By Fred Langa
The most contentious software category has to be PC-system/Registry cleaners. Some users find them invaluable; other users consider them worse than useless.
A series of controlled experiments puts these apps to the test — and turns up some surprises.
Many Windows programs are still sloppy about their uninstall process, leaving behind digital debris. In older versions of Windows, this situation was a known cause of trouble.
Leftover, “orphaned” files waste space on your hard drive and create extra work for Windows when it performs indexing, searching, defragging, backups, or other file-related operations.
Leftover Registry entries similarly inflate the Registry — to no useful purpose. Erroneous Registry entries can create system instabilities and crashes, and a bloated Registry might needlessly slow down system startup and shutdown.