Is your computer slowing down? Do you get error messages you don’t know what to do about? Have you tried everything short of installing a fresh operating system on your PC? Anybody who has gone through reformatting a system will tell you how tedious and time consuming that is – you need to back up your files, download a new set of drivers, and install a fresh copy of your OS. The easier way to take care of your Windows Registry is to get a registry cleaner. In case you’re on the fence about getting a registry cleaner, or just aren’t too knowledgeable about it, then read up on these facts about registry cleaners.
What is a registry cleaner?
To fully understand the importance of registry cleaners, you have to understand the importance of your Windows Registry. The Registry is a database where your Windows operating system puts system settings, device driver information, user profile information, and program information, among other important things. The Registry is accessed at start up and all throughout the computer’s operation. Entries are scanned, read, written, and deleted within the course of an hour, and this fast-paced and repetitive writing and deleting can lead to redundant entries on your Registry. Installing and uninstalling programs can also lead to unused, obsolete, and invalid entries.
Manually removing these entries is not recommended, since trying to find the errors is a monumental task in itself. Also, if you accidentally delete or alter an important entry, your system may become unstable, and in some cases, it won’t even boot properly (if at all).
A registry cleaner is basically software that scans your Windows Registry for redundant, unused and corrupted entries. The cleaner discerns the severity of each error and takes care of each accordingly. The regular use of a registry cleaner prevents your Registry from getting too cluttered, thus optimizing and protecting your system from error messages, slow boot times, and a build up of corrupted registry entries. A registry cleaner is a safer, more expedient way of getting your Registry in order.
Not all registry cleaners are made equal.
While registry cleaners are designed with good intentions – or at least with the intention of helping you perform housekeeping on your Windows registry, they are not created equal. There are a lot of registry cleaners out there, some from reputable software companies and others from start-up companies. There is some debate as to which is better, as established companies have more experience in making these types of programs. On the other hand, start-up companies, while lacking in the experience department, release their registry cleaners for free and tweak them according to user suggestions and comments.
Whether the registry cleaner came from a big software maker or small start-up company (or an individual programmer) may be an important factor when choosing a registry cleaner, though you should remember that efficacy doesn’t come with a big brand name. Remember too, that free programs aren’t always effective either. Do your research, and if possible, try out different registry cleaners to find one that works for you.
Dangers of poorly designed registry cleaners.
Registry cleaners can be well-made or poorly made. You can probably imagine the sort of problems that can be caused by a poorly made registry cleaner, as they can wreak all sorts of havoc in your system. Some registry cleaners aren’t really able to discern which entries are redundant and can’t gauge the severity of the errors. Needless to say, they may haphazardly remove entries that are essential to your system’s stability. This can prove to be problematic, not only because it’s counterproductive, but also because it can cause more harm than good to your PC.
Because of this underlying danger of using a registry cleaner (or specifically a poorly made one), you should be particularly careful when choosing a registry cleaner to ensure that you get a safe and reliable one.
Rogue software and scareware 101.
While we’re on the subject of bad registry cleaners, rogue software and scareware are the next things you should know about. Rogue software (sometimes referred to as rogueware) misleads and scares users into downloading and paying for a security program. In the case of registry cleaners, a website may display a pop up saying that your computer needs a scan. Clicking on the popup will lead you to another site that will perform an online scan on your computer. The online scan will then display several errors – most of which are false positives. The website will then suggest that you download and pay for their registry cleaner to clean out the errors the online scan found.
You know where this is going, yes? If you’re inexperienced with registry cleaners, you’d be concerned to see all the errors and may be concerned enough to shell out money for the cleaner the site suggested. Other than these scare tactics, rogue software can even just bypass you completely and install itself into your system. All things considered, you have to be wary of these kinds of things. You will need to do some legwork when looking for a registry cleaner, like check out reviews from users in websites and forums.
Corrupt registry recovery and backing up.
We’ve covered much about what bad registry cleaners can do to your system, but you might be asking how you can possibly recover from a corrupted Windows Registry. The first thing you should remember is to back up your Registry before you scan using a registry cleaner. You should actually make a back up before installing a program and before making changes to your Registry.
It’s pretty easy to make a back up of your Windows Registry. All you have to do is set up a system restore point and you’ll be able to go back to a previous state in case something goes wrong after a registry scan. Needless to say, knowing how to back up your Registry is a prerequisite to using a registry cleaner. Of course, some registry cleaners will automatically create a back up for you; this is definitely more expedient but to be safe, you need to do create your own back up.
One function vs. all-in-one bundles.
As mentioned above, registry cleaners are not made equal. Some registry cleaners are made with a single function, that is, to scan and clean your Registry. Others, on the other hand, offer other features like a defragmenter, an optimizer and a security scanner, on top of the scanning and cleaning. Again, there is some debate about this. Some say that standalone registry cleaners are better made since they are made to do one thing. Others, on the other hand, say that all-in-one programs offer more value for one’s money since they have all the things you need in one neat package.
Choosing between the two is really your call. Many reputable software companies offer registry cleaners in PC maintenance software bundles, while many start-up companies offer their software for free. Again, you will need to do your research about your choices.
Free trials are free for a reason.
You’ve probably seen a good number of free registry cleaners available online, and you’ve probably seen tons of free trial versions of paid ones. Free software is free for a reason. It can be that its makers are trying to make a name for themselves (like aforementioned start-up companies and individual programmers) or are trying to develop a product they can later sell. This may be a good or bad thing, as you may get software that’s safe and reliable without paying for a subscription or license. Free trial versions, on the other hand, are released so you can try out a program before shelling out money for it. The thing with registry cleaner free trials is, they will scan your PC Registry, display errors, and then fix only a number of the errors they find. If you want anything done beyond the limit, then you will need to pay for the software.
There you have it. Seven of the most essential things you will need to know about registry cleaners. In conclusion, you need to understand that a good registry cleaner is safe to use, you will need to make sure that you get your software from a reliable source. Also, don’t forget to back your Registry up. Your back up is your safety net, and you must always remember to have one before you walk the tightrope that is registry maintenance.