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  • Windows 10 and Registry cleaners

    Posted on Rick Corbett Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Windows 10 and Registry cleaners

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      • #2240805 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        A question was asked in another thread about why registry cleaners were especially bad with Windows 10.

        Here’s a few reasons based on my own observations using the Registry Editor and TechNet/Sysinternal‘s Process Monitor over many years:

        If you look at Windows 10 registry (and file) read/writes using Process Monitor you’ll see almost continuous data events.

        IMO previous versions of Windows were just a tad more restrained about registry activity and tended to react specifically to user actions rather than just read/write continously. (Although file read/writes would often wait for user idle times before flushing to disk.)

        For example, data changes within the Windows 7 registry tended to be *either* system-wide (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE) *or* per user (HKEY_CURRENT_USER) but not usually both. Windows 8 changed that and these days that hive separation seems to have disappeared completely. Process Monitor shows that a change which theoretically should only affect the current user now also generates copious system-wide activity… and vice versa.

        Then there’s all the new stuff. Back in Win 7 days you could reasonably expect to find your own user settings stored somewhere in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\CurrentVersion and it was fairly simple. Where once a simple change might have resulted in a binary flip from 0 to 1 (or vice versa) to reflect a simple change state from OFF to ON (or back again), the registry now records *much* more (and the entries and data are increasingly more obfuscated [to deter tinkerers?]).

        The amount of information recorded in the registry has expanded exponentially, some of it to do with cloud-based content and default apps running in the background, all recorded faithfully in the registry (see CloudStore, ContentDeliveryManager and BackgroundAccessApplications under HKEY_CURRENT_USER as examples). There’s just bucketloads of new categories in both system and user hives.

        Then there’s changes made to ‘permissions management’ which all takes time to process and record (especially as more ‘Security’ sub-keys get added [specifically to deter tinkerers]).

        It all adds up to… there just isn’t a time when the registry is sat there quietly twiddling its thumbs thinking “I’m bored”. 🙂

        (A side effect is that it has become progressively more difficult [for tinkerers] to determine how changes, say within the ‘Settings’ app, are reflected in the registry with so much going on every single second.)

        Where it comes to registry cleaners, another side effect is that it becomes increasing more difficult to shovel potentially masses of registry deletes (by CCleaner or any other registry cleaner) without risk, especially when ‘permissions management’ varies between Win 7, Win 8 and now Win 10.

        IMO it’s no longer worth the risk that a tiny timing mis-event won’t ‘write’ and/or ‘delete’ when and where it shouldn’t.

      • #2240840 Reply
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        I’m still tinkerin’.  Working in the XP registry was fairly straightforward and not too difficult.  Windows 7 registry was a different nut to crack, but I finally found the seams.  It got still more difficult with Windows 8 registry, but I finally prevailed there, too.

        Windows 10 requires a more powerful set of tools, such as working as Trusted Installer.  Then there are those pesky UWP apps.  Their registry entries are another animal, such as

        HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\MrtCache\C:%5CProgram Files%5CWindowsApps%5CAD2F1837.HPPrinterControl_55.1.43.0_x86__v10z8vjag6ke6%5Cresources.pri with Value not set, and

        HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\MrtCache\C:%5CProgram Files%5CWindowsApps%5CMicrosoft.BingWeather_4.11.156.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe%5CMicrosoft.System.Package.Metadata%5CS-1-5-21-1800412173-3925437557-2795373322-1001-MergedResources-0.pri with Value not set, and

        HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-18-{ED1FC765-E35E-4C3D-BF15-2C2B11260CE4}-04122020152852792\Software\Classes\Local Settings\MrtCache\C:%5CProgram Files%5CWindowsApps%5CACMEAtronOmaticLLC.MyRadar_4.2.1.0_x64__hgk1kwjkxrdv0%5Cresources.pri with Value not set.

        And there is a prodigious number of such keys throughout the Windows 10 registry.  On the B side of my desktop dual boot, I have every program except for Office and the Windows Apps moved to a different logical drive on a different physical drive.  I’m still formulating a strategy for tackling those.  I’m getting closer, but I’m not there yet.

        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

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by bbearren.
        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2240848 Reply
        Bundaburra
        AskWoody Plus

        So if you uninstall a program using the REVO uninstaller, you should not allow it to find and delete any left over registry entries?

        Windows 10 Pro 64 bit 2004

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2240867 Reply
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          So if you uninstall a program using the REVO uninstaller, you should not allow it to find and delete any left over registry entries?

          By all means.  I use it to good effect.

          On the other hand, for uninstalling Apps, I use BCUninstaller.  Both programs are excellent.  I never use Windows for uninstalling anything.

          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

          7 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2240870 Reply
            Rick Corbett
            AskWoody_MVP

            On the other hand, for uninstalling Apps, I use BCUninstaller.

            @bbearen – Many thanks for the info. I like GeekUninstaller but couldn’t justify the cost of the Pro version which allows batch automation. I’ll be giving BCUninstaller‘s automation a go.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2240916 Reply
            RetiredGeek
            AskWoody MVP

            I’ve used Revo Pro for years and never had a problem, JLIG. That said, I use Revo to Install programs. That way it records all the registry & file changes it makes allowing the uninstall process to reverse what it did in the first place.

            HTH :cheers:

            May the Forces of good computing be with you!

            RG

            PowerShell & VBA Rule!
            Computer Specs

            4 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2240938 Reply
              wavy
              AskWoody Plus

              Yes Yes try to remember to use your uninstaller to Install!!

              🍻

              Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
            • #2263552 Reply
              anonymous
              Guest

              Thank you.  RevoUninstaller is worth every penny!

              As mentioned by someone else,  one just needs to invoke Revo when installing anything!  [Pity, that Microsoft doesn’t keep track of installs so that its “uninstall” feature would truly work.]

              1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2240849 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Because of personal preference when it comes to the choice of OS, I am not familiar with Windows 10 in general and with its way of handling the registry in particular. Even so, perhaps there is one bit of personal knowledge I might be able to contribute here:

        Throughout the years when Windows was my only operating system: Win 28, XP and 7, my constant position, pondering the preponderance of advice on the matter, both read on line or discussed with people I trusted to know what they were talking about, was: Don’t “clean” the registry with some 3rd party application and, preferably, leave it well alone”. I have hold fast to the “leave it well alone” principle, except when I needed to change something there for some personal reason that had nothing to do with good registry hygiene. Otherwise, I would let the register get as fragmented and dirty as it pleased, and never have had a “registry” problem that I’ve noticed. That does not mean I haven’t had any registry problems, only that I’ve never noticed them. If so, then ignorance has  truly been bliss.

        From the previous comments here, it would seem that Win 10, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, is a version of Windows that might really need a registry-cleanup intervention now and then.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by OscarCP.
      • #2240858 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        So if you uninstall a program using the REVO uninstaller, you should not allow it to find and delete any left over registry entries?

        It’s been years since I had anything to do with creating/testing MSI installers. These are program installers based on the Microsoft Installer – an ‘engine’ to carry out the installation mechanics and linked database to record what was done (and where). Basically MSI-based apps keep a record of registry locations in tables that are created during the MSI-creation  process. Uninstallers read these MSI tables to know exactly what to remove.

        I retired before UWP apps came on the scene but I understand that they use a different mechanism. They appararently store this record of registry location data in a per-app registry hive called settings.dat installed into each UWP’s application data folder.

        So, although the MSI vs UWP mechanisms are different, uninstallers can read *exactly* what went in and therefore *exactly* what needs to come out again.

        Unfortunately we’ve probably all heard of badly written installers which have not been checked for complete uninstallation… but that’s not the fault of the uninstallers, which rely solely on the installation method recording the registry locations accurately.

        (As the age-old rule states… Garbage In, Garbage Out. This used to be part of the peer review process… double-checking the work of other app developers that they hadn’t forgotten something, particularly when they were making manual changes to registry tables of MSI installers.)

        However, the worst that would normally happen is one or more registry entries would be left behind, almost always within sub-keys of the app’s main registry entry point. As such, they were relatively easy to pick up on, and this is what uninstallers like Revo and GeekUninstaller do… they check an app’s main registry entry points for leftovers. As a result I personally have a medium-high degree of confidence that removing these leftovers won’t cause damage. Hopefully that answers your question.

        Note that this is *very* different from a second category of registry cleaning, i.e. where the ‘cleaner’ basically takes a ‘best guess’ at what it thinks are orphaned or ‘broken’ registry entries and presents you with a substantial list (often from within HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT) and asks whether you want to ‘Fix selected issues’, quite separate from uninstallations which (usually) rely on known locations.

        Whilst I’ve been lucky enough never to have been caught out, it’s this second category of ‘guesstimates’ which, IMO, are the most risky and which I now avoid carrying out. It’s all too easy to end up with a Windows install which, as an example, suddenly no longer knows how to handle different filetypes (like .txt or .bmp) or – worse – has no idea what an executable file looks like.

        Hope this helps…

        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2240868 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Cleaning out unused entries is pointless IMO. The registry is really just a database and Windows doesn’t need to read redundant data to get to the bits it wants – even if it did the size of the extra data is tiny compared to the registry itself – so you are not saving any time or space.

        cheers, Paul

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2263464 Reply
        agoldhammer
        AskWoody Plus

        I’m of the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ school.  From the Win3.1 days to Win10, I’ve never had a lot of programs on my workstation.  When I’ve moved on to a new Win version, it’s always a clean installation of the OS followed by the applications and the same goes when I do a new computer build every four years or so.  As I do not try out lots of applications which would require installs and removals, I’m assuming the registry is pretty clean.  Certainly I’ve not seen any instability over the past 10 years starting with Win7.  One think I’ve found useful is to have separate OS and data drives and make sure the OS drive is 5 times the size of the Win OS (currently I’m running a 500 GB SSD).  Whether this makes a difference or not is uncertain, the price of drive storage is less expensive these days.

      • #2263777 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Even with Windows 10, after 5 years the registry gets so bloated, Windows comes to a crawl or in my case just stops working completely. Format C:\*.* and he a fresh install is the only answer to registry bloat.

      • #2263790 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Even with Windows 10, after 5 years the registry gets so bloated

        Even with Windows 35 years Microsoft is still incapable to properly uninstall software and hardware and remove everything connected like files, system entries, registry entries…

        • #2263863 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Because it does not (cannot reasonably be expected to) monitor every action of every program to determine what to remove with an uninstall.

          cheers, Paul

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2263891 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        Microsoft is still incapable to properly uninstall software

        The way I see it, it’s *not* Microsoft’s responsibility for Windows to properly uninstall software unless the software was developed inhouse by Microsoft itself. It’s a classic Garbage In-Garbage Out situation. IMO, ultimately it is the software developers’ responsibility to ensure correct installation and un-installation. Whilst the OS may provide the end-users’ installation/uninstallation mechanism (the road), software developers don’t use the OS to build the installer packages (the car). IMO you can’t blame the road for the car.

        In the organisation I worked for it was common practice for the developers to rely solely on ‘snapshotting’ to automate the build of MSI tables that recorded what went in… and therefore had to come out again in the event of an uninstall.

        In the event of a minor code change (of which there were often many as a result of “can you add this, can you add that”), equally common practice was for the developers to quickly carry out a manual amend of the MSI tables before rebuilding the installer package rather than go to the trouble of setting up a new, clean ‘snapshot’ environment for every single minor code edit.

        Mistakes were invariably made, such was the pressure of getting code out the door… most of which were picked up by code review by less-skilled (and much cheaper) non-developers whose job it was – amongst other things – to check that uninstalls were effective.

        You can guess what happened when cost-cutting removed the expense of the code reviewers in favour of increasing the number of developers in order to hit bigger code development targets in shorter timeframes… uninstall routines just stopped being checked.

        None of this was down to the end-users’ OS, which just happened to be successive iterations of Windows. It could have been any OS.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2263988 Reply
        uncle bill
        AskWoody Lounger

        Until reading this forum I had no idea that registry cleaners and windows 10 might not be the perfect partners. Put me in the ignorance is bliss category!

        I have been doing cleaning for 20 years or more. Currently using jv16 power tools by macecraft software(recommended by Langa), Glary Utilities, and BoostSpeed by Auslogics. I am technical enough to be dangerous and do not want to know everything that’s under the hood. All I’m looking for here is what’s wrong with doing the cleaning? Can I really hurt anything? And if I don’t clean how else can I correct things and/or improve performance?

        Most of you are no doubt much more under the hood guys and I respect that. That’s why I read, although may not understand all that is offered. Grateful for your contributions! Keep up the good work!

         

         

        • #2264019 Reply
          Zig
          AskWoody Plus

          IIRC, Fred Langa found that Windows ran more slowly after jv16 registry cleaning.

          Zig

      • #2263993 Reply
        WSJCitizen
        AskWoody Lounger

        Every since CCleaner was bought out by Avast, I have trouble recommending it anymore accept for the fact that the regular file cleaner is the only one I know that removes LSOs, and Zombie files. If anyone knows of one with that feature, I’d be glad to switch, because Avast is ruining CCleaner so thoroughly that I was forced to use an old installer file for it, in my downloads folder dating back to 2015 – apparently when Piriform still owned it.

        However I am constantly fighting people who say a registry cleaner is totally non-sequitur, and I vigorously oppose that view and hear is why:  You never really need it until some misbehaving installer/uninstaller damages the system bad enough to cause noticeable performance problems or causes updates to applications not to work anymore. It has never failed, that if such events occur, I can run the CCleaner registry tool recursively until all errors are cleaned out. and VOILA – I can now install the latest variant of the said application I am having trouble with. This is a rare event with me since I use Revo Unistaller, but none-the-less, problems crop up maybe once every two years or so. Yes, that is the only time I use the registry cleaner – maybe once every two years or so!! I also back up the registry each time just in case something happens, and I’ve NEVER had to recover from a registry backup!! I still think it is good insurance though.

        Once again I’d like to mention that the regular file cleaner is more than useful enough. When I used to run my honeypot lab, I had a lot of experience fighting malware, and discovered, that as long as you are logged in as a “standard” user, you can recover from a malware attempt to attack, by simply closing all browsers and applications, and running the file cleaner. There has never been a time I’ve not been able to flush the attack package from the PC using this method – a reboot helps too, because then the malware can’t survive in RAM that way. Now of course CCleaner will NOT help if you are fooled into allowing a UAC event, that you thought was something else when it was actually the malware looking for permission to install. Even I was fooled by this once, because the malware waited until I opened an application I was about to use, and I thought it was the auto update mechanism of that application that was requesting permission. Always read the UAC prompt to see what is trying to gain access, before allowing any event like that.

      • #2264015 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        cannot reasonably be expected to

        Yes, it should reasonably log all new files created by the installer and all drivers installed by adding new hardware, and remove them all.
        If the miniature portable Geekuninstaller(and many other 3rd party apps) can do it, so should the mighty Microsoft.

      • #2264223 Reply
        Steve S.
        AskWoody Plus

        I used to use CCleaner to both clean the left-overs and to occasionally clean the registry, but I would only clean the registry of things I knew were clearly safe to delete. If in doubt, I didn’t touch it. Now I use CCleaner primarily only to control cookies, cache, etc. I haven’t used it as a registry cleaner for ages. (By the way, I have firewall rules preventing all CCleaner “.exe” files from any access to the internet!) I now feel the risks of an overall registry cleaning are just too high with routine use.

        I’ve been a very satisfied user of Revo Uninstaller for years. I DO use it at its most aggressive setting but I review each and every entry it finds left over by the application uninstaller. I don’t delete anything until and unless I fully understand what each item is. Trust But Verify. 😉

        Win7 Pro x64(Group B), Win10 Pro x64 1909, Win10 Home 1909, Linux Mint + a cat with 'tortitude'.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2264262 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        From many years of use, I have come to trust both Revo Uninstaller and CCleaner to do their jobs well.

        Revo does a good job of finding useless files and registry info left over from a faulty uninstall, which are many because either the software developer(s) does not care or because the whole Windows registry is a massive house of cards with inordinately complex rules for programs that need registry entries.  I’ll go with the latter, because the rhyme or reason of many registry entries is baffling to me.

        CCleaner does a decent job of removing registry entries no longer used, and also useless files, whether %temp% or browser cache.  Why would one care about getting rid of registry entries?   Registry bloat does slow down a system, especially one with Windows installed on an old-time hard drive.  I am very careful about cookies, because “good” cookies help one to maintain a dialog with frequently used web sites, e.g. eBay, Amazon and other places where you buy stuff.  Instead of getting rid of all cookies, I delete some, especially for those web site that count the number times you’ve used them, then ask you to pay to use the web site.  Examples: newspapers and the website whitepages.com.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2264285 Reply
        ScotchJohn
        AskWoody Plus

        I am very careful about cookies, because “good” cookies help one to maintain a dialog with frequently used web sites, e.g. eBay, Amazon and other places where you buy stuff. Instead of getting rid of all cookies, I delete some, especially for those web site that count the number times you’ve used them, then ask you to pay to use the web site. Examples: newspapers and the website whitepages.com.

        I recommend the Firefox add-in CookieQuickManager which enables you to protect what you call “good” cookies, those that identify you to a website and make your visit there easier.  For me, then, CookieAutoDelete deals with all the rest, does what it says on the box.

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

      • #2264311 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I use CCleaner all the time on the Win 10 registry.  Been doing so for years with every version of Windows ever.

        I think I one issue over the years, and fixed that by walking back to the backup copy of the registry CCleaner always prompts me to make before cleaning the registry.  I mean really why leave a file association for some ditzy program I uninstalled there?  Thats mostly what I see leftovers from uninstalls like paths and such.  Tried some of those fancy uninstallers, and frankly they all are bloated with stuff I never use.

        Windows has always been flaky and prone to self destruct every now and then, don’t go blaming cleaning up old path and file association entries for the always built in instability of Windows.

      • #2264555 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        All I’m looking for here is what’s wrong with doing the cleaning?

        Nothing is wrong with cleaning, but if you don’t know what you are cleaning it may be better not to clean.

        Unused registry entries are just that, unused, unless they are loading things that should have been removed when you uninstalled a program. There is no guarantee that a cleaner will find those entries, so your cleaner may be doing nothing more than giving you a warm fuzzy feeling.

        Monitor your disk space, backup your system regularly and leave Windows to do its thing is the safest, anything else is personal preference.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2264643 Reply
        geekdom
        AskWoody Plus

        Someday, you may need to use the registry editor. If you play with registry cleaners, your desired registry edit may not work as intended; for that matter, if you use registry cleaners, your updates may not work as intended either.

        G{ot backup} TestBeta
        offline▸ Win7Pro SP1 x64 Storage
        online▸ Win10Pro 1909.18363.900 x64 i5-9400 RAM8GB HDD Firefox79.0b3 Windows{Image/Defender/Firewall}
      • #2264646 Reply
        BigBadSteve
        AskWoody Plus

        Paul T said it: Deleting old, dud registry entries will in almost all cases, even when Windows has been installed for years and had many programs installed and uninstalled, do nothing. We’re talking tiny, tiny fractions of a second for any registry read/write. Given those speeds, Windows (or other programs accessing the registry, both Microsoft and third party), are certainly not reading the registry serially. All large databases afaik, except those designed by programmers with almost no knowledge of file structure and little common-sense, use indexed-sequential files. That means that binary chops are used initially to find an entry… the same way you used to open a phone book in the middle, then ‘cut’ to halfway through the first or second half, as applicable, and so on…. a helluva lot faster than looking for e.g. Mr Smith by flicking through all pages one by one from the beginning of the book!

        And in almost all cases, the old, dud registry entries aren’t accessed at all – they used to be accessed by the program that created them, but the program has since been uninstalled, with an improperly tested or lazily coded uninstaller that left remnants.

        In occasional cases, which many users will never encounter, a remnant has a bad effect on the system, in a variety of possible ways. One I’ve seen is where files of specific types (say, .doc, .rtf or .mp3, for example’s sake) are opened by more than one program. A poorly written uninstaller might bollix the file associations, making the file unopenable by your other program(s) that you want opening them.

        A registry cleaner just might, and in some cases, does fix this and other problems… but it can also make things worse, adding one problem on top of another. This is because no registry cleaner is aware of the almost infinite number of possible way keys and values can be written to the registry, e.g. unexpected concatenation types, extremely lengthy strings. So, entries that were actually OK and necessary are ‘cleaned’ by the registry cleaner. Oops! CCleaner got a few items like this wrong last time I ran it, so I just added those registry items to the ignore list. The better registry cleaners, like CCleaner, always give you the delete/keep option for each entry listed. Never run any sort of ‘clean everything’ or ‘fix everything’ option (CCleaner has at least one).

        I’m a card-carrying Windows geek, and in fact coined the saying, “Real Windows geeks never reimage… they edit registries.” So, I do run CCleaner every now and then, with confidence. I only use it, not one of the many dodgy registry cleaners that scam users by massively exaggerating the number of items to be cleaned (“1,546 bad registry items! YOUR SYSTEM IS SLOW!), or in the worst cases, installing malware. (Hint for noobs: If you saw a program touted in a forwarded email or via an ad on a webpage, never download it!!!)

        Yeah CCleaner free version can be an increasing, royal pain with all the ‘Upgrade!’ popups and ads for other software. There are ‘ways’ to decrease the annoyance (not by cracks which contain who knows what), but they require some time overhead and this isn’t the place to discuss them. I eventually bit the bullet and bought CCleaner recently after years of free version use, it was a package deal with other programs and IMO not excessively expensive, and I was swayed by an AskWoody newsletter item that mentioned many a good software vendor has gone bust, so it’s good to subscribe to support them so updates are ensured. Albeit rather reluctantly in my case since like many I don’t appreciate the software manufacturer’s ‘social engineering’.

        You can update CCleaner’s Custom Clean applications list using SingularLabs’ CCEnhancer. CCleaner’s life can be extended this way alone for years, for no cost, making CCleaner ‘keep up’ with changes in new program versions, and with popular programs. Without having to worry about what new nags might be in each new CCleaner version (you get some even with the pay version!). CCleaner with CCEnhancer assist even handles cleaning dozens of less popular programs, e.g. Firefox variants like Waterfox. (Waterfox btw is a must browser IMO if you want to always be able to run old webpages (and archived webpages) containing critical Flash, Java etc. and use old Firefox extensions, all still available, many of which are far more powerful than the current ones since Mozilla dumbed down Firefox.)

        I never delete everything in the CCleaner list, and rarely immediately. For almost all registry items listed, I work out what program installed that item, sometimes by using Nirsoft’s free RegScanner and Agent Ransack to find out what other registry items / folders / files were created at the same time, sometimes using Nirsoft’s UserAssistView to work out what program was run about installation time. And using other tools. (Bless Nirsoft!!)

        I ran CCleaner yesterday, did the above, and deleted maybe 30 of 200 items. The rest of the items, I’m guesstimating, look like they will never cause any trouble. Some I will never delete, e.g. any item created by Windows itself. For instance, what if it’s a feature that I might want to reinstall using Windows’ Programs and Features one day, but, say, reinstalling the feature doesn’t install the registry items because they exist after a default Windows 10 installation, so why bother (a programmer of the feature installer might have thought… some sadly do think/work as badly as that, and not just at Microsoft, blame slave driving bosses in some cases).

        So yeah, for noobs (sorry, non-deep-geeks), the common wisdom to not clean the registry at all is good advice. And if you must, check each item and become very familiar with the categories (e.g. ‘Unused File Types’ can generally be deleted with impunity). And if you do all but the most careful clean (whereby hopefully you’ll learn a few things about the registry), expect something to maybe break in a way a second registry clean won’t fix. So do a full partition backup no more than a few hours before registry cleaning. (You don’t know if your backup is of the full partition variety or not? You’ve never tested it actually worked, so that you can access your files from it? Go learn/test, and don’t registry clean for maybe a year or five!) Setting a System Restore Point is also vital too, be glad you didn’t hear the language when I forgot to do that this week and spent like 5 hours manually registry editing to fix the mess I’d made (which was actually from too enthusiastic manual registry editing/cleaning in this case).

        If a registry clean happens to screw up your system badly, and you don’t have a geek friend you can butter up/pay/bribe to fix it, maybe you’ll have to pay a pro to fix it… maybe you should have paid them first… it’s not for me to judge, and I take no responsibility for any of the suggestions here causing problems… most registry cleaning/editing is not for the noob or faint of heart.

        I tend to get into far more trouble with lengthy manual registry editing than CCleaner, and do hose some part of my system about one in every thirty multi-hour cleaning sessions, but hey I’m a perfectionist and as I said almost always do the proper backups first so it’s recoverable… and I learn from my mistakes. I also so pre-clean registry backups with Tweaking.com’s Registry Backup, which like all the programs I mention here is free (some have pay/free versions). I also use the free version of Registrar Registry Manager extensively for registry searches and editing (in no way is it for the novice… and geeks beware, everything before the current version hoses multivalues, I don’t know about the current version, not prepared to use a ‘.0 version of anything… always use Regedit for multivalues and even then watch out for the PendingFileRenameOperations value!!! [Go Google to find out why or ask me]).

        OK I’ve just about written a flamin’ article here, so I won’t talk about registry compacting freeware, of which I know two programs by reputable manufacturers. I haven’t been game to try a registry compacter since XP days, though I ran one on Win10 and it told me how much I could compress the registry if I ran it… like a mere 5% even though I’ve done plenty of program installations, uninstallations, and upgrades over the years… so I haven’t bothered. Registry compacters, if they’re properly coded and run according to instructions, don’t delete any registry keys, they compact by other methods I won’t go into here. If anyone wants to know more about them, let me know here, and preferably also send me a heads-up message, and I’ll post details here, maybe as a new thread.

        Asus N53SM & N53SN 64-bit laptops (Win7 Pro & Win10 Pro 64-bit multiboots), venerable HP Pavilion t760 32-bit desktop (XP & Win7 Pro multiboot), Oracle VirtualBox VM's: XP & Win7 32-bit, XP Mode, aged Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2019s (8" & 10.1"), Blu-ray burners, digital cameras, ext. HDDs (latest 5TB!), AnyDVD, Easeus ToDo Backup Home, Waterfox, more. Me: Aussie card-carrying Windows geek.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Kirsty.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by woody. Reason: Re-posted text, as emailed to me
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