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Clean garbage out of registry

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#1 momgbb


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:10 PM

I have been cleaning of a bunch of stuff from an XP machine that had lots of old programs/files on it.

It's a mess - programs in the Add/Remove programs that have an error that the uninstall file isn't found, tons of garbage in the registry - old programs and files entries.

Is there a safe registry cleaning tool? (free if possible)

Also have found a bunch of programs on the all programs menu that aren't in C:\program files and the other way around - in C:\program files, but not on the Start menu or desktop icons. Is there a better way than just going through lists and comparing and deleting?

Thanks for all your help. You guys are amazing!

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#2 Animal


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:11 PM

Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons:

• Registry cleaners are extremely powerful applications that can damage the registry by using aggressive cleaning routines and cause your computer to become unbootable.

The Windows registry is a central repository (database) for storing configuration data, user settings and machine-dependent settings, and options for the operating system. It contains information and settings for all hardware, software, users, and preferences. Whenever a user makes changes to settings, file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in this repository. The registry is a crucial component because it is where Windows "remembers" all this information, how it works together, how Windows boots the system and what files it uses when it does. The registry is also a vulnerable subsystem, in that relatively small changes done incorrectly can render the system inoperable. For a more detailed explanation, read Understanding The Registry.

• Not all registry cleaners are created equal. There are a number of them available but they do not all work entirely the same way. Each vendor uses different criteria as to what constitutes a "bad entry". One cleaner may find entries on your system that will not cause problems when removed, another may not find the same entries, and still another may want to remove entries required for a program to work.

• Not all registry cleaners create a backup of the registry before making changes. If the changes prevent the system from booting up, then there is no backup available to restore it in order to regain functionality. A backup of the registry is essential BEFORE making any changes to the registry.

• Improperly removing registry entries can hamper malware disinfection and make the removal process more difficult if your computer becomes infected. For example, removing malware related registry entries before the infection is properly identified can contribute to system instability and even make the malware undetectable to removal tools.

• The usefulness of cleaning the registry is highly overrated and can be dangerous. In most cases, using a cleaner to remove obsolete, invalid, and erroneous entries does not affect system performance but it can result in "unpredictable results".

Unless you have a particular problem that requires a registry edit to correct it, I would suggest you leave the registry alone. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily or incorrectly could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from ever starting again. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks are great.

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#3 Bill253


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:26 PM

So Animal made it pretty clear that BC doesn't endorse the use of ANY registry cleaner, 'just leave the registry alone' seems to be the common opinion around here.

What he didn't address is the rest of your problem. In partial answer to this I will recommend Revo Uninstaller, click here, (also available at cnet.com and other places). It works well for those otherwise hard to remove programs that don't show up in Add/Remove.

#4 noknojon


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:42 PM

Hi -
To mop up old Temp files, cookies etc. TFC is a good program and it will not alter the registry -
Download TFC by OldTimer to your desktop.
  • Close any open windows.
  • Double click the TFC icon to run the program
  • TFC will close all open programs itself in order to run,
  • Click the Start button to begin the process.
  • Allow TFC to run uninterrupted.
  • The program should not take long to finish it's job
  • Once its finished it should automatically reboot your machine,
  • If it doesn't, manually reboot to ensure a complete clean

Thank You -

#5 josh_the_techie


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:51 PM

Actually, the best solution to this would be to backup your hard drive and reinstall windows. I know that this isn't the most convenient method, but it is definitely the most effective. Your computer will run much faster and you won't have all the junk programs.
On the other hand, I highly recommend Revo Uninstaller. I use it instead of the built-in application in windows.
As others have stated, I would not recommend messing with the registry. I have done it before without problems, but it is a very risky process. One wrong move and your system could be unbootable.


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