... concerning computer system repair

Do You Need A Registry Cleaner?

Is your PC running more slowly than it used to? Does it exhibit a noticeable drop in its performance and does its startup seem to take a long time? Does it often freeze or produce mysterious error messages when you try to open a file? Does its disk drive churn constantly when you click on anything?

If it does any of these, welcome to the wonderful world of Microsoft Windows™! The chances are that your Windows registry has become clogged up or even corrupted as a result of all the download programs - especially some of the freeware ones - that you or other users have installed then later deleted.

The cause of this problem is that to repeatedly uninstall software more often than not leaves behind numerous files, data entries and other bits of junk which together result in a bloated system which cannot easily run at the full speed it was designed for. Unfortunately, it appears to be unable to recover from this mess or improve things by itself.

An intricate repository...

The Windows registry is an exeedingly complex entity. It features all sorts of support files for your computer's application settings and software installations. This complexity, of course, means it's really hard to keep all its areas free of errors. When your computer seems to be increasingly struggling performance-wise, a likely culprit is a clogged registry.

It is possible to effect recovery by editing the registry manually, but this is not a safe repair for the inexperienced or faint-hearted to tackle, due to the huge size of its disk file structure and the danger of wrecking your PC's system completely if you get the process wrong. Even very experienced and technically-minded computer experts look at editing the registry with apprehension and access it only when absolutely necessary.

...replete with data settings

In addition to installation information, changes you make to software settings are usually stored in your computer's registry system. An imperfectly-written program may leave behind invalid or redundant entries when you make these changes (most code - especially download freeware - if substantial, is imperfect: a simple read of bug fixes described in version development history support files will confirm this).

And if you've ever had to clean out a virus, spyware or other malware infection, it's always possible that the registry is still affected at least in part by the settings it changed without your permission. On that topic, of course, it's important to recognize that not all Windows system errors or slow performance instances are caused by an unhealthy registry. If you have inadvertently managed to download malware or a spyware program, for example, you are best to scan your files with an appropriate utility and repair that particular problem before applying any other cures. Or even carry out basic cleanup maintenance such as defrag.

A possible solution

Formatting your hard disk drive and a live re-install of Windows and all your apps following a large backup operation is one not-particularly-fast way to get back to a reliable error-free system working at full speed. In cases of severe problems you may have no alternative but to carry out this rather huge and daunting task with all of its associated pitfalls and possible data loss.

That's not to mention any difficulty you may have when trying to recover licenses for purchased products which may have been lost in the cleaning-out of all your files from the relevant company support service. There's no denying that the operation cleans everything up bright, shiny and new, though!

However, if your Windows setup still works reasonably well most of the time, but just not nearly as well as you know it can, then it is possible that a registry cleaner could restore its performance for you with ease, and by comparison much faster in fact than any manual editor intervention could. Employing such a tool appropriately could potentially allow you to avoid any such drastic action as wiping everything and starting again - an unpleasant scenario previously found to be necessary on numerous occasions and on several computers by the present writer.

New isn't always better

Another advantage of using a good cleaner over the wipe-everything-and-start-again strategy is that following recovery it has the power to keep your system in good shape if used regularly. And even with a new clean Windows installation, you may find that a cleaner can still help to optimize and maintain speed once you start changing settings and installing new download files.

You have a choice of cleaner

Over the last few years a great deal of development work has gone into producing several powerful examples of this type of cleaner. Some of these products have become extremely popular and respected, even gaining awards in some cases. They typically examine the structure and data content of all registry entries, looking for inconsistencies and file redundancies (the bits of junk referred to earlier).

The producers of such utilities usually also allow you to download their cleaner and test a free scan of your Windows operating system files, the results of which you can review at your leisure before deciding whether or not to purchase. A typical report usually includes lists of redundant items and leftovers from deleted programs as well as a description of the cleaner's optimizer features designed to tidy up the problems. Payment for the product would usually be required before the cleaner would be able to actually clean anything or remove any junk, of course.

While free registry cleaners do exist, one would have to wonder what incentive there is for any company to keep advanced tools such as these abreast of the latest developments or suited to all Windows versions (XP, Vista, 7 etc), or even to provide meaningful online user support under a freeware license. On other pages we present reviews or overviews (probably not with a star rating, though!) of some of the best-known paid cleaners which are available as downloads.