Do NOT clean the Windows registry

The Windows registry is a database repository for information about a computer's configuration. The registry keep growing when you use Windows. As it does so, it attracts obsolete and unnecessary information, and gradually becomes cluttered and fragmented. With the growing of the registry, it can degrade the performance of the whole system and cause many weird software problems. (registry-clean.net)

Not being a computer expert, this and many similar posts on the web convinced me that cleaning the registry no doubt would make my computer faster as well as more reliable. I've even been listing CCleaner as a 7 points program on the page Links. [1] The freeware program CCleaner, which seems to be one of the most boosted programs on the web, can, among other things, be used to clean the registry in Windows.

Nowadays, I'm not so sure that cleaning the registry is such a good idea.

I've been using CCleaner and other similar software for years, and I must admit that the result isn't what I expected. It includes everything from minor functions ceasing to work and missing icons to having to reinstall Windows and a crashed computer but no positive effects (at least not any that I have noticed).

At least, I think that cleaning the registry is the cause of the problems above. Again, I'm no computer expert but merely a guy who has used computers a couple of years and gradually but slowly gained some insights, primarily by the trial and error method, secondarily by reading articles, manuals, specifikations etc.

The fact still remains that these problems appeared right after I had used a registry cleaner or another. To me, that is if not proof so at least strong evidence of the root to the problems.

I decided to finally get some hard-core facts, typed clean the registry or not what does the expert say and did a google search. I got 5,920,000 hits. And a lot of arguments for not using a registry cleaner. Some quotes:

buzzle.com (the article seems to no longer exist):

The Registry is the nerve center of the Windows operating system and it is a very complicated database that touches on every aspect of the Windows system. Making adjustments to it is not for the faint of heart. Errors in the registry whether by system problems or by poor registry fix programming can be crippling to a computer's operation.

registryonwindows.com:

Recommendations that the Windows Registry should be cleaned on a regular basis are common on the Internet. Almost all of these are echoes of what has been previously written. Most are sales pitches for software. Unfortunately, there seems to be little quantitative evidence one way or the other about possible benefits to recent versions of Windows. The notion that Registries should be cleaned regularly is based more on anecdotal claims of improved performance than on systematic study.

At best, Registry cleaning is an adjunct to other types of system maintenance and by itself will not cure sources of decreased computer performance such as these:

The basic conclusion that I come to about Registry cleaning is that it is a specialized form of system maintenance that only applies to certain patterns of heavy usage or badly corrupted systems.

edbott.com:

I'd go a step further: Don't run registry cleaner programs, period. I won't go so far as to call them snake oil, but what possible performance benefits can you get from cleaning up unneeded registry entries and eliminating a few stray DLL files? Even in the best-case scenario the impact should be trivial at best. Maybe a second or two here and there, maybe a few kilobytes of freed-up RAM, and I'm being generous. How can you balance those against the risk that the utility will clean (in other words, delete) something you really need, causing a program or feature to fail? [2] Ed Bott refers to himself as a veteran, grizzled, occasionally bearded technology journalist. I like that kind of short, well-phrased, seemingly thought-through descriptions. The fact that it was one at the top of Ed Bott's page made me even more convinced that what he said in the article was true.

pcworld.com:

The big question is whether a Registry cleaner will speed up your PC, making it boot more quickly and run faster. The answer? I can say, emphatically and unequivocally, uh, maybe. That's right, a big, fat perhaps--because everything depends on the condition of your Registry.

In summary, I no longer clean the Windows registry with CCleaner and other similar programs. At least for now; in the future, I may come across information that makes me change my mind.


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