I've cleaned my registry for years and have had no problems, whatsoever. The size of my registry right now is almost 75MB. I can't imagine how big one could grow over several years!
I think of it akin to cleaning out my dresser drawers on a regular basis. You throw out the old stuff that doesn't fit, or you don't use anymore because it's out of style now. Why keep all that junk? It just gets in the way when you're trying to pull out what you want to wear today.
A good registry cleaner will always provide a backup in case something does go wrong. A good registry cleaner will have choices; a more conservative cleaning for safety along with a more aggressive function for when the user gets more knowledgeable about making changes to their registry.
I've used jv16 Power Tools and Reg Supreme for years. They might be a little scary for a beginner. However, I've heard of one that comes highly recommended by a person who posts on a couple of other forums that I frequent. I'm thinking of taking a look at it myself.
He's a retired computer tech. He knows his stuff. He's tried them all and now he uses the Free EasyCleaner 2 for disk cleanup and regular registry maintenance. He says it's designed to be safe. He says, "If Easy Cleaner is going to error....it will error on the side of caution. If there's any question about any registry entry, Easy Cleaner will just leave it."http://personal.inet.fi/business/toniarts/ecleane.htm
He also recommends using NTREGOPT, the sister program of ERUNT, to compress the registry size after it's been cleaned. Cleaning the registry leaves "holes" in the hives where the old information used to be stored. NTREGOPT doesn't change the contents of the registry in any way, or 'defrag' it. It simply compresses it to the smallest size possible. (I use both of these excellent programs.)http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/faq.htm
Is there a risk when messing with the registry? Sure, something bad could happen. You could also turn on your computer tomorrow only to be presented with the dreaded BSOD, when everything worked fine today. We are talking about Windows here. lol!
I can remember the first time I ventured into my registry to change something manually. I was sweating bullets! Now it doesn't phase me at all. And I'm an old Senior Granny.
onalandline, whether or not you decide to do this, it's a personal choice. It's up to you. It's your computer. It's you who decides just how much you want to be in control of the nuts and bolts end of it. Do your homework. Read reviews about other software if none of this appeals to you.
Maybe Windows won't run any "faster", but IMHO it runs better when old registry junk is cleared out.
Edited by mommabear, 16 April 2008 - 03:52 PM.