Windows Registry Errors

Category: Windows

When I start my computer, I always get some sort of 'error in registry' message. Things seem to work okay after that, but it makes me wonder if there is a problem that should be corrected. Will a registry cleaner fix this?

Registry Errors

What To Do About Windows Registry Errors?

The Windows registry is a database of settings and options for Windows features, programs, data files, and computer hardware. You can think of the registry as Windows' way of remembering which printer you prefer; what files you accessed most recently; where to find your hard drive; etc. When errors creep into the registry, Windows may behave oddly or not work at all.

Registry errors can occur for a number of reasons, or no identifiable reason. Some programs, when they uninstall themselves, do not clean up their obsolete registry entries. Others may remove entries that should be left for use by other programs. An unexpected shutdown of the computer, as in a power failure, can catch Windows unawares with no time to save changes to the registry; when you boot again, your computer is in a state that the registry doesn't recognize. The point is, over time every registry accumulates erroroneous and unused entries.

These "garbage" entries add up, making Windows run slower and sometimes interfering with the startup of certain programs. If you experience such symptoms, you should clean up your registry. There are many free and commercial registry cleaner programs out there. However, you should be careful which one you download.

Free Registry Cleaners?

Many, many people look for "free registry cleaner" programs. Hackers know this, and disguise their malware as what people are seeking. Whenever you find a "free registry cleaner," check its reputation before downloading and running it.

Some Web sites offer a "free registry scan" purportedly to tell you how healthy your registry is and whether you need their registry cleaners. Unless you know the site well, avoid such free scans. They are often not registry scans at all but opportunities to inject malware into your computer. Even if they're not nefarious, the tactic is often to run the free scan, show you a long list of registry errors that need fixing, and then try to sell you on the need to buy a "full" or "premium" version that can cost anywhere from $29 to $69.

CCleaner is one of the most popular freeware applications on the Internet, with over 225 million downloads as of this writing. It's simple to use and very fast, scanning the Registry in a handful of seconds. CCleaner also cleans up junk files such as installation logs, temporary files, cookies, etc., and lets you select exactly what "junk" to keep. The Tools include a Startup folder manager and an Uninstaller interface that lets you change the name of an installed program or save a text listing of all installed programs.

I've also compiled a list of other reputable free registry cleaners that you can try.

Should You Buy a Registry Cleaner?

That's not to say that you shouldn't pay for a really good registry cleaner. In many cases, free software works well, but it's not always the best of breed.

Registry First Aid by Rose City Software is one example of a commercial registry cleaner that I highly recommend. It operates safely, making a Restore Point before each registry repair scan so your system can be restored to its original condition if anything goes wrong. It can scan normally in a few minutes or deeply, into every corner of the registry, in a bit more time. It finds more errors than other programs I've tried. It lets you delete or modify registry entries automatically or one by one after reviwer. It warns you which registry entries may be unsafe to change or delete. It defragments and compresses the registry to make things run faster. A good buy for $27.95.

I've also been impressed with UniBlue's RegistryBooster program. RegistryBooster does a deep scan of your registry, looking for unused or corrupted entries. You can then selectively repair or remove the problems from the registry to make your system run faster and more efficiently.

Pick a registry cleaner based on reputation and your budget; then use it monthly, weekly, or as needed to make sure your system is healthy and running at peak performance.

Got questions about registry errors or registry cleaners? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Windows Registry Errors"

Posted by:

Gary Lefmann
22 Oct 2009

I have used jv16PowerTools from Macecraft Software for several years and am very satisfied. Once you buy the program, you get frequent updates and free annual upgrades. It does an outstanding job on the registry and includes many other useful tools as well.

Posted by:

Wayne Wartian
22 Oct 2009

I use REG now and it has not fixed my registry error. What next?


Posted by:

Chuck Kirkpatrick
23 Oct 2009

I've used the Uniblue RegistryBooster for most of a year and been very satisfied with it.

Posted by:

23 Oct 2009

I do not recommend using registry cleaners Unless, you can recognize what you will be deleting. A system restore might be of use IF you haven't deleted a system file and IF it will actually work the it was intended too.
Whenever I need to check the registry for errors, I go to Live OneCare Safety Scanner. A service still offered by Microsoft FREE of charge to everyone that visits with Internet Explorer and has a Valid Windows operating system.

Posted by:

Joe M
23 Oct 2009

Wayne, try ccleaner. As Bob says, it works very well and is free. I've used a couple of "pay" programs, but ccleaner is excellent and has cleaned up problems on many occasions. One thing I wish the article addressed is the issue of "compacting" the registry once it's been cleaned. Is this necessary? Does it help? Thanks.

Posted by:

29 Oct 2009

Similar to Flashorn's comment - how do you know what registries to keep and what to delete?

Posted by:

29 Oct 2009

I've used JV16 for 5 years now and love it. It backs up anything it deletes so if there is a problem, just put the info back into the registry. I've never had to do this.

Posted by:

29 Oct 2009

Are registry cleaners safe to use on a Mac laptop, running Parallels, installed with Windows XP, service Pac 2+ Help Please.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, you can run a registry cleaner (or any other program) in the XP virtual machine environment. You should also be running anti-virus protection there...

Posted by:

30 Oct 2009


I bought a fairly expensive Dell system a little less than a year ago. Two twin Intel duel proccessors, 8 gigs of RAM and thought I had it made. Now less than a year later, nothing is working, it takes forever to start up. I have NO virus or spyware, no malware, nothing like that. I have checked with Norton and half a dozen other programs, so I assume it has to be the registry. I cant find a company that I can trust that has a 64 bit registry cleaner. What do you think, can you help?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Try UniBlue RegistryBooster -

Posted by:

Bob Levy
05 Nov 2009

Has anyone used RegCure? It came highly recommended but it auto starts with a nag screen?
WOT (web of trust) gives the site a bad reputation mark.

Posted by:

Franz Staugler
09 Nov 2009


EDITOR'S NOTE: MalwareBytes Anti-Malware will do the job. See

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Windows Registry Errors (Posted: 21 Oct 2009)
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