Microsoft does not support use of Registry Cleaners in Windows

51 Comments

  1. That’s true because the Registry plays a very important role in the core of the OS and it needs to be handled with care ! 🙂 Though I use it once in a month to remove the useless regs. I find it very useful because I frequently install and uninstall programs.

  2. If Microsoft knows the registry gets bloated for a number of reasons, I think they should make clear if this affects or not the computer performance. In case it does, they should as well provide useful help with that.

  3. Here’s an idea, why MS doesnt implement a low resource system service that monitors every program’s installation and after you uninstall programs from your pc, the system service app kicks in scans for left overs and delete them safe and sound. How about that?

  4. The only time I use a registry cleaner is to check for redundant services which log multiple log errors in the event viewer. Using regedit I can then check/delete the offending service and eliminate errors in the event viewer. At the end of the day I’d much prefer redundant entries than an in-operable operating system. Run different registry cleaners and note how they report different entries – so then what? Programmers for these cleaners determine what to search for and delete, which will vary from cleaner to cleaner and that, in my opinion, is playing with fire.

  5. If a user were to use an application utility such as Revo Uninstaller pro – there would not be the need for a registry cleaning utility. Revo goes one further by actually removing the dregs/registry settings from the registry which was left behind by the application/program uninstaller.

  6. MS do warn people not to fiddle with the regbase, but people don’t read the warnings, the companies that make regcleaners warn people not to make changes to the regbase if they do not know what they are doing.

    MS are in no way responsible for people messing up their system.
    If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t do it.

  7. You can use Revo uninstaller for that, I do.
    The pro version supervise the installation in every step on the way.
    The free version do not supervise the installation, but scans for leftovers if you uninstall from Revo uninstaller

  8. I agree with the general nature of Mr. Khanse’s and other posters’ observations; for orphaned reg keys from uninstalled programs, since I too use/test a lot especially on non-production Windows 7 Home Premium laptop, I use Advanced Uninstaller Pro as it’s another fairly good scanner for leftover keys/files (and lets you see what may be removed before doing it). But in Windows 7, StreamMRU and two other keys which MS itself cleaned in XP are lumped into one new type commonly called “shellbags”, which has a slightly different binary to it; in no time at all, “shellbags” having no purpose to me or even forensics can grow to over 15K useless file access keys similar to orphaned keys yet most cleaners can’t see them…my laptop can get slower in no time. I found that with Privazer’s “Shellbags Analyzer” I could easily locate and delete such extra useless keys. I’ve found that just relying on Advanced Uninstaller for orphans and Privazer for orphan-like shellbags, I keep down Active X and read time errors w/o damage or need to delete anything else.

  9. reg cleaners should be used with care. never delete keys of programs which still exist on your system. Programs like CCleaner ask us to delete key created by MS Office, Dot net framework and other programs which exist on the system. This can be harmful. use reg cleaners only to delete keys created by programs which have been uninstalled. Check the path to know which keys can be deleted. for example i uninstalled Samsung Kies. all keys related to it can be deleted safely. Hijack This is a good program for cleaning startup items. need knowledge about windows services thou. can always do a search to find out about the file

  10. Surely any reg cleaner, free or paid, that left the system inoperable after a sweep wouldn’t last long in the open market!

  11. I tried CCleaner, after doing the registry defragmentation, my laptop start showing errors on some of my installed softwares. A lot of my colleagues who formats laptops to other people still install those registry cleaners. I also do not recommend putting it to your systems. Feel free to visit my Blog at Tekno Boy Tutorials and Reviews

  12. I used registry cleaners, defraggers, and optimizers for years. Without fail, bits would be deleted that caused a problem (s) over time. Every event required a fresh win7 instal. I will not use these utilities ever again, paid or free.

  13. I used Advanced Uninstaller Pro. Not only did it not remove orphans from a program that it uninstalled, it left its on trash behind. Same with CC and all the others. They damaged my registry and failed to clean behind themselves. I have been in computers since the Vic 20.

  14. I’m not talking about MS warnings on people fiddling with the Registry, I’m talking about MS help people clean the Registry with its own tools, since MS knows the Registry gets bloated over time. I know MS (and not only MS) warns people not to fiddle with it. What I’m saying here is, if MS once had its own tools to clean the Registry (RegClean, RegMaid, Windows Live OneCare) it seems to me MS itself may have ways to help people clean it. I would trust a Registry cleaner from MS more than from any other source.

  15. I’ve been in computers since the Commodore PET myself, and agree the scope of memory and things it holds has grown to sometimes mammoth proportions…it’s not just 99 line BASIC, c-load anymore! Today, some reg/file cleaners indeed are overly aggressive; I’ve never had a good experience with trusting the ones which use heuristic scans.

    But I can set CCleaner to scan for just a few issues, then review what it suggests to be cleaned and uncheck anything I know to not be one of those issues (or VirusTotal says isn’t a trace of malware); ditto with Advanced, Privazer. Same goes with not placing blind trust in ‘duplicate file’ removal suggestions.

    What Microsoft probably means by saying reg cleaners are passe is that systems are way more involved today, and unless one themselves could understand and actually peck one-by-one through keys/files correctly, their cleaners either shouldn’t be used or shouldn’t be used by maxing-out scan options and simply deleting everything found.

    If someone wants to “delete all” anyway, as Mr. Khanse always urges, first create a restore point, to which I could add: or at least use a reg cleaner with option to back up deleted keys so they can be restored from the cleaner’s back up.

    Whereas over time I’ve seen some corrupted free space scrubbers fail to release space at task end, resulting in alerts of zero free space, I’ve never had experience with the cleaners I use leaving their own “trash” behind, so I have nothing to add there. Hope this helps dispel any impression I’m just a dumb lickspittle for TWC articles, or anyone/anything else.

  16. Excellent insight Dan. However, as experienced as you and I are along with many others here, we should not have the burden of picking what WE believe is to remain in the registry. This is what the registry cleaner is tasked to do. With perhaps a million new users coming to play every day, what chance do they have trusting any cleaner? My registry can bloat or float, no more reg cleaners for me.

  17. You’ve raised an interesting proposition…ever so many more people today using technology they don’t understand. Yet Windows 7, for instance, can experience performance issues if enough useless Active X-related keys pile up; on small RAM, all those PowerShell shellbag keys piling up from many one-time use websites/video players/some online games; all those orphaned keys from long-gone apps/programs…on smaller units it could add up, even w/o mentioning duplicate/useless files. Then as you say, one takes chances on their own; recall the bad rep “Nero” got for renaming Windows keys which got deleted by the most routine uninstalls of Nero?

    What might be nice would be for Microsoft to come up with its own addition to its native Disk Cleaner, which addition could remove/repair useless and/or performance-threatening keys…like they finally added that Windows Update cleaning function last October. After all, any Windows version starts out having zero bloated keys added by usage, so Windows doesn’t need bloat to work in the first place.

  18. Dan, you are right-on….I am no where close to an expert puter popper. Most of my experience is from trial-and-error, digital luck, formal learning, and test driving because I am curious. I have come up with a simple solution. Us MS on-board uninstaller followed with the never updated RegSeeker that sniffs out near exact orphans. The hits are much smaller and easier to deal with than the gaggle of mystery orphans returned by cleaners.

  19. In addition, I have recently realized the so-called PC cleaners, tune-up, and many other misleading names do more harm than good. I also pledge to never use any of them.

  20. I’m using more than five registry cleaner and my windows start and work faster. Never get any trouble because of using them. Just choose the right registry cleaner and also you must know what you’re doing with that.

  21. I can tell you my stance on Registry Cleaners. 1) They are mostly created by SPAM companies. 2) They delete things they think are no longer needed but actually are needed. 3) They do more damage than good.

  22. It would be nice but MS and their engineers are too arrogant to use common sense. i.e. Hide extensions of known file types. This allows people to spread viruses like AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs. People see their extensions are hidden but yet don’t use their brains and wonder “Hey I see the extension jpg. Maybe that isn’t the last extension.” but I digress.

  23. I’ve been working on computers since 1980. I actually discovered the year 2000 bug back in 1981 when I couldn’t change my computer to tell me what my birthday was in (1 AD) or the year 2000. but I digress.

    When Microsoft started using the registry my coworkers told me “Don’t touch it or you’ll be sorry”. Being a guy from the United States with Italian and German in my blood I took that as a challenge. I’ve been using Reg Scanner by Nirsoft.net. It isn’t a reg cleaner like these other ones but it’s for people who want to manually manage their registry. You can make an uninstall reg file, backup the registry, search for items and backup all results. After I uninstall a program I scan my registry for key words of that program. It takes more time but at least I know what is getting removed.

  24. I can only agree.
    I have countless of times changed computers to show the filetype name.

    Many inexperienced users have activated a malware file by clicking at an icon that “looks” like a word, powerpoint or other icon.
    But it is often an executable file like exe, msi or other but they do not know this because the filename maybe looks like this “file.doc”
    But because of the missing file type they do not see the whole file name that could be “file.doc.exe”

  25. You are right about a MS reg cleaner.

    But then again, it properly would not remove the many files that is useful for MS than for the users.
    Understandable but if you really want to clean the computer completely for leftovers form the many obsolete data in the regbase and all around the system then a cleaner like cclean is a must, mut then again one have to know what to do, and read everything again and again.

  26. the whole point of registry is bloated, registry is probably one of the worst technology created by MS.

  27. Adding
    to above information with no conflicts..!!

    I will like to say that there are diverse registry cleaners available in the market for windows.

    Surfing the web I found a website named completeregistryoptimizer.com which said that C cleaner, JetClean, Wise registry cleaner are some of the paramount registry cleaners for windows.

  28. Face the facts, MS created the registry to hide information that it did not want the user to know. The registry is the worse thing to hit Windows – ini files worked just fine without any uninstall problems. Software vendors only care about getting their stuff installed, they do not care if it uninstalls or not leaving the user with a slower computer because of the bloated registry that loads on startup. MS does not want to take responsibility because it knows the nightmare that they have created and don’t have anyone intelligent enough to fix the problem.

  29. Using a registry cleaner because you don’t understand the registry is like driving with your eyes shut! If you want to make sure that uninstall is removing all traces of a program, use Revo uninstaller, or (better) Geek Uninstaller. It is not possible for a registry cleaner to make your PC faster. If you look at the registry it is hundreds of thousands of lines long – how is deleting a few lines going to make any speed difference? Having said that, I sometimes use Ccleaner, but I understand the registry and check every entry before deleting. Even then the only time I do this is when I have removed some malware or unwanted utility. If you want to speed up your PC get more memory and a hybrid drive. Then you don’t even need to defrag!

  30. My computer started freezing and become slow. I tried every possible to remove the junk manually and also I scan my PC with an antivirus utility. But nothing happens. At last, I tried computer cleaning software like Ninja TuneUp to clean the system junk.

  31. Whats the difference between using a registry cleaner by itself, or an uninstaller with a built in registry cleaner? Nothing. Both are the same. They clean up left over registry bits of an uninstall. Revo does it as you remove the program, other cleaners do it after.

    Why would you relate cleaning with a program like ASC to driving with your eyes closed, when right after you suggest people clean the registry with Revo?

  32. Revo Uninstaller only removes the keys relevant to the program that you uninstall. “Registry cleaners” remove keys indiscriminately.

    In a nutshell: They’re not safe to use.

  33. A completely fail-proof generic registry cleaner is nearly impossible to create. Its author would have to stay informed about all the changes that Microsoft is making to the format that the key branches are organized. But also how common applications store data there, even if the format is contradictory to currently accepted best practice.

    For example, an application might create a few bogus CLSID entries to record its license number or the state of a trial period, in an obfuscated manner. The authors format the keys in a somewhat valid format, maybe test them against a couple cleaners. Then another registry maintenance utility detects some or all of these keys as errors and deletes them. The application detects tampering, and refuses to run or even reinstall.

    I never use cleaners. In the past I have tried RegClean and Norton WinDoctor. I only go into the registry to solve a specific problem, such as error messages, slow bootup, stuck associations, and so on. Occasionally I clean out the Software key from products that are known to have been uninstalled, to keep the ship tidy. Sorting out associations and registered COM/CLSID keys is too time consuming. (Microsoft has made these bloated.)

    I doubt that a “generic uninstaller” would be any more safe to use than a registry cleaner. What if we create an association or register the same DLL from multiple applications, and then the entry gets cleaned, because one of the apps is uninstalled? Keep a “use count” for each key? Bloat… We can’t make all legacy third party applications to increment the use count reliably.

    I am missing a key size calculator in current registry editors. I use Registry Workshop by TorchSoft (it supports win9x and all NT!), which does show the size of values, but not of entire branches. There are similar tools to gather stastics for the main file system (DirSizeCalc, or alt-shift-enter in Total Commander). Then we cold easily find the largest keys and get the most cleaning efficiency per time spent.

    Microsoft does use the registry with impunity. Too many types of data go there. In addition to the CLSID section, there are the TrayNotify values, which record hidden tray icons, and can get quite large. Windows Installer (MSI) also stores the components of each application in the registry. That should go in a separate file or files, which are not touched except when software gets installed or uninstalled. (Like a regular installation log.) Some applications can get very verbose and define individual files as components.

  34. The title says “Microsoft does not support use of Registry Cleaners in Windows” and the very next line says “RECOMMENDED: Click here to fix Windows errors and optimize system performance”.
    If you click that link it will take you to a page offering a registry cleaner. Seems counter productive to me. It also makes me think that the content on this page is questionable at best. Why would you tell me that registry cleaners are no longer needed, then recommend a registry cleaner?

  35. Yes, the Windows Registry is a “living breathing” object. It is STILL after 20 years, a flat file “Jet” database. Respect the registry, but don’t be afraid of it. Yea, yea, do a backup. That works sometimes.

    I’ve never “blown up” a PC/Server in 25 years. BSOD on NT4, boot into safe mode, open regidit. Away you go.

    Some applications are so messy, especially virus protection tools, you have to rip them out using regedit. Unless they eventually tell you about the MUST USE uninstall tool (Thank you Trend Micro).

    Start by just looking at Hkey_localmachine. Browse, don’t touch, DO NOT DELETE. Pick a key word, search for it. See what you find. It may take you 30 minutes to get through the whole thing. That’s learning. I wasn’t afraid the very first time I ever fired it up, nor am I today. Some of those AD & Permissions Controls, they scare me! LOL Na… “everything is an AD object” just not the Windows Registry…”patience grasshopper”. ha ha… have fun! JLH

  36. That may be true (& it can happen), however – fact of the matter remains that teh Windows Registry is one GIANT trash-bin, which stores (sometimes MASSIVE) amounts of (useless) junk – which can impact performance; especially on computers with slower HDDs (for example, laptops which spin @5,400 rpm – as opposed to 7,200 & faster!..:))

    So… Why isn’t there a built-in system, to deal with this ridiculousness – and we are *forced* to find and use 3rd-party software. Fortunately (!), there are tools which don’t suck, completely: TuneUp Utilties aren’t terrible (despite the AVG purchase, which had nearly killed it) and, also, CCleaner is, kinda, cool!! :))

    *other tools, such as the Torch Soft: Registry Workshop can be used to backup the Registry, prior to (any-and-all) modification(s); & teh Windows System restore (System Protection) can, also, be useful to restore, roll-back, Registry changes!

    Edit: NOT sure what would be the equivalent, free, software 4 teh Registry Workshop, btw.

    =)

  37. Yes /and no. Subsequently, such “uninstallers” are often times (!) adware /spyware software… They, the developers, justify it – by saying how they provide FREE sofware (their programs, for free) & it’s not a good excuse. They modify (the) browser start-up pages, sometimes EVEN the DNS /proxy settings (which is, just, plain nuts)

  38. Right, exactly: it must be run PRIOR to the installation(s), so that it may know what’s going on (to record the states & all that).

    ALSO, different software will use the same Registry keys /settings /locations & then upon removing one, so the problem arises when one is removed – or, something – and the rest stay (more get added). Having used a cleaner, there will be unexpected info in the Registry and (all sorts of) things can go awry, meh. :f

    (You know what I’m saying, w/o going into too much detail – here, in the comments. :))

  39. Built in to XP and later operating systems from MS there are routines for proper registry management. Over time they do cleanup what is safe to get cleaned up and keep things in order.

    Independent registry cleaners can do some damage. The authors of quality type registry cleaners, even though they have good intentions do not have all the in depth proprietary coding of the registry structure, and their software may do some damage in these areas. MS does not publish many parts of the Wins code structures mainly for security reasons, and also to protect their interests.

    I have seen registry cleaners damage the Wins OS to the point where it had to be re-installed. Everyone I know has a computer at home. I tell them to not use any registry cleaners. It is important to properly remove programs. Keep a running backup image system on an outboard hard disk in case a recovery is required. Always make sure the virus scanner is kept up to date.

    I work on large server systems operating in a Wins environment. These servers are doing millions of operations 24/7 using various complex software working under remote access via work stations. There are very frequent updates, and etc. We never have registry problems in these systems. We are keeping multiple images of these servers in case there is a total system drive failure. We have see a RAID system go down due to multiple drive failure, but this is hardware issues and not registry issues.

    I have seen a registry go bad to the point where a computer will not even start properly because the user installed bad quality software, or did a power down or manual reset on a computer while the registry was being written to. No registry cleaner will fix a non bootable system. This type of corruption can only be fixed by a repair if lucky, or a proper image recovery, or a total re-install of the OS and programs.

  40. Yes, Microsoft doesn’t want you to remove any of their bloatware. They must have even made deals with Norton and the other antiviruses to keep them from removing their junk in Windows 10 because a lot of it would have gotten removed as spyware, malware and viruslike. That’s why Norton wasn’t compatible with it in the beginning. Funny that Microsoft is telling us that these registry cleaners can mess up our computers when their updates can do the same or worse but yet they force them down your throat.

  41. The many unwanted bloatware can be omitted by making a clean install downloaded from MS.
    The bloat- and as I see it MALWARE are not from MS it’s the PC manufactures just like the “overwhelmed enormous extreme” amount of bloatware on an Android unit. It takes up most of the resources in any mobile and/or tablet, it here, also the manufactures that are to blame.

    THEN when you write about the AAAARRRGGGHHHH MS updates we agree 100%
    I myself have not received any of these updates, but I have helped others to get back to normal after such “trash” has invaded the “totally innocent computer” and the “forced” download and installing of these updates are almost a violation.

    I use a simple trick to avoid this, and it works fine.
    I mark my network connection as “Metered” connection, I do not know if this is the right expression on the English Windows, sorry.

    If this is set in W10, Windows will not download any updates, and therefore have nothing to install and no reason to restart,,,, and so on 🙂

    If I want to update I press Windows key + i and click on Windows update.

  42. Firstly I think MS are wrong to just leave the registry alone and not make a simple tool to fix it when its broken, I mean they made the damned operating system but they cant seem to fix it themselves.

    Secondly if anyone wants to disable windows updates ( i saw mentions in other comments) all you have to do is disable the windows update service. Simply open windows service menu, just search for it. then right click the service windows update and click properties. then choose disable. and then click stop button.

    That will stop the service and disable it.

    Then you can say goodbye to windows forcing shitty updates onto you

    cheers!

  43. tell you the truth i think its the job of the developers to delete all unused files of their program once you uninstall their program.

  44. I have used the Eusing Free Registry Cleaner MANY times (that’s on dozens of Window machines) with absolutely no ill effect (not one problem!), so I highly recommend it. It’s at eusing dot com. I once had a problem with their registry defrag program, so I’m not sure about that one. Most of Eusing’s tools are donation-ware and seem to work very well. Shame-free disclaimer: I’m just a “user”; I have no interest whatsoever in Eusing. YMMV, but I’m confident.

  45. I agree, but sadly it dosn’t happen.

    I have read an article for some years ago, i can’t remember where sorry, that, over time, the same program, when comparing a program installed day one and then uninstalled 3 days later VS the same program uninstalled 3 months later.

    The 3 days uninstalled test removed near 100% of the installation, but the 3 month left much “trash”

    I guess it may be because the program or part of it has integrated more and more doing use.
    Eksample: photo editors, after 3 days it maybe “co. work” with 2 or 3 other programs, like an image-viewer or a GIF animation program.
    this will leave traces in the regbase and leave traces around the system folders.

    While after 3 months intensive use, the “integration” logically are much more serious.

    And because of all this activity from other programs it getting harder to keep track of and clean up all “leftovers” maybe cause it could affect the other programs.
    Just a guess though.

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