Are Registry Cleaners good or bad? Do they really work?

Most junk cleaners or optimizers for the Windows operating system include a Registry Cleaner which, inter alia, claim to improve Windows performance and make Windows run faster. But are Registry Cleaners good or bad? Do Registry Cleaners really work? The necessity and usefulness of registry cleaners, has always been a controversial topic. Do they really help?

Registry Cleaners Good or Bad

Registry Cleaners Good or Bad

In my opinion, if you are using a Registry Cleaner with a view to speeding up your system, it may not really help. If your registry had been corrupted or has a problem, it is unlikely that using a registry optimizer will make that problem go away.

But if you are trying to remove the residual registry junk; yes it has its own uses! One may use a Registry Cleaner only if one is into regular installing and uninstalling of software. HoweverI have seen no harm in using some safe registry cleaners once in a while. I do so too, maybe once a month. Among freeware I have had no problems with CCleaner.

But still one cannot always be too sure! CCleaner v 2.21.940 registry cleaner broke the Windows 7 context menu item. This was of course immediately fixed in the next version, by the good folks at CCleaner.

Incidentally, here is Microsoft’s take on Registry Cleaners:

Over time, the Windows Registry can begin to contain information that’s no longer valid. Maybe you uninstalled an application without using the Add or Remove Programs function in the Control Panel, or perhaps an object or file in the registry got moved. Eventuallythis orphaned or misplaced information accumulates and begins to clog your registry, potentially slowing down your PC and causing error messages and system crashes. You might also notice that your PC’s startup process is slower than it used to be. Cleaning your registry is the easiest way to help avoid these common problems.

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We had earlier mentioned a link which has Mark Russinovich saying, “So it seems that Registry junk is a Windows fact of life and that Registry cleaners will continue to have a place in the sysadmin’s tool chest, at least until we’re all running .NET applications that store their per-user settings in XML files – and then of course we’ll need XML cleaners”.

So using a safe registry cleaner occasionally to clean out registry junk might be a good idea. But do not expect any real performance gains after using a Registry Cleaner. And in any case, in Windows 7 & Vista, parts of the Registry have been virtualized, and hence unlike in Windows XP, it does not tend to suffer from bloat, as such !

Incidentally, not many may be aware that Microsoft offered their own registry cleaners like RegClean, RegMaid – which were discontinued long time back, and also its Windows Live OneCare registry cleaner, which was discontinued more recently.

You may be interested in knowing that generally speaking, Microsoft does not support use of Registry Cleaners in Windows.

What is your take on Registry Cleaners? Do you use them?  If so which one’s do you recommend? Do you think they are of any use? I’d  love to hear your views on this one!

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.