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Are 3rd Partly Utility Programs Worth the Cost

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#1 gwb51


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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:44 AM

I'd like to hear some views on whether or not 3rd party utility programs, and particularly Advanced System Optimizer, are of value or a potential problem. When I was having problems with an older Dell 531, I tried using ASO hoping that cleaning up the registry and clearing out file fragments would help. It didn't. If anything it seemed to create more problems. After a 'cleaning' I wouldn't be able to reboot and would need to do a system restore. Now to be fair to ASO, it turned out there were hardware problems and I ended up building a new computer.

The reason for the note is that I can see the potential value of programs like ASO in cleaning up things regularly. However, my initial experience leaves me a bit concerned that programs like this might, in fact, do serious damage. Any advice on whether programs like ASO should or should not be used would be appreciated - with Windows 7 X64. Also, any thoughts on the value and effectiveness of ASO - or better alternatives.

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#2 Allan


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Posted 23 May 2011 - 07:34 AM

Registry cleaners CAUSE problems, they do not cure them. There is no such thing as a good registry cleaners, only some that are less harmful than others. Are you having some specific problem?

#3 Animal


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Posted 23 May 2011 - 04:50 PM

For the record, I'll post the Bleeping Computer position on Registry Cleaners, which supports Allan's assertion:

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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#4 Layback Bear

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 08:25 AM

The registry is something like a mine field. If you don't know how to disarm the mines stay out of the mine field. The registry is a very complicated heart of the operating system and unless one is skilled in such things IMHO should not go there. As for 3rd party programs to do things to the registry to me unless used manually with the proper knowledge that is also a NO NO. Now the bigger problem; if the 3rd party program does things to your registry on auto repair/auto fix no body knows what that 3rd party program has done. Another NO NO. The reason, the 3rd party program does what it is programed to do but Windows 7 might not agree therefor problems.

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