When will registry cleaner speed up your computer?

In reality, registry entries aren’t a drag on your computer’s performance. The registry is a massive database containing hundreds of thousands of entries and individual registry entries are fairly tiny. Even removing a few thousand entries won’t make an appreciable dent in the size of your registry.

Now, if our computers only had a tiny amount of memory or an extremely slow hard disk, there could be some value to shrinking the registry a bit. But this will be completely unnoticeable on computers in use today. We don’t live in the days of Windows 95 anymore. The Windows registry has also become more robust as Windows itself evolved from Windows 95 to Windows 7 and 8.

Windows just isn’t getting confused and slowing down because you have a folder (known as a “key” in registry parlance) dedicated to an uninstalled program in your registry. It also isn’t getting confused because certain entries point to an outdated program.

No legitimate benchmarks showing a performance increase as a result of a registry cleaner have ever been released. If a registry cleaner offered boosted performance, we would have some benchmarks by now. It’s anecdotal evidence, but the majority of our readers didn’t find that registry cleaners helped improve their performance on modern computers, either.

Now, it’s theoretically possible that a registry cleaner could help in some rare cases. For example, if a program left behind an invalid context menu entry in your registry, it’s possible that your context menu would take noticeably longer to appear in Windows Explorer when you right-clicked on something. It’s also possible that a registry cleaner would notice and remove this entry for you, solving the problem.

In another case, you might have a ten-year-old computer with a very small amount of RAM and a Windows installation that’s seen thousands of programs installed and uninstalled over the case of a decade. A registry cleaner might theoretically help shrink the size of the registry enough to make the computer perform faster.

Such situations are bound to be extremely rare. There’s no point in running a registry cleaner constantly — many registry cleaner companies recommend running their cleaner once a week. Such problems would be better dealt with by solving them when you encounter them. It’s likely that the average registry cleaner would cause many more problems than it fixes if it were run on a regular basis. And even if it’s completely harmless, it’s a waste of your time.

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