5 reasons why you need to dump your registry cleaner
In September, registry cleaners made their way into the mainstream news, and it wasn’t for a good reason...
CCleaner, one of the most popular registry cleaners currently available and owned by Avast Piriform, was found to be riddled with malware. Millions of downloads were suspected to be infected. Luckily the threat level was minimal as Avast announced it had managed to stop the breach from getting customers’ information.
However, the news brought up an important question. One that, given the popularity of the software, is considered quite controversial… Why are people still using registry cleaners?
Let’s take a closer look at the reasons and why exactly we think you should dump your registry cleaner if you are still using it.
What is a registry cleaner?
The registry is a place on your computer where details about your installed programs live. Essentially it is a database that stores configuration settings and options on your operating system. Some of these registry entries are critically important, while others are completely pointless.
Registry cleaners are supposed to help you with the latter. Specific to PCs (as Macs do not have registries) the idea behind software like CCleaner is that they fix “registry errors” (like the ones that supposedly cause crashes or blue screens) and also clean your system of junk that is slowing down your device or has the potential to corrupt or damage. The perceived result? Registry cleaners tell you that they can get your PC running more smoothly, and dubiously, more safely too.
Why don’t they work?
The truth is that cleaning your Windows registry will not speed up your computer, and, as the recent CCleaner malware infection shows, it could leave you much worse off.
In reality, there is no reason why you should have to streamline, optimise, defrag, compress, or clean your registry. Even Microsoft agrees.
In a statement, they wrote: “Microsoft does not support the use of registry cleaners. Some programs available for free on the Internet might contain spyware, adware, or viruses.”
Here are 5 reasons why using a registry cleaner is not necessary...
- Windows has set up an alert to tell you when you’re so low on Hard Disk Drive (HDD) space that it is affecting your PC’s performance. This utility will actually help you remove files that aren’t needed as well.
- Web browsers have come a long way in the last ten years, evolving into quicker and far more intelligent machines. Browser caches don’t need to be cleaned to make things run faster, in fact deleting the information from your Internet browser’s memory will just mean that data will have to be restored from scratch. Registry cleaners love to entice you to clear cache and cookies, but there isn’t really a performance-related reason for this.
- It can be difficult for individuals to understand what in the Windows registry is necessary and what isn’t. There’s a good chance you could delete critical components for one of your programs or necessary keys and then you’ll be a lot worse off. To really speed up a PC you would be much better off hiring an IT support provider to fine-tune your system properly.
- Even before the recent news of CCleaner being hacked, free registry cleaner programs were easy targets for those who wanted to install spyware or adware on your computer. Downloading the cleaner to speed up your PC could end up slowing it down even further. In a worst-case scenario, it could cause you to need a system restore. With so many different options available to consumers it can be difficult to know which ones are reputable. But ultimately, even the reputable ones are targets for viruses and malware.
- There are no legitimate benchmarks available to show how registry cleaners speed up systems. In fact, the evidence of this seems to be purely anecdotal. If registry cleaners did help then we should have benchmarks to review surely? Malwarebytes Lab believes that users who notice a difference may be suffering from a computer style ‘placebo effect’, and they advise against using them. More damningly, many of the programs meet the Malwarebytes’ Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) criteria, meaning if you’re under their protection you can’t access them anyway.
Is there any situation where a registry cleaner would help?
Perhaps if you had a decade old computer with minimal RAM and a very high record of uninstalling and reinstalling programs. In this case, a registry cleaner may reduce the size enough to improve performance.
But not many of us, especially those owning or working in small businesses, are still living in the time of Windows 95. The registry is a lot stronger now, containing hundreds of thousands of entries, which, individually, are quite tiny.
So, what if my PC is slowing down?
There are a number of ideas on how to speed up your PC on the web. Just Google and follow the guidance of a trusted source to see if you can improve things.
But if the do-it-yourself method doesn’t help then it’s time to bring in the IT professionals. With managed IT support, for example, you can get regular maintenance, malware and virus protection, and updates completed automatically, keeping your PCs working at their best.