The Registry is a complex and often mysterious part of the Windows operating system containing more than 3 million items on a clean installation which can easily double over time. It is also an integral and critical part of the operating system containing settings, options, and information for all the software and hardware included in your PC. The question of whether or not to clean the Registry has been actively debated for many years but the consensus among experts today is that the Registry should be left alone.
Registry cleaning software will claim that cleaning the registry will help increase speed and stability – no, it won’t. Orphaned, or leftover, registry entries are dormant, inactive, and as such, are not impacting the system at all. Now, some users might say they use CCleaner to clean the Registry as it is known to be safe. While there is an element of truth to that, the reason behind CCleaner’s safety factor is that it does not clean very deeply or aggressively. In other words, it’s merely brushing the surface, so why bother?
One of the most common causes of leftover/orphaned registry entries is through uninstalling software. Windows native uninstaller has always been less than ideal in that regard. There are two ways in which you can limit the number of remnants left over following an uninstall:
- Use one of the free third-party uninstallers, such as Hibit, Geek, or Revo, which will scan for, identify, and remove remnants
- Use portable software wherever possible. Portable software is self-contained within its own folder and does not create any Registry entries
Rule of thumb – hundreds of orphaned/leftover Registry items will have no negative impact on system speed or performance whatsoever BUT just one missing critical registry entry can, and almost certainly will, seriously break the operating system.
Do you clean the Registry?