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  • Why does Windows still generate registry junk?

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Why does Windows still generate registry junk?

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      • #2312142 Reply
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        LANGALIST By Fred Langa And why does Win10 still not have a built-in tool for deleting dead, empty, obsolete, or useless registry data? Win10 has capa
        [See the full post at: Why does Windows still generate registry junk?]

        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2312174 Reply
        NetDef
        AskWoody_MVP

        netdefsscore11152020

        I am . . . disappointed.  That — or they are wrong on the correct answer for one question.

        Leaning towards the latter.

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        Attachments:
        • #2312188 Reply
          Alex5723
          AskWoody Plus

          I am blocked from accessing the test site from my country.

          • #2312199 Reply
            E Pericoloso Sporgersi
            AskWoody Plus

            I was refused connection to the free test by the Covered Security site from my location.

            I switched on my VPN and had it connect me through a VPN-server located in the US.

            I could then access and run Covered Security’s test. (My score was 788)


            • #2312213 Reply
              SteveTetch
              AskWoody Plus

              Blocked from the UK,  too.  “The Amazon CloudFront distribution is configured to block access from your country.

              Changed my VPN to appear to connect from Texas and I was able to access.

              Thanks, though, Fred.  Good article.

              Regards,

              Steve

          • #2312226 Reply
            Chris B
            AskWoody Plus

            I am blocked from the UK as well. Thank you Amazon Cloud. I’ll remember that when you want to sell me something!

            Chris
            Win 10 Pro x64 Group A

            • #2312547 Reply
              LH
              AskWoody Plus

              Australia blocked too.

      • #2312177 Reply
        Fred
        AskWoody Plus

        A long time ago I had the bitter experience that Microsoft tends (tended?) to set registry keys that Windows would need anyway when installing software that Ms would like you to install, f.i. MsOffice. Once wiped these (sleeping) (obsolete) keys , one never ever could get a later installed software like Office to run for 100pct. So after that I only use very carefully CCleaner, staying far from cleaning that is not good traceable.

        Nowadays Ccleaner is phoning home sending telemetry (and whatever more?). Use the firewall to stop to send unsollicitated moments.

         

        ~ ~ ~
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2312178 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Nowadays Ccleaner is phoning home sending telemetry (and whatever more?). Use the firewall to stop to send unsollicitated moments.

        Use the portable ccPortable instead.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2312218 Reply
        ScotchJohn
        AskWoody Plus

        Windows doesn’t only generate loads of registry junk, it also leaves folders full of of install files from several installations ago, and that’s not the rollback folder from the OS updates. A good example is: \windows\servicing\LCU\Package_for_rollupFix~[string of numbers and letters]  Every rollupfix leaves over 0.5 GB of stuff here, and Windows Disk Clean-up doesn’t touch this one.  This is where TreeSize is so useful, showing disk space hogs.

        The other, of course, is WinSxS, but I have not ventured there, as I understand the potential for screwing up.  But, I wish that I understood better what all those 14,000+ folders (nearly 10,000 of which from a year ago) were doing there, and whether they have a current function.

        Dell E5570 Latitude, Intel Core i5 6440@2.60 GHz, 8.00 GB - Win 10 Pro

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2312264 Reply
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          The other, of course, is WinSxS, but I have not ventured there, as I understand the potential for screwing up.

          Use the DISM tool to compress WinSxS.  Open an elevated command prompt, use this command:

          dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup /resetbase

          And outdated/useless entries in WinSxS will be removed safely.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

          5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2312263 Reply
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        And why does Win10 still not have a built-in tool for deleting dead, empty, obsolete, or useless registry data?

        Largely because it is not necessary.  The registry is nothing more than a glorified database, and as such, dead, empty, obsolete or useless registry data is not accessed, and has no affect on Windows performance.

        The closest thing to a “registry cleaner” I use is Revo Uninstaller Pro’s Advanced scan whenever I uninstall a program.

        Windows 10 Registry Size, Number of Keys, Values has a decent explanation of the registry and how it is accessed by Windows and apps/programs.

        Malwarebytes Labs has this to say about “registry cleaners”:

        “Why would you need to clean it?

        This is where we get to the heart of the problem. Many users swear by the performance differences they have experienced before and after running these types of programs.
        We believe that this is mostly due to a computer version of the placebo effect. You watch the progress bar. The little lego blocks get stacked neatly. You get a report showing everything that is repaired… It’s all very satisfying.
        All this makes what we are about to say very problematic. It might even make some readers angry…
        Registry Cleaners are the digital equivalent of snake oil!
        Snake oil is an expression that has come to refer any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit.
        You should not have to optimize, defragment, organize, streamline, clean, compress, fold, knit, wash, or color code your registry. Ever. Period. Nada. Zilch.
        The potential performance enhancements resulting in the use of these programs are at best miniscule and unperceivable.
        At worst, they could damage your computer so badly as to require a re-installation of the operating system.”

        “This is what Microsoft has to say about registry cleaners:

        Microsoft does not support the use of registry cleaners. Some programs available for free on the internet might contain spyware, adware, or viruses. If you decide to install a registry cleaning utility, be sure to research the product and only download and install programs from publishers that you trust. For more information, see when to trust a software publisher.

        Microsoft is not responsible for issues caused by using a registry cleaning utility. We strongly recommend that you only change values in the registry that you understand or have been instructed to change by a source you trust, and that you back up the registry before making any changes.
        Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the use of a registry cleaning utility can be solved. Issues caused by these utilities may not be repairable and lost data may not be recoverable.

        Before you modify the registry, make sure you back it up, create a restore point, and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs.”

        Here is a simple way to consider the use of the registry.  You have a shortcut icon on your desktop to launch a program.  The shortcut is in reality the full pathname to that program’s executable.  Double-click the icon, the program launches—no search involved.  Whatever registry keys/entries/values that are associated with that program are accessed via Windows API’s using the registry key/entry/value’s full pathname, just like your desktop shortcut—no search involved.

        In other words, the registry is not “searched” for the appropriate keys/entries/values, those are called directly.  It doesn’t matter how many deadends there are in the registry, how much detritus is in the registry, how many obsolete entries are in the registry, because there is no search performed for the pertinent keys/entries/values.  They are accessed via shortcut.

        So the answer to, “Why does Win10 still not have a built-in tool for deleting dead, empty, obsolete, or useless registry data?”  Because such a tool is unnecessary.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2312277 Reply
          Still Anonymous
          AskWoody Lounger

          Glad to see that somebody else takes the same approach I do.

          Use Revo (even the free version) to get rid of as much junk as possible when uninstalling stuff, and then ignore the rest.

          I’m firmly convinced that tools that do bulk interaction with the registry are more likely to cause problems than solve them.  The registry is just too fragile for anybody to master.  The advantage that a tool like Revo has is that it can monitor uninstalls and see the context of registry entries.

          Even for something like CCleaner, whose approach is historically conservative, the effect of cleaning is pretty much cosmetic, and won’t do anything to enhance system performance or stability.

          Registry cleaners, defraggers and compressors may have been necessary in the days of Windows XP (and earlier) when Windows was far less stable, and available memory, disk space and overall system performance were only a fraction of what’s commonly available now.  But those are tools whose need went away when Vista was released.

      • #2312274 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        ? says:

        very cool bbearren! i have not run win10 so i’m asking if in addition to the cleanup option “dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup /resetbase,” does the user have the option “DISM.exe /Online /English /Get-Features /Format:Table,” in conjunction with “DISM.exe /Online /Disable-Feature /featurename:NAME /Remove” available? also, i personally visited win registries (looking for malware and snooping) and “cleaned,” win registries regularly because i’m somewhat of a “neat-freak.” anyway thank you for the great information on enhanced housekeeping winSxS (in versions 8 and newer.)

        see:

        https://www.howtogeek.com/174705/how-to-reduce-the-size-of-your-winsxs-folder-on-windows-7-or-8/

        • #2312479 Reply
          b
          AskWoody Plus

          i have not run win10 so i’m asking if in addition to the cleanup option “dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup /resetbase,” does the user have the option “DISM.exe /Online /English /Get-Features /Format:Table,” in conjunction with “DISM.exe /Online /Disable-Feature /featurename:NAME /Remove” available?

          Yes.

      • #2312399 Reply
        WarningU2
        AskWoody Plus

        I feel that JV16 PowerTools is getting a bad rep here with Fred’s article.  I’ve been using it since Fred said it was one of the better tools for maintaining your PC.   Actually bought a lifetime license which I don’t regret.   The latest version is quite safe.   It provides the ability to take a restore point prior to any action.   The registry cleaner is customizable to be very aggressive (not recommended) or just to clean the junk.   I’ve not taken benchmarks but my perception, after running the system cleaner,  is that my PC starts faster.   But JV16 PowerTools is more than just a registry cleaner.   It comes with several other utilities which include a file finder, duplicate file finder,  internet optimizer and software uninstaller to name a few.   All of which work very well.

        jv16

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      • #2312616 Reply
        WSaltamirano
        AskWoody Lounger

        I use Registry First Aid. It is not free but it is good and it is not a “Mickey Mouse” registry

        cleaner. I never screwed up a registry and yes, it speeds up the PC.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2312659 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          We want to see your test data before we’ll agree that it speeds up the PC. “It feels faster” isn’t enough. 🙂

          cheers, Paul

      • #2313280 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Seriously?  Registry cleaning?  Any garbage in the registry occupies a miniscule amount of space and is not worth considering.  Registy cleaning has been discussed thousand of times in the past 20+ years, and claims of it improving performance have NEVER been proven.  Additionally, if you are concerned about trash in the registry, tell the application developers to provide better uninstall or cleanup tools.

        Microsoft, long ago, provided a free registry cleaner and advocated this ridiculous practice:  https://web.archive.org/web/20070206051302/http://onecare.live.com/site/en-US/article/registry_cleaner_why.htm

        But, they later learned the error of their ways, and now say:  https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2563254/microsoft-support-policy-for-the-use-of-registry-cleaning-utilities

        Microsoft is correct – registry cleaning causes more problems than it is worth.  Tracking a problem with an app that was caused by registry cleaning months earlier? Maybe Fred can estimate the cost of such efforts, all to save a couple of thousand bytes.  You will get better performance on your PC by changing the air in your tyres.

      • #2313953 Reply
        WarningU2
        AskWoody Plus

        Guess we’ll have to just agree to disagree on this one Paul T and anonymous.

         

      • #2315668 Reply
        ScotchJohn
        AskWoody Plus

        Use the DISM tool to compress WinSxS. Open an elevated command prompt, use this command: dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup /resetbase And outdated/useless entries in WinSxS will be removed safely.

        Thanks, it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get round to this.  You know what it’s like when you have so much time to spare.

        I ran the commands that you suggested, but could see relatively little effect on the number of entries in this folder, or on the free space available on this drive.  I could have been a bit more scientific about, noting the exact number of files and the space that they occupied, before and after.  But I did not.

        Thanks again for the suggestion.

        Dell E5570 Latitude, Intel Core i5 6440@2.60 GHz, 8.00 GB - Win 10 Pro

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2315709 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        I ran the commands that you suggested, but could see relatively little effect on the number of entries in this folder, or on the free space available on this drive.

        See an example of running DISM on my Windows 10 Pro

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