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Should I use registry cleaners and tune up utilities?

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The simple answer is NO....

 

I regularly see programs (such as the examples shown below) installed on customers computers - these programs come with bold claims that they will speed up your PC and clean your registry, but in reality the claims they make are often misleading or completely untrue

 

registry_clean

 

The Windows registry is a database that contains all of the configuration information that determines how Windows (and all your other hardware and software) looks and behaves - and yes over time with programs being installed, uninstalled, updated and changed some of this information can become corrupt or unneeded, but the space it takes up is so small that cleaning or optimizing it is unlikely to bring any performance improvements - in fact the chances are that allowing one of these programs to simply remove what it thinks you don't need is more likely to cause serious problems with your computer potentially resulting in a computer that won't even boot

 

Some of these products often claim that they are endorsed or even recommended by Microsoft - this is untrue, Microsoft advises not using programs such as this or messing with your registry

 

Other programs like this are not even real, they are simply a type of virus (malware/scareware) that tell you that you have x thousand problems with your computer, and that by paying a small fee the problems will be fixed - in most cases this results in a phone call to a computer engineer like myself to fix the problems it has caused or to remove multiple viruses which it has installed without your knowledge

 

I recently tested one of the above products on a brand new computer that had nothing else installed on it other than Windows 7 - the scan reported I had 1826 problems with my registry that needed fixing!, obviously unlikely as the computer in question was only 2 days old and had never been used on the internet prior to this test - looking deeper into the results it gave me it was suggesting deleting several registry entries that were empty (fine that wouldn't cause a problem), but also removing entries for certain types of "unused" files (which yes I may not be using currently, but it doesn't mean I wouldn't be using them later), it also listed several entries that if removed would have stopped some software working completely and possibly resulting in the computer coming up with an error every time you tried to boot it

 

warning

The registry is a very important area of your computer that contains settings for all your hardware and software, and deleting incorrect settings could result in serious damage to your PC leaving it inoperative

 

So to sum up I would suggest being very careful with fixing anything in the registry unless you know what you are doing or have an experienced IT person advising you

 

If your computer is working fine then you should not need to alter any settings relating to your registry, this should only need to be performed if trying to solve a particular issue with the running of your computer