Knowing what to do and what not to do.
I believe that registry cleaners are only marginally useful. One reason is that they rarely actually help.
Another reason is, it’s all too easy to needlessly panic when you see the long list of issues they typically present.
That’s not to say they aren’t sometimes useful — but knowing what to do next in your situation isn’t all that easy. It depends on the registry cleaner.
Here’s what I do.
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Cleaning registry scan results
Registry scanners should be used rarely, as they rarely have any significant impact. The number of issues usually reported makes understanding and deciding how to proceed with each one infeasible. The pragmatic solution is to either fix nothing, or — after backing up — fix everything.
All or nothing
I take an all-or-nothing approach to registry cleaning.
Most of the time, I simply don’t run one. At all. Over at least a couple of decades now, I’ve never encountered a problem using a registry cleaner would have solved or prevented.
I honestly believe 99% of computers out there simply don’t benefit from registry cleaners. Ever.
This is the “nothing” in my all-or-nothing approach. In your case, I would not have run the cleaner, and I’d ignore the “errors” if I did.
Note I put “errors” in quotes.
The majority of what a registry cleaner reports as needing cleaning are not errors at all. Most issues are what I’d call “inefficiencies” — unnecessary but harmless registry entries. Removing them might speed up your computer by some minuscule but unnoticeable amount.
Given that so many of the so-called “errors” are in fact completely benign, I’m extremely comfortable ignoring all of them.
But what if, for some reason, you really, really want to clean the registry?
As I mentioned in that earlier article, perhaps attempting to address some kind of problem is the last step prior to giving up.
- Make sure your computer is backed up.
- Let the cleaner clean them all.
Yes, all of them.
Again, 99% of the time, it’ll be just fine to do this. Yes, there’s a small chance something cleaned will resolve some problem, or perhaps your machine will speed up a tiny bit.
Or, more likely, you won’t notice any difference at all.
So. Many. Issues.
The fact is, issues reported by registry cleaners are too numerous to track down and know what to do with individually. There are just too many, as you’ve seen with your 700+.
So if I run a registry cleaner and it finds issues, I either fix none, or fix all.
If I fix any, then I run it again. Fixing some issues can expose other fixable issues. If you’re going down this rabbit hole, you might as well be thorough.
The critical step and important assumption
One important note: please pay attention to step one: backing up.
Some percentage of the time, a registry cleaner may do more harm than good. It may “clean” something important. You should be backing up your data and machine regularly anyway, but this is an important time to make sure.
Finally, this all assumes a “decent” registry cleaner. There are hundreds of tools out there that claim to clean, optimize, defragment, boost, or whatever your registry. Many are modern-day snake oil, and can be dangerous.
What’s the Best Registry Cleaner? will first reiterate that registry cleaners are rarely needed, and then include my recommendations for which ones I trust.
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