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Should you Really Clean your Registry?

Should you Really Clean your Registry?

Your registry:

The place where all your applications store their settings. Drivers and even windows also use it to store your preferences. That makes it a pretty important place on your computer and it can get pretty messy. You see, when installing and uninstalling programs, the ones made by serious developers will properly delete all of their registry entries, while ones written by lazier coders are likely to leave behind little bits of data when uninstalling.

Now, you could, in theory, use the registry editor to go in there and manually fix all of these issues, but not knowing what is needed and what not you may end up deleting important setting files and messing your computer big time.

That is where so-called registry cleaners come in. They scan your registry and look for problems such as unused extensions and many more. They claim to boost the performance of your PC, remove errors, fix crashes and some even brag about improving your security.

So, does it work?

I’ve benchmarked a few things on my computer before and after cleaning the registry and the results are in: I tested boot times (where I measured the time it took the computer to start up and show the google front page) 3 times and averaged the results. Besides that, I also ran the Cinebench R15 multi-threaded benchmark 5 times before and after running the cleaner and calculated the average score. 

Finally, I tested the time it took for a game to load up. This time I tested assassin’s creed syndicate, the latest offering in the series by UbiSoft. After the first round of benchmarking I fired up CCleaner, a free tool for doing all sorts of maintenance work around your PC, scanned for registry issues and told the software to fix the over 100 problems that it had found. Boot times before the clean scored an average of 56.4 seconds and, afterward, they dropped to… exactly the same 56.4 seconds.

Should you Really Clean your Registry?

Moving on to the Cinebench scores on my CPU went from 647 before the clean to 650 afterward. That is an increase but, if you have ever used cinebench R15 you will know that scores can vary wildly by at least 10 Cb plus or minus, so take this result with a grain of salt.

Should you Really Clean your Registry?

Finally, the time it took to launch Assassin’s Creed Syndicate went from 55 seconds to 54 seconds, which is well within the margin of error.

Should you Really Clean your Registry?

So what gives?

Our PC doesn’t turn on any faster, the CPU does not run any better and Programs launch just as fast as they did before. See, the registry stores settings. Apps don’t care how messy the registry is, because they don’t go searching around through it. They know what they’re looking for and just visit the address where their corresponding settings files are located.

Settings which are no longer used just remain in storage, which is why reinstalling a program may sometimes restore part of your previous settings. This in no way affects your computer’s performance. It doesn’t even take up large amounts of space on your hard drive, as few of these files are more than a few kilobytes’ worths of text.

So why should you clean it?

The answer is: you generally should NOT. Letting a program go hambone through your low-level operating system and driver settings can sometimes end up creating issues with the software deleting files that are actually needed. The only moment when you should consider registry issues is when a program is misbehaving for no apparent reason.

If reinstalling the app and running an antivirus scan doesn’t fix the problem, you may actually have a problem with your registry for that software. If you find yourself in the position of having to clean your registry or if you just don’t trust my findings and want to test everything out yourself, I recommend downloading CCleaner.

It’s free and it gives you plenty of useful tools alongside the registry cleaner. Don’t waste money by buying registry cleaning software that will most likely not do anything useful for you. So, there you have it. I hope you found this article helpful and maybe learned something from it too so, give it a share and comment below.

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