Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Registry Cleaners and System Tweaking Tools

I am still wondering why so many people use Registry Cleaners and System Tweaking Tools while they don't even understand what the Windows Registry is, and/or don't understand Windows basics.

"Fix errors now!" and "Make your Windows fast again!", that's how all these tools are advertised.
People download and install it - click the "Fix it all" - Button (since many of these tools have such button available) and then notice that suddenly some programs won't work anymore, errors appear and in worst case, their Windows won't boot anymore...

Yes, I've seen it all... and many still won't believe that this may be a result of these tweaking tools, because after all, they are "supposed" to improve system performance, prevent errors and make a system more stable. Huh?
In most cases, people don't have any problems in the first place - but want to use these tools anyway.

I have to admit that there are some good "tweaking tools" around as well, but you shouldn't use these if you don't have basic knowledge about the registry and Windows in general. Only delete keys if you're certain that they can be deleted. Disable services if you're certain that you don't need them, let it set policies if you understand what they do etc..

Registry Cleaning won't really improve system speed anyway. Even though there are a lot of orphaned keys/values present, you won't notice a difference in system speed. The only difference you'll notice is when you actually search in your registry - but how many people do this?

On the contrary, as a matter of fact, if you "clean" the registry frequently, it actually becomes more fragmented after a while - and *that may* result in slower system performance, although you won't notice much difference.
I rather prefer to have a lot of orphaned keys in the registry, instead of keys/values that were deleted by a registry cleaner, which were not supposed to be deleted in the first place. And that's the risk of these Registry Cleaners, because many list keys/values as orphaned or unneeded while they are actually needed.
After all, a broken registry is a broken Windows.

The same goes for tweaking tools. Tools where you can select to disable certain services and add certain policies. The "Fix it all" button is also available in most cases, or an option where you can check/select several settings - and the more settings present, the more people believe that checking/selecting them all will result in a superfast computer...
Oh yes, check them all .... and complain aftwards:

* "Help! I'm having problems with Windows updates/Automatic Updates!"

Yes, because you disabled BITS, you disabled Automatic updates, or you have set some restrictive policies related with Windows update

"Help! My add/remove programs list is empty!"

Yes, because some Registry Cleaners unfortunately delete the Uninstall key in the registry - reference here. Only new programs installed will be listed there... (See picture above)

And so many more... Check out this thread for more opinions.
So, don't use them if you don't understand these tools.

After all, Don't fix when it ain't broken!

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