Putting Registry-/system-cleanup apps to the test

Fred langa 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.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2011-11-10:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.