There are few things more unknown on a Windows computer than the registry. What is this mysterious piece of your PC? What does it do and how does it work? We want to answer those questions and more, providing an in-depth look into the registry. We’ll also discuss some of the more problems you’ll encounter when your registry needs a good cleaning.
The registry is potentially one of the least understood parts of the Windows OS. We want to tell you all about the registry and lift the shroud on this mysterious component. Additionally, we want to help you find the best registry cleaner for you. There are many options currently on the market, which means there’s one out there for you.
Of course, your needs are not the same as everyone else’s, which is why we want to give you a solid understanding the what the registry is, why you need a registry cleaner, and what you should look for in one.
Without further ado, here is our A-Z guide to finding the best registry cleaner.
What is the Registry?
The registry as it appears on your Windows OS is a hierarchical database which keeps the settings for almost everything that resides on your computer. This includes your passwords, application information, driver information, and basically anything else on your PC.
There used to be separate files for every application on your computer, which were stored in a text configuration. The creation of the registry was meant to fix this problem by establishing one single place to store settings for all applications.
Not only does the registry consolidate all of your system settings, but it also provides a faster means for parsing information contained in a configuration file. That’s because the database format gives the registry a way to quickly access the information it’s looking for, as opposed to searching through an array of separate text files.
In reality, the vast majority of the registry is read into the computer’s memory every time it boots up. This helps to make accessing the registry an almost instant process.
Why You Need Registry Cleaner?
With every Windows-based computer, the registry tracks settings and preferences for both downloaded applications and the operating system itself. Basically, the registry behaves like a database.
While Windows does attempt to keep the operating system and the registry clean, it has trouble keeping up. This means that over time, the registry becomes incompleted or overcome with useless entries that have outlived their purpose.
These types of files eventually start causing error messages to pop up, and often results in your computer slowing down. While cleaning the registry may not fix all these problems, and may not speed up your computer, it can directly correct some frustrating issues.
Additionally, there is always the possibility that an important file could be deleted or misplaced during a registry clean. Therefore, it’s important to try to find a registry cleaner that performs a backup and restore point before it starts cleaning. Accidents happen, but it’s always best to be prepared for the worst.
On the plus side, there are plenty of registry cleaners available on the market. The downside, however, is that there are a lot of options to sort through in order to find one that will get the job done right.
Indications That You Have a Registry Problem
If you do begin to see errors and experience significant performance issues with your PC, you might be having registry issues. Here are a few signs that will help you recognize that you’re having a problem with the registry:
The Blue Screen of Death is something no one ever wants to see, although to be fair to Windows it doesn’t occur as often anymore. However, when it does happen, it’s typically a result of an issue with your registry. This is often because the application you’re attempting to launch does not have the files it needs to behave properly.
Reboot your computer into Safe Mode so you can run your registry cleaner. This should help clean up any problems you’re having with corrupt files in your registry.
If a file entry residing in the registry becomes corrupt, you might experience your computer suddenly crashing. A corrupt or broken file can cause instability in your operating system, which is why it could unexpectedly shut down. Typically these types of crashes can be easily resolved by running your registry cleaner.
Startup or Shutdown Issues
If you’re often experiencing your computer hanging during startup or shutdown, then you might have a problem with your registry. When the proper files for shutting down or starting up are not available to the system, then it remains in its current state, continually searching for the file it needs. As a result, you may have to manually power down your computer, which isn’t the ideal way to turn it off.
If you happen to download a virus or malware to your PC, your registry may become infected. While the contaminated data runs in the background while you go about your daily tasks, they drain the resources needed to keep your PC running smoothly. The result is what appears to be poor performance.
Even if you have an antivirus running, malware that attacks your registry can hide deep within the system, then manipulate itself so it’s not caught the next time you boot up your computer. When you use a good registry cleaner, these types of files are discovered and removed so your PC can get back to working the way it should.
Problems with the registry can manifest through other means as well. You might experience browser crashes, intermittent connectivity, software freezing up, and many other problems as a result of a registry that needs a thorough cleaning.
Causes of Problems with Your Registry
When you run into problems with your registry, a reliable registry cleaner is one that will fix the problem and put you back on the right track. In order to reduce the issues you see, take a moment to learn what causes problems and then try to avoid them if at all possible.
Improperly Shutting Down
If you don’t let your computer go through the appropriate shutdown process, you can damage entries and files in your registry. This includes doing things like pressing and holding the power button or pulling the plug and letting the battery drain on your laptop.
Your computer needs to go through a systematic process for turning on and shutting down. Forcing this process to go faster can cause problems with your registry.
It’s always a good idea to have an antivirus program running, however, the reality is that there are hundreds of new versions of malware released each and every day. There are certain versions that are designed to avoid detection by attaching themselves directly to your registry. These types of malware can come from something as simple as clicking on the wrong link on a website, infecting your registry as a result.
The biggest problem is that some of the more sophisticated malware on the market can make themselves look like legitimate applications or programs. Oftentimes, your malware software will find the program and remove it, only to discover that bits and pieces were left behind intentionally. A good registry cleaner can help you get into those hiding spots and completely get rid of any malware on your PC.
Downloading Cheap Programs
Sometimes when you purchase a new laptop or download a new program, bloatware or junkware come along with it. This cheap software is typically a cause of registry errors and unfortunately is sometimes unavoidable.
However, there are also instances of high-quality software that was quickly developed creating issues with your registry. Hurried programming means bugs and errors exist in the code that might have been caught otherwise. This is why it’s important to update your operating system and programs as often as possible. Not doing so can cause your registry to incur regular problems, causing performance issues with your PC.
When you install an application, your registry has to update with the necessary files to run the program. Uninstalling the program means the files have to be deleted from the registry, which includes removing the application itself.
More often than not, when you’re uninstalling a program, not all the files in the registry are deleted. That means these files are susceptible to corruption and fragmentation, which, as you can guess, can create problems with your registry.
How a Registry Cleaner Works
Now that we’ve talked about what your registry is, the types of problems that can occur with your registry, and how these problems can happen, let’s talk about how a registry cleaner works. If you’ve had your computer for any length of time, it becomes obvious that it does not perform like it did when it was new. This is mostly due to the misaligned, corrupted, or fragmented files that reside on your computer.
To get a better understanding of how a registry cleaner works, think of your computer like a library. Every program on your computer is a book. Over time, that book might be discarded, removed, or misplaced. The problem is that the record of the book is still in the system.
Running a registry cleaner initiates a scan, ensuring that all the entries and files related to every application and program are in the correct location. Files that are broken, corrupted, or fragmented are removed by the registry cleaner. By doing so, you’re optimizing the performance of your PC while also removing any malware files that might be hiding deep inside your registry.
Remember, your computer needs enough memory to run all the applications and programs you want to use. As you continue to use your PC, the memory fills up while your applications and programs are running. If you aren’t sure how to optimize your memory, that space is lost, which causes poor PC performance.
With a registry cleaner, you can manage your memory by removing the clutter and disorder that builds up over time. These files are doing nothing but take up space that could help your computer perform much better.
Selecting the Right Registry Cleaner
Finding the right registry cleaner is important. This is because you’re trusting the registry cleaner you choose with access to some of the most critical areas in your PC. Let’s run through some of the pertinent items to consider as you decide which registry cleaner is the right one for you. This is information you’ll want to be aware of before purchasing or installing a registry cleaner.
Perhaps the most important thing to look for in a registry cleaner is whether or not it’s compatible with the operating system you’re using. Even the best registry cleaners are useless if they don’t work with your OS. So if you’re running Windows 10 and you find a registry cleaner that only works with Macs, it’s not going to do you any good.
Before buying, check that the registry cleaner is compatible so you don’t want tie and money. Plus, if you don’t check beforehand and you run a program that doesn’t work right, you could cause more problems with your computer.
While you can back up your registry prior to running your registry cleaning software, there are registry cleaners that will take care of it for you as part of the cleaning process. This is critical in the event that if anything goes awry while your registry cleaner is working, you know that you have the ability to restore your computer settings.
While we’re on the topic of backing up your data, you want a registry cleaner that can restore the files it removes. If a critical OS file is mistakenly deleted, a registry cleaner with an auto backup feature gives you a way to restore these files even after a cleaning occurs.
Quick Scan and Deep Scan
When it comes to performing a scan of your computer, you want a registry cleaner that’s going to go deep and get into those tricky hiding spots that malware and other nefarious file types like to hide. For best results, find a registry cleaner that performs a thorough scan.
Quick scans only do a cursory glance at your system and don’t address the problems that already exist in your registry. Additionally, a registry cleaner that does a quick scan probably won’t identify and fix deeper issues within your registry.
Another key feature of a good registry cleaner is one that will let you manually see the software and files it found after the scan is finished. While this might not be helpful to everyone, technicians and programmers want to have the ability to manually remove files if necessary.
However, if you’re the type of user who just wants to see their PC performance increase, then you should probably find a registry cleaner that automatically repairs any issues or problems that it finds without needing your approval before doing so.
This feature cannot be stressed enough. While there are other, more important features, learn as much as you can about what type of technical support each registry cleaning company has to offer. Some offer very little support while others provide 24/7 service.
Additionally, read reviews about what customers think when they use a specific registry cleaner. Not every review is accurate, but you should be able to gather enough information to know whether or not a registry cleaner is legitimate and will provide you with the features you need.
Top Registry Cleaners
SpeedZooka is a trusted a favored PC cleanup tool, and cleaning your registry is only one of it’s components. It has optimization mechanisms designed to help your PC run faster after years of abuse, errors, and sluggish performance. In addition to cleaning your registry and checking it for errors, it can even help you optimize startup programs for faster booting and correct file system errors.
The registry repair tool is incredibly simple. All you need to do is hit the “Scan & Repair” button, and the software will automatically comb through your registry, identifying and correcting broken, corrupt, and missing registry data. In addition to fixing registry issues, it can even defragment your registry, which decreases the amount of work your hard drive has to do to read crucial registry values.
Furthermore, it can stop unnecessary programs and background processes from hogging memory and CPU cycles when your computer is booting. Unnecessary programs will bog down your computer when it’s booting, but nixing those programs and fixing your registry will help improve PC performance. Unfortunately, as it’s a full fledged PC cleanup utility (as opposed to a utility focused on only cleaning your registry), it’s a little more expensive. Without a promotional price, it costs $29.95.
#2 Turbo Your PC
Your PC will always collect junk over the course of its natural lifespan, and all the dead weight can really slow down your system. For instance, even the best applications and software invariably leave old data behind in the registry and leave behind useless files after the uninstall process has completed.
Turbo Your PC will help by cleaning out all the junk that gets left behind in your registry, thereby helping your PC run more efficiently. It will help you reclaim valuable space on your HDD, help your operating system become more stable, and unclutter your registry.
It’s also very simple to use, so you don’t need an advanced degree in Computer Information Systems to use it. It’s also pretty inexpensive, and can be purchased for only $8.95 per month.
#3 PC Cleaner Pro
PC Cleaner Pro is more than simple optimization software. First off, note that does include a registry cleaner. It will scan your registry in depth with the click of a button to identify and correct any irksome registry issues it detects. Not only will it fix problems it finds, but it will also clean the registry by deleting old data and values left behind by uninstalled programs.
It even has a tool that helps delete browsing and activity history, so no one can track your activities by looking at private records. And like most registry cleaning software bundles, it includes ancillary features to help optimize and boost PC performance. Furthermore, it can detect and remove malware.
I wouldn’t recommend using this tool as your only means of defense against viruses and malware, but it’s certainly a nice additional feature. Last but not least, it includes an optimization wizard designed to help tweak operating system settings for better performance.
#4 Iolo System Mechanic
Iolo System Mechanic offers an unlimited home license for $39.95. Like the aforementioned utility, this tool does more than simply clean up your registry. Nevertheless, it can scan, identify, and correct registry errors as well as delete data left behind by old applications.
In addition, it has a handy SSD accelerator, which helps boost the speed of SSD drives, which is a feature not often included in registry cleaning software. And if you’re a security nut, you’ll be pleased to know that Iolo System Mechanic can even correct errors within the Windows operating system settings that cause security holes and vulnerabilities.
It also helps your computer work more efficiently by making sure designated drivers are all up to date, and can even create a backup of your registry. Last but not least, this tool also has a feature that helps you choose which programs you want to wipe of the hard drive, and deletes duplicate information.
Our last pick for the best registry cleaners is Registry easy, and you can purchase a 1 year subscription for $39.95, a 3 year subscription for $49.95, or a lifetime subscription for $59.95. This handy utility is more of a “jack-of-all-trades” tool like PC Cleaner Pro. It too can detect and remove malware, and has a long list of ways to help correct operating system errors and clean your registry.
For instance, it can help optimize common background processes that gobble up system resources, such as lsass.exe and svchost.exe. In addition, it includes a utility that helps find and correct broken shortcuts and links. As an added security measure, it can even help limit ActiveX to prevent sspecurity vulnerabilities from opening up your system to an attacker.
Notable ancillary features include memory scans and tweaks, registry backups restores, rectifying DLL problems, and streamlining Internet Explorer for faster performance.
Final Thoughts on the Top Registry Cleaners
There are a lot of registry cleaners on the market and choosing one is no easy task. However, it’s important that you give it the thought and consideration it deserves. A registry cleaner will have deep access to critical files on your computer. At the same time, it can create a better overall user experience and perhaps breathe some new life back into an older PC.
Overall, find a registry cleaner that works for you. Does it do what you need it to do? Will it do a deep clean and dig out all those old files and root out those mischievous malware records? Is it compatible with your current operating system and will it perform a backup so you don’t have to mess with it?
Don’t just download and install the first one you see listed on a Google search. Do your due diligence and find the best registry cleaner for your needs.