Some registry cleaning software is a scam, but this makes all registry cleaning software look bad. To clear up the confusion, here’s a description of how software cleans your registry and why you should use it.
How To Detect Problems In The Windows Registry
The easiest way for software to find problems in your Windows Registry is to look for entries which belong to missing programs. For example, say you install a program. Later you decide you don’t need it and uninstall it. If that program is like most programs, it doesn’t remove its old registry entries.
That can be a problem for your computer. Those leftover registry entries may tell your computer to do something it can’t do—such as start the missing program at boot—or they may interfere with registry entries from another program.
Registry cleaning software simply looks at every registry entry on your system and tries to match it to a particular program. If the program is marked as uninstalled, the registry cleaner removes the now-unnecessary entry. In the screenshot below after scanning with Pc Matic, that software fixed 83 registry errors. Not bad for a few minutes work.
Another way registry cleaners find problems is using a database of problems known to be caused by bad registry entries. Computer technicians have been finding problems in the Windows Registry since Windows 95, and many of these problems are well known.
Registry cleaning software can automatically scan your registry for any of those problems and fix them. That’s one reason registry cleaning software can even be useful on a new computer.
The final way registry cleaning software helps your computer is by checking for corruption in your registry. If your registry doesn’t get saved correctly after modification, errors can occur. This usually happens when your computer doesn’t shutdown safely because of a power outage or because a virus tried to secretly modify your registry to avoid detection by your virus scanner.
Registry cleaners know what a healthy registry looks like, so they can easily detect corruption. Since Windows works very poorly with a corrupted registry, repairing a corrupted registry can fix a significant number of problems.
Do You Really Need Registry Cleaning Software?
No, but it’s often worth it for older computers which haven’t had Windows reinstalled within the last couple years.
New computers, particularly those running Windows 8, may not ever require registry cleaning software since most common problems are caused by software conflicts which the Windows Store should eliminate.
On the other hand, registries will still get corrupted and there may still be well-known problems discovered by computer repair techs, so you may see registry cleaning software recommended for Windows 8 in a few years just like it’s recommended for other versions of Windows.
Who Has Time To Clean The Windows Registry?
I just didn’t have time to do all this detailed computer maintenance so I decided to use PcMatic to clean up my computer to run faster. All I had to do was start the program and press the scan button for it to remove 519 MB’s of junk contained in 23422 different files, alter 23 different internet settings to optimize my connection, remove annoying programs from startup without me lifting a finger, and apply 83 registry fixes that would have taken me hours to fix.
See how I use PCMatic to clean up my computer, even the computer registry entries, in order to speed up my computer’s performance.