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Registry cleaner

(38 posts)
  • Started 8 years ago by sunil3939
  • Latest reply from Scott
  • Topic Viewed 4125 times

sunil3939
Posts: 1

I am a new member to this forum. I would like to known from someone who has some knowledge or experience on this topic. I would like to know what exactly is <Registry Cleaner> if someone has used this please tell me is it really useful. My system is somewhat slow, I use win XP. Please tell me the benefits of Registry cleaner and which version is best.

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

The effectiveness of registry cleaners can be debated til the cows come home. Some prominent members of the IT community strongly believe that they do more harm than good, others suggest using a few of the popular ones. This much is known, there is no BEST one, and use of any without a proper registry backup is like playing Russian roulette. Think 'The Deer Hunter' ;)

Two programs you may consider based on HTG forum members repeated usage are recommended:

CCleaner, because it will only delete the more innocuous registry entries and has an easy restore function.
Revo Uninstaller, because it removes leftover registry entries when you uninstall a program. Revo has over a dozen useful applications.

http://www.ccleaner.com/
http://www.revouninstaller.com

Here, the cows ARE in fact coming home, after a long night of tipping over drunks,

Posted 8 years ago
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BobJam
Posts: 1052

This topic of Registry Cleaners keeps coming up - mostly from novices or people promoting scam sites. So, I'll trot out my standard comments on them (which no doubt Scott has seen before):

On the topic of Registry Cleaners . . . they are no good, and if you take the advice of most experienced users, you will see the same thing . . . DON'T USE THEM. (Read on for the specifics.)

For novices, and even "intermediate" users, like myself, I would definitely advise against using them.

Here are two links to articles on Registry Cleaners that I'd highly recommend be read by anyone thinking about using one.

http://asknerd.net/bestregistrycleaner.htm

An excerpt from that article:

" . . . The problem with most registry repair titles is that they are based on the same open source software script . . . they are being sold by companies that didn't develop them - and therefore have no real understanding of their function or even how they work. The result is that you risk installing an inferior piece of software that can permanently damage your computer"

Another excerpt:

"The issue lies in the explosion of spam-review sites which are nothing more then websites promoting affiliate links under the guise of an official " review " site. Their main goal is to accomplish one thing - to send you to the site they are promoting and hoping you buy the product they are selling - if you do, they get up to a 75% cut of the sale. In other words, their reviews are up for sale - and are not anything but thinly veiled sales pitches. For example, if you do a search for the term " Paid Survey " or " Registry Repair " you'll notice that the paid listings all include sites that say " read our review " or " warning, don't download anything until you read this..."

A lot of newbs get these Registry Cleaning utilities from Google, and these scam ads are notorious there: " Warning, don't download anything until you read this."

The article on this site ( http://www.edbott.com/weblog/archives/000643.html ) is titled "Why I don’t use registry cleaners"

An excerpt:

" . . . 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?"

Another excerpt from the same article:

"The Registry is an enormous database and all this “Cleaning” really doesn’t amount to much…I’ve said this before, but I liken it to “sweeping out one parking space in a parking lot the size of Montana” … a registry “tweak” here and there is desirable or even necessary sometimes, but random “cleaning”, especially for the novice, is inviting disaster."

This last excerpt really drives the point home with the parking lot analogy.

Registry Cleaners, even in the hands of experienced users, are dangerous tools and any benefit gained, if any at all in that Montana parking lot, are far outweighed by the risks. I definitely wouldn't let some software from a suspicious and dubious site, no matter how sophisticated the algorithm is, have a free hand in messing with my registry.

Mark Russinovich (Author of "Windows Internals", co-founder of Winternals and Sysinternals, and since both companies were bought by Microsoft, now a senior Microsoft employee) was asked:
"Hi Mark, do you really think that Registry junk left by uninstalled programs could severely slow down the computer? I would like to 'hear' your opinion."

His reply fairly captures my own view:
Mark Russinovich wrote:
"No, even if the registry was massively bloated there would be little impact on the performance of anything other than exhaustive searches in the registry itself."

"On Win2K Terminal Server systems, however, there is a limit on the total amount of Registry data that can be loaded and so large profile hives can limit the number of users that can be logged on simultaneously."

"I haven't and never will implement a Registry cleaner since it's of little practical use on anything other than Win2K terminal servers and developing one that's both safe and effective requires a huge amount of application-specific knowledge."

Here is the central argument made by Mr. Russinovich: only if the registry cleaner has a sophisticated database of all application software installation registry changes would it have a chance of being safe to use. There is to my knowledge no such animal out there.

The Microsoft Knowledge Base has a lot of articles on how to repair the damage created by using these utilities.

The Windows registry is a massive database of almost every setting imaginable for every application on your system. It only makes sense that cleaning it out would improve performance, right? Sadly it's just a marketing gimmick designed to sell registry cleaner products, as the reality is quite different... registry cleaners only remove a very small number of unused keys, which won't help performance when you consider the hundreds of thousands of keys in the registry.

Bottom line, the whole registry cleaning lie is based on the false idea that Windows has to search through all those blank entries to find something. That is not the way it works.

Say you go to a restaurant and your table is on the opposite side from the door. It will make absolutely no difference (provided that all are seated and don't stop you to chat) how many of the other tables are filled--the speed that you go to get to your table is the same. The other guests are irrelevant.

If you have a registry problem, a registry editor is the only thing that should be used. You don't use shotguns to kill flies--you might just hit things you don't want to.

Clearly, you can see I'm one of those that DON'T favor the use of Registry Cleaners. There are others on this forum that DO, so you may want to consider their opinions also.

Scott is pretty much right . . . the issue can be argued 'till those cows come home.

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

Amen.

Posted 8 years ago
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madmacs
Posts: 1438

Who are the drunks?? The cows look like it to me, lol

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

The cow is in the house :)
Registry cleaners may (note may) be useful in certain problem conditions.
On the whole, they do more harm than good (when used by people who know not what they are doing).
Having said that, I use them regularly, for the sole reason, that I spend a lot of time in the registry, so like to keep it as clear of redundant items as possible.

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

See here.

(edit- not sure you know of it in Germany/UK)

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Scott, naughty boy. Putting silliness on the main forum, whatever next ?
Yep, I remember it from many years ago in England. (mostly a student fad as I recall)

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

The thread was effectively over as we can point to numerous recent posts covering the exact same topic. BobJam comes through again with no conjecture, just the dead-on facts ma'am, and the silliness is left to you....and I. Matt is a co-conspirator.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Yes, an excellent job by BobJam there. Do we give him a gold star ?

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

I dunno, he already got the iPod Shuffle.

A gold star? I was thinking more along the lines of a free download of the world's best bovine registry cleaner/composter.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

did the iPod shuffle ever become a dance ?

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

Yes!

Maybe?

NO :(

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

I was thinking more along the lines of, you know, when you go to the village dance (or wherever), and when a certain song, or type of music is played, people will dance to that specifically. (Waltz, Twist, Funky Gibbon etc). Just wondered if the iPod Shuffle was one of 'em :)

Posted 8 years ago
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madmacs
Posts: 1438

Ummm... sorry sunil3939!! (Co-conspirator here :D ) Cow Tipping certainly rings a bell!! Not nice though, (for the cows, lol)

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

A PURE Clean Install, of for example XP3, will have anywhere from 500 to +1000 Registry Errors in it after completion and configuration. More and more Registry Errors will be created over time with use of the system. Also the Registry Hives are / will become bloated and need compacting for efficiency from time to time.
--------------------------
Appears from the (consensus) of this thread that users need not be concerned over Registry Issues and Machine Performance as "cow tipping" is of more importance.
--------------------------
Each to his own. Good Luck.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Rick I appreciate your knowledge. How many Registry errors would be pulled up by a cleaner, on a clean install ?

Posted 8 years ago
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BobJam
Posts: 1052

I still am using that iPod Shuffle . . . in fact, just had the earphones in today (my wife says it's because I don't want to listen to her . . . I plead the 5th). Have some 85+ tunes in my library . . . a good 4 hours of listening time.

Change gears . . .

Another issue I have with registry cleaners relative to the number of registry errors found comes from a study by Fred Langa cited on the AumHa forum:

Fred Langa started with a standard PC, imaged it, and ran 10 registry cleaners. He ran each three times on an image:

Highest number of items that needed to be "fixed": 800
Lowest number of items found to be "fixed": 59

Does not this suggest that what needs to be fixed is not at all certain?

The other question it invites is it not possible that those generating a large number of entries are trying to sell snake oil? See this small discussion that prompted Langa to test:

Letter to Fred:
"What are your thoughts on Registry Programs? I have run five different programs on the same computer, without making any of the recommended changes, and get the following results:

Registry Repair from Stomp -- 732 errors
Registry 1st Aid from Rose City -- 73 errors
Registry Mechanic from PC Tools -- 18 errors
Registry Medic from Iomatic -- 50 errors
Easy Cleaner from Toni Arts -- 36 errors

No, that's not an error; Stomp did return 732 errors. Best Regards, John"

Mr. Langa answers: There are several reasons for the disparity in those error counts. First there's the matter of simple semantics: At one end of the spectrum, there are Registry errors that -- if not corrected -- may make a system unbootable or unstable, or that may cause some of your software to crash or to malfunction. But at the other end of the spectrum, there are trivial, transient Registry items that are intended for short-term use, that harm nothing when they go out of date, and that are ultimately self-correcting via normal Windows housecleaning. Naturally, counting these latter as "errors" drives up the count and lets a given piece of software generate impressive-looking stats; but removing those "errors" doesn't mean much in terms of a real benefit.

I cite the article so that you can read it in full: http://www.informationweek.com.....#38;pgno=1

Read it . . . it's VERY informative.

But back to Mr. Langa's testing. One reason for testing each cleaner three times was as a credibility check. If you run the same cleaner three times consecutively, it would be a fair assumption that the results should be nearly identical each time. It would be hard to make a credible case for using a product that changed its mind about what was a registry entry to be cleaned if run three times as a test. As Fred explains:

"Doing immediate second and third runs with each cleaning tool was to see if any of the programs under test were fudging their numbers by over-reporting errors. For example, if a tool was really doing what it said it was, it would find and fix all the errors it could on the first run. Immediate subsequent runs should show essentially zero errors, because they all were fixed on the first run, right?

But if a tool still reports a significant number of errors on the second and third runs, you might wonder what was going on: Why couldn't the tool find and fix all the errors the first time? Is the tool introducing new errors as it runs? Is it fudging the numbers to make you think it's doing more than it really is? Is it reporting as "errors" some things that really aren't errors after all?

At the least, it seems to me that a good Registry cleaning tool should report a stable, repeatable, and very low number of errors on back-to-back repeated runs. To me, a tool that can't get the number of reported errors down to a stable, low minimum number on repeated runs either isn't fixing things right, or isn't analyzing them right in the first place. Your mileage may vary, but I tend to stay away from tools that act this way."

I hold to the singular distinction I made in the beginning: there are times that a fast registry editor with search is needed to fix a single issue under Expert hands (that would be you Rick, and not the typical user, which I assume the OP is by the question). There is no justification for the regular use of automated registry cleaning tools; and as the results above show, they are of dubious merit.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

As I said above, approximately 500 to +1000 in round numbers using (several different) Registry Programs.
To be truthful, I use some OLD FREE Registry "walkers" and "other programs" which I don't recommend to others.
I'm not sure why MS allows REGISTRY DISCREPANCIES to occur in any of their software installations to include MS Office Installs, etc.....

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Sorry Rick, I thought you meant the number of bad entries that would be made by windows on a clean install. Not what was detected by 3rd party programs. I totally agree there, for the simple reason that all unassociated entries will come up as an error. I tested it myself on a previous reinstall.

Posted 8 years ago
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