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The Ultimate Guide to Registry Clean on Windows

Articles • May 19, 2022

Computers are a significant part of our life. Everything we do these days is based on computers, and Windows is the most widely used operating system globally. As we keep using our computer, it keeps getting slower day by day and then starts lagging. This is where people get a new computer or upgrades to their previous one.

Most Windows systems start lagging from their third year if not appropriately maintained. Now, there may be a lot of reasons why your PC is getting slower, and you might have tried resolving a lot of them by yourself. The hardware components are usually not the reason since they are made to last longer than just 4-5 years. The problem lies mainly in the software and operating system components.

It can be because your registry is getting complicated, your programs are overpowering your RAM, and there are many background apps. But mostly the reason in the Windows Registry. Let’s talk about the Windows Registry a little more.

Note: Though we talk about registry clean below, you might also be interested in taking a look at some of our other lists below

Windows registry explained

The registry is probably the most vital configuration of the Windows operating system. It is something you should never mess up by yourself. It stores every little detail of your system, hardware, or software. Every component of the system is logged in the registry, and this is how Windows can identify and read the file and storage locations.

The registry stores product keys for software, windows, memory locations, extensions, program settings, etc. Since the registry stores so much information, it can develop many complications. Over time, when the amount of data stored keeps increasing, working with the registry becomes slower for the other PC components.

Why clean the registry?

Using our PC over time makes the registry cluttered with a lot of unwanted information, redundant, and harmful. Cleaning it prevents your PC from slowing down, lessens the system errors you face, and even protects your data online. Let’s discuss how this cluttering happens and the related benefits of removing them.

✓ Making the system fast and error less

A lot of data on the registry is already useless, credit to the pre-installed software, which we never use. Also, over time redundant keys are created in the registry; this creates complications while reading and writing data. Many times even updates get errors due to redundancy in the registry. Cleaning the registry of such key sets makes it error-free and hence faster.

Also, fewer data in the registry means a faster system boot and fewer startup issues. Thus, smoothing your experience.

✓ Keeping the PC safe

Data-stealing programs are often registered with the registry, and even deleting the related application does not remove the corresponding registry data. Hackers might use this undeleted information to steal data from your PC without you knowing. Moreover, such techniques can even escape antiviruses and antimalware programs.

Therefore you must clear the registry of such clutter. This saves your data from getting exposed to the person and the internet. Or else it can be a ‘party’ for the hackers.

✓ Cookies and cache problems

The registry stores a lot of information regarding website cookies and cache, which leaves you exposed to numerous sites. If you have already made these mistakes of accepting cookies without reading the terms, it is better you keep your registry clean.

Also, removing cache and cookie data from the registry makes your surfing speed somewhat fast and smooth.

Cleaning Windows registry

The registry has thousands of data sets, and deleting even one might cause a catastrophe for your computer. So before making any changes to the registry, create a backup of the registry. You can edit the registry by yourself, but it is pretty technical, so unless you understand deeply what you are doing, you shouldn’t mess up with your registry and use registry cleaners instead. A list of ways you can clean the registry are:

  1. Using Disk Cleanup Option
  2. Using Deploy Image Servicing and Management (DISM)
  3. Using Registry Editor
  4. Using 3rd-party Cleaners

1. Clean registry using Disk Cleanup tool

Disk Cleanup is a Windows tool that helps in cleaning disk space. It is not designed for cleaning the registry. However, when the disk cleanup deletes the selected files, the related registry entries are also removed. Therefore, it is pretty helpful in cleaning the registry. Moreover, running disk cleanup clears many useless files from your PC and frees your disk space.

Here’s how you can use disk cleanup, but first, you need to know how you can open disk cleanup.

Opening disk cleanup
  1. Open start and Search for ‘Disk Cleanup’, and click on the first option that appears with that name.
  2. Another way is using the ‘Run’ Open Run using Win+R and type ‘cleanmgr’, and click Enter.

Cleaning up the files

With any of the above, the disk cleanup window will pop up.

  • Select your Home Drive (the drive where Windows is installed) from the drop-down menu. The main Disk Cleanup window will appear.
  • Here, you need to select the files you need to be cleaned.
  • It depends on what you want to clean, so choose wisely.
  • Click on ‘Clean up system files’ to start the cleanup process.

This process will take time, depending on your PC’s speed, disk speed, and the size of the selected files. Once the process is completed, Restart your system for better results.

2. Clean registry Using DISM

DISM is a bulti-in command-line tool in Windows. It is used to repair and reconfigure packages and settings. Its primary purpose is to resolve errors, but it can also improve the registry.

To run DISM, you need an elevated command prompt, i.e., a command prompt with administrator privileges. For this, it is better to open the command line using Start.

  • Open Start and search for cmd
  • On the right-hand menu, click on “Run as administrator,”now command prompt will open up with elevated permission.
  • In the terminal window, type: dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth and click
  • The above is just the basic command to run the DISM restoring tool.

The process will start scanning all the system files for issues and fixing the detected problematic files. During the process, the registry is also checked, and therefore, any problems with the information will be patched up.

3. Clean registry using Registry Editor

You can always clear your registry manually from the registry windows. This process is simple; you only need to go through hundreds of thousands of data sets and select those you don’t need. Don’t worry, that was sarcastic, do try this method if you don’t understand what each particular key and its value are for. Still, here are the steps to do so. First, you will need to know how to open the registry.

Opening Windows Registry

Opening Windows Registry is accessible, and you can do so in many ways. However, here is the easiest option:

  • Click Win+R to open Run in Windows.
  • Type ‘Regedit’, without quotes, in the search box and click enter.

The Windows Registry will open up.

An alternative method:

  • Open Start and search for ‘regedit.exe’and press enter.

This will open up the Windows Registry.

Remember: Windows Registry is an administrative tool, so opening it through any method will require administrator permission.

Now that you have opened the registry let’s help you clean it.

  • Open the registry using the methods shown above in this article.
  • Find the key you no longer need.
  • Right-click -> Delete.

That’s it; the key is deleted. However, it is just one information set that you deleted. Do the same for all the sets you don’t need.

I personally am not suggesting anyone use this method. I suggest you stay clear from it. It doesn’t matter how tech-savvy you are; cleaning the registry using this method is dangerous and a waste of time.

Use this method only when you need to delete a particular set from a registry location that you know about ultimately.

Backup registry before cleaning

Remember to back up your registry before Windows Registry before making any changes. Backing up makes sure that you have your registry of the state your PC was running on. A step-by-step detail of the process is mentioned in the FAQ section, so check it out.

4. Clean registry using 3rd-Party tools

3rd-party cleaners are specially developed utilities used to clean the registry. They use specially coded algorithms to improve the registry. There are a lot of such utility tools in the market. To help with this, here is a list of some of them that you can use to clean up your registry.

Piriform CCleaner

CCleaner is more than just a top-level registry editor. It is an easy-to-use tool and has a clean UI. Besides cleaning the registry, it can also solve complications in the registry. It also backs up your registry before operating. Moreover, it solves other PC complications, cleans up cache files, does health checks, and provides driver updates. It is a completely automated tool with manual options too.

Compatible Windows Versions:

  • Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8.1, 10, 11.

Pros

  • Good for beginners
  • Numerous Features
  • Creates Backup
  • PC maintenance tools

Cons

  • Freemium only for home users
  • Confusing download page
  • Installs other programs unless denied

Pricing

  • It has a free version, only for home users.
  • and a premium is priced at $29.95 and $59.95.
JetClean

JetClean is a registry cleaner developed by BlueSprig. It is fast in working with the registry and has a straightforward UI. It can also be installed as a portable product. Moreover, you can run JetClean directly from your removable drive. Besides being a fast registry cleaner, it cleans your recycle bin, Internet cache, clipboard, cookies, auto-fill data, etc.

It offers options to choose the registry parts you want to clean. It also optimizes startup programs.

Compatible Windows Versions:

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and Windows 10.

Pros

  • Filtering option to clean registry
  • Fast in cleansing
  • Can view system information and remove installed programs
  • Clears the internet related caches

Cons

  • No help file
  • Too many cookies by default
  • Installs an extra toolbar, unless declined

Pricing

  • All versions are FREE for all users—no paid version.
Advanced SystemCare

Advanced SystemCare by IObit is an AI tool that makes cleaning your PC easier. It speeds up your PC and protects your data. It is one of the best options for non-techy people since you don’t need to see the scan results due to its advanced AI process.

However, it does not have a registry cleaner separately; you will need to manually unselect all the other options and select only ‘Registry Clean’. If you want to clean different parts, you can choose as many as you like. It also provides firewall protection and real-time PC Tune-up to prevent any lagging.

Compatible Windows Versions:

  • Windows Vista, XP, Windows 7, 8, 10, and Windows 11.

Pros

  • One-click scans and repair
  • Ideal for non-tech-savvy people
  • Allows creating of backups
  • Much more than just a cleaner, it includes updater support and antivirus

Cons

  • Too many options might overwhelm the user is non-techy
  • Can install unwanted software if not paid attention
  • The Deep Scan can be hard on the user

Pricing

  • The free version has limited features but works great to clean the registry.
  • Premium with all the features is priced at $29.99.

Registry cleaner: worth for improving PC performance?

Registry Cleaners are not just registry cleaners; what this means is that they are not just dedicated to cleaning the registry. They have a lot of other purposes, like cleaning cache, unused drive data, and much more.

I do use PC cleaning tools and find them pretty helpful. It, however, depends if you would like it or not. If you will use such tools only to clean the registry, I recommend using the free version and buying only if you find a positive difference.

However, there is a significantly less chance of needing the premium versions; free ones do most cleaning jobs.

FAQs

What are registry cleaners?

Registry cleaners are utility tools that help remove redundant and unnecessary information from the Windows Registry.

Registry cleaners scan the registry using its background algorithms and find the issues. After this, they present you with a list of the problems detected, and if you proceed, they resolve all the issues, primarily by deleting the corresponding key.

Are registry cleaners safe?

Many registry cleaners do nothing; instead, they cause more load on the system than optimize it. However, many do what they promise. There are a lot of worthy utilities in the online market which you can use.

How to manually backup Windows registry?

Backing up Windows Registry is a small and simple task; any non-tech-savvy user can do it. Here are the steps:

  • Open Windows Registry with any method, as shown above.
  • Click on File -> Export.
  • A popup window will appear, select the location, type the backup name, and click enter.

You can save it anywhere you want, but we suggest keeping it on your PC and external storage. This makes sure you have access to the registry backup if your PC suffers complications. Moreover, please do not change the backup file extension, or it will become useless and might get corrupted.

What precautions should one take before cleaning the registry?

Though the cleaning tools hardly make the mistake of deleting something vital, it is still necessary to take precautions before cleaning the registry.

You should backup your registry. Some cleaners automatically back up the registry; however, some do not. In such cases, it is better to make a copy manually. Backup is necessary to roll back your system to a good state if something unfortunate happens.

How usually should your run the registry cleaner?

Though you can run the registry cleaner whenever you feel like it, it is not a great practice to always run it for your PC’s health. Running cleaners without having any issues in the registry created an unnecessary load on the system, which is not good.

Some hints for when you should run it: the startup is slow, file upload and download take more than usual, the computer is lagging, and there are unexpected error messages.

Conclusion

The registry is an essential component of the Windows operating system, one you shouldn’t play with. It is responsible for almost every operation on the system and therefore cleaning it is also extremely vital.

The registry has thousands of different data sets. Therefore, the registry is too complicated to clean manually one-by-one, unless you understand the depth of the Windows Operating system. Cleaning up the registry will probably solve your problem; however, the underlying issue might be something else in some cases.

You can clean the registry with any method you like. However, using cleaning tools makes it much more manageable. The reason is that they are built for this purpose, while in the case of other tools, registry cleaning is the second or even the third on the list of priorities. With the hope that you got all you wanted and your PC gets error-free and faster, let’s bid Goodbye!!

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