Choosing the Best Free Registry Cleaner for Windows
written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 8/24/2010
Registry cleaning software is popular to Windows users and you will find many free Microsoft registry cleaners on the market. Some are rogue registry cleaners but in this article we'll discuss freeware and non-rogue software.
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Registry Cleaner for Windows
Windows registry is where the settings or configuration of Windows and applications are stored. Any registry key you delete may help or damage the system. We don't usually advise internet users to use a registry cleaner to prevent damage in their computer because it can also prevent Windows and software from working properly, but it seems such programs are here to stay.
People continue to look for registry cleaning software and there are many software vendors or developers that create registry cleaner software. There is even a free Microsoft registry cleaner via Windows Live OneCare safety scanner, the free online service to scan the computer for viruses and PC health. If you are looking for a registry cleaner, be sure to use the trusted program because you are going to make a modifications to the Windows registry.
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Freeware Registry Cleaner
There are rogue distributors and malware creators that take advantage of what is popular. And since registry cleaner software is one of the most demanded kinds of software by computer users, the bad guys found another way to scam people by offering rogue registry cleaners. Don't be a victim of rogue software but use only the freeware full registry cleaner from trustworthy vendors.
Some PC users are happy to pay for a registry cleaning program which is good, but only if the software you're buying is providing what you need. Also, it is important to note that free software often comes with limited features. If you are satisfied with the standard features, there is no need to spend money for paid registry cleaning software. Below are the freeware registry cleaners that I can recommend to users who need it.
Please note that I tested the registry cleaner programs in this article by running the program in a clean-install Windows XP with integrated Service Pack 3 on Microsoft Virtual PC. There is no third-party application or security updates or virtual machine additions installed on the test system. What we are expecting is the registry cleaner program should not find errors in the registry since the install of XP is good and there's no modification yet in the system that will require registry cleaning. After each test using registry software, the changes in the XP system are reverted back to the previous state by turning off the virtual machine and deleting the changes.
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PowerTools Lite and EasyCleaner
The two registry cleaners that I think we should consider first are PowerTools Lite and EasyCleaner:
PowerTools Lite - This is the freeware edition of the popular jv16 PowerTools registry cleaner. The program uses 4.25MB of hard-disk space and provides free registry scan and fixes. One thing neat with PowerTools Lite is it will scan the health of the computer and provides analysis whether a registry cleaning is needed. When I run the registry cleaner of PowerTools lite in XP with SP3 installed, it found no errors in the registry which is what it should really find. It only detected 3 registry junks. PowerTools lite will prompt for a registry backup before fixing but system restore is not created in Windows.
EasyCleaner -ToniArts EasyCleaner will run on Vista and earlier versions of Windows. The program will use 3.77MB of hard disk space and a restore point is created after the install. I let EasyCleaner check the registry in XP and it found no errors and only 6 invalid registry entries. The program automatically creates a registry backup before fixing what it detected as invalid entries in the registry.
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Do you wonder if there is freeware full registry cleaner software? Do you you think a free Microsoft registry cleaner is enough to keep the computer clean? Here we'll talk about registry cleaners for Windows.
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CCleaner and Glary Registry Repair
Two more registry cleaners are CCleaner and Glary Registry repair, but they are not as highly recommended as PowerTools Lite or EasyCleaner. See below for more information:
CCleaner - This is the popular optimization and privacy cleaning software. It does not only clean up the computer for free, but it can also scan the registry in Windows for errors or invalid entries. CCleaner's slim installer only uses 2.91MB of hard-disk space and will prompt to backup the registry before fixing. The program found 10 issues in the registry of a freshly installed XP system. Not bad since the detected issues are correctly identified.
Glary Registry Repair - I must say that Glary registry repair software installer is not attractive for it bundles a questionable and unwanted toolbar by Ask.com. You need to uncheck the option to install Ask Toolbar since it is not required to run the free registry cleaner. The program will use 5.17MB of HD space and it found 29 issues in a clean-install XP system. The program automatically created a backup before repairing the registry. There are not many options for the program since it is a freeware.
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Comodo System Cleaner and Eusing Free Registry Cleaner
Other free Microsoft registry cleaners are from Comodo and Eusing. I don't think you should be using these freeware full registry cleaners, but I will still mention them here for more information.
Comodo System Cleaner - This program provides a lot of features other than a registry cleanig but this article is about registry cleaning programs so I'm focusing on it only. The program uses 12.83MB of HD space which is a lot for a simple tool in Windows and it automatically runs program updates without prompting the user. It created a restore point after the install but it shows [ErrorText_1715] as restore point which is an obvious problem with Comodo System Cleaner installer and they need to fix it. Comodo System Cleaner will add a scheduled task in Windows to run Applications.exe that it installed in its program directory. The registry cleaner detected 81 issues in the registry after allowing the scan using the default settings. The program will prompt for backup and asks the user if the registry protection mode should be activated. Registry protection mode is some kind of system testing mode after fixing the registry and it requires a restart. The program will not create a restore point before fixing the registry but there is an option in the program to do that. However, the program itself produces an error in creating a restore point after the install so I won't rely on Comodo System Cleaner's restore point creation especially if the system is a fresh install. The detected issues in the registry by Comodo System Cleaner were too much for a clean-install XP system that has not received any changes at all.
Eusing Free Registry Cleaner - Stay away from this free registry program for now because the fresh installed and unmodified XP system was detected to have 116 registry issues. That's huge and I won't be checking which are valid detection because it's obviously wrong for a registry cleaner to find issues in a registry that has no errors but maybe has invalid or unused registry keys only. Eusing only uses 2MB of hard-disk space and will auto-create a registry backup before fixing what it detects.