ad about cleaning my computer’s registry to free up unwanted resources and make my computer “up to 70%” faster”.
Registry Cleaners are somewhat of an objectionable software within the I.T community for many reasons. For one, although clearing unused registry entries may seem like a great way to improve system performance the process usually does more harm than good.
The registry is a huge part of your Windows operating system and it can slow down your computer – less than it would an earlier Windows 95 to 2000 installation however – and be the cause of crashes and instability, but there is no quick fix and simply downloading or buying software to repair it isn’t going to help.
So what does a registry cleaner do? It simply scans your registry for entries that seem out-of-date or obsolete and deletes them.
When deleting “unused” file extensions you are actually removing the ability for your future software to be associated with the file so for example if you don’t have a single .JPEG image file on your computer, and the registry cleaner attempts to boost your Operating System by removing the file type then when you finally download a .JPEG file or transfer a photograph from your digital camera to your PC the default image viewer (usually Windows Photo Viewer or Live Gallery) won’t receive the signal to go ahead and open the image.
Applications like CCleaner are respected for removing temporary files and clearing browser configurations and history that you may not want but when it comes to delete registries it is still a no-go zone or it requires serious analysis of what you are deleting. Luckily you have the option with CCleaner to backup the registry should anything go wrong but I would still advise against any registry cleaning. The process of cleaning these “unwanted” files and configurations is often dubbed as ‘snake oil’ (snake oil being the ineffective placebo-style medication of the 1900’s)
If you are uninstalling software, REVO Uninstaller Free is good for cleaning the registries that the default uninstall programs leave behind but that’s as far as one should go with removing any registry files.
Registry cleaners are more likely to damage than do good. So it’s best to steer clear. The registry is a delicate database. Don’t poke at it unless you really have to.