Registry Cleaners don't have the best reputation thanks to scareware products and advertisement that goes along with it.
The majority of programs promise that they improve performance, resolve errors and other issues, and improve the system's stability and while there may be edge cases were users may see a positive effect after cleaning the Registry, it usually does not have an effect on a running system.
That does not mean that users should not remove or correct invalid entries. The Windows Registry is loaded on system start for example and reducing its size and defragmenting it may have a positive effect on the startup time of the system.
Registry Recycler is a free program to scan, defrag and backup the Windows Registry. It is available as a portable application and installer.
The first thing you should do after starting the program is to use it to create a backup of the Registry. If you plan to run the scanner that is, as you can use restore the backup at a later point in time if you encounter issues after running the scan operation. Note that a backup is also created when you use the program to fix Registry errors.
You can also enable the creation of a System Restore point before repairs in the program settings.
Once that is out of the way you can start the scan of the Registry. The program scans the usual locations and for common issues that most Registry cleaners seem to look for (usually for invalid entries, e.g. entries that point to locations that don't exist anymore):
It displays the number of problems found after the scan for each group, and provides you with a list view that you can use to check each entry individually if you want. Considering that it may find thousands of problems it is safe to say that this can take a while.
The Registry location of each key is highlighted by the program. What it does not do is explain why it is a problem. There is also no option to quickly jump to the key with a double-click which means that you will have to open the Registry Editor manually to check .
You can use it to repair none, some or all of the issues found. Once that is out of the way you can head over to the defrag tool to analyze the fragmentation level.
Please note that you need to restart the computer for the defragmentation process to complete.
This may reduce the size of the Registry file on the system which in turn may speed up the startup of the system.
You will also find a startup management option which you can use to enable or disable the start of programs when Windows boots.
Running Registry Recycler won't fix any serious issues that you may experience when using your Windows PC. The biggest benefit is that you may be able to reduce the size of the Registry file using it and if that is what you want you should give it a go.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.