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Registry Cleaners: friend or foe?



… lightweight and fast, ideal for quick, regular preventative maintenance
… allows you to safely clean and repair registry problems in a few simple mouse clicks.
… a handy cleanup and optimization tool for the Windows Registry – a key element in your system.

After days or weeks of frustration about your computer’s performance, you eventually overcome your hesitation and succumb to the promise of “optimisation”. You download one of the many free registry cleaners available on the internet and wait to be disillusioned.

Advertisers promote registry cleaners as a simple solution to a slow and lacking computer system without ever mentioning anything about the risks associated with this type of software.

The Windows registry is in essence the complete database of settings for both Windows and any additional programs installed on your computer. As you add new programmes the registry expands, and when unwanted programmes are removed some of the files in the registry become outdated and useless. Registry cleaners attempt to identify and remove any of these obsolete programmes. The idea is that this the system will, as a result, run faster and better.

The premise is good - if only it could be guaranteed that all the identified files are indeed outdated and unwanted. But, in the process of scanning the registry for entries that appear outdated, essential files are often identified as false positives are often accidentally deleted. Because it is central to your computer’s functioning, damaging the registry in this way could mean that you end up with a system that performs far worse than before, leaving many users disillusioned and even more frustrated.

There are loads of free registry cleaner software available online. Apart from being harmful to your system these programmes also pose the additional threat of secretly installing additional malware on your PC that can carry viruses, worms, spyware and more.