The major reasons (IMO) for discouraging users from using registry cleaners:
a. Users usually don't bother to familiarize themselves with a complex program (they don't RTFM) and want someone to blame when they sabotage their own systems.
b. Various programs which claim to be registry cleaners...well, they don't really inform users about changes and the why...and items which are vital to Windows performing properly...may be deleted because of "cleaner" inaccuracies, much in the same manner that many a user decides to clean house on the system (e.g., eliminate duplicate files) and don't realize that multiple copies of a given file may be required for the system and installed programs to function effectively.
A program looks in a given location for a file. If that file is not in that location, a program doesn't do a search of the system for duplicates which might be installed...it just malperforms.
c. If users really want to edit the registry, they can always use the XP tool...after familiarizing themselves with what the registry is, how it's set up, etc. They also always need to be aware that playing in the registry can stop the system from booting or performing in an optimum manner.
The analogy I think of: I don't ask my 8-year-old son to fix automotive problems...I don't try to repair my auto myself because I don't have the proper tools for most things...and I don't have the knowledge. I can read a Chilton's, but that won't make me any more capable.
Having said all that...I use a tool which some consider to be a registry editor, but it's much more complex than that. I use this tool because I did all my homework first and I know how to edit manually (using regedit) and I can stand the pain if I bork my systems. For me, there are situations where the tool facilitates removal of many registry items that I know serve no purpose on my system..and I check every listed item before I make any changes.
I had a system of some sort for 5 full years before I even began to think that I was capable of learning/understanding anything about the registry. For those five years, I would just ignore the suggested fixes for many things...if it involved a reg edit. I'm more comfortable with systems, the registry, etc. now...but I'm always prepared to admit when I make a mistake...and I can undo the damage I do (if I should do any).
Edited by hamluis, 29 February 2008 - 12:12 PM.