1. Computing
Completely free registry cleaner tools are hard to find... very hard to find. A quick search will usually come up with several pages of registry repair tools that advertise that they are free. Unfortunately, this usually means they will scan your registry for free but that cleaning part will come at a cost.

Small detail, I guess.

Believe it or not, there are several very good, completely free registry cleaner programs out there:

Best Freeware Registry Cleaners Reviewed

Important: "Cleaning" your registry with a registry cleaner program should not be part of your regular PC maintenance. Registry cleaning has been sold as an important task up there with updating Windows and running malware scans. Not so. Registry cleaning is best used as a diagnostic tool when you suspect certain kinds of issues with your registry.
Comments
June 8, 2009 at 8:05 pm
(1) Robert says:

That’s true. I’ve had fewer problems with my computer since I stopped using a registry cleaner regularly.

September 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm
(2) TOM says:

ALL OF THE SO CALLED FREE CLEANERS DO A FREE SCAN AND MAYBE FIX A FEW PROBLEMS BUT THEN SAY NOW YOU MUST UPGRADE TO GET THE FULL FIX.
THIS IS MISSREPRESENTATION !
IF \I FOUND A PRODUCT \I LIKED \I WOULD BUY IT BUT I REFUSE TO BE TRICKED INTO A SALE.
Tom

September 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm
(3) Tim Fisher says:

@TOM: This is positively NOT the case and I’m not sure what program(s) you’re referring to. Just for kicks, I checked the first several on my list and they’re all 100% free and do a full scan/fix.

Are you sure you’re downloading the right program? Can you give me some examples? If I’m wrong about one of these programs, I’d be more than happy to remove it from my list.

October 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm
(4) russell says:

just read your post in reference to bait and switch tactics/ pctools is a so called freeware, ya sure, it will fix the first 6 errors of 30 , unless I buy the pro version then it can repair all…whats up with that ?? crap

October 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm
(5) Tim Fisher says:

@russell: I don’t think Registry Mechanic (the registry tool from PC Tools) is listed as freeware. On their site, they just offer it for “download” which is certainly cryptic and not very honest since they don’t specify one way or the other.

On Download.com’s website, Registry Mechanic is listed as “free to try” – in other words: Shareware.

These companies that make registry “fix” software are certainly not known to be forthright in their information about actually gets “fixed”.

February 3, 2011 at 11:39 am
(6) Patricia says:

Tried Registry Mechanic and the scan was free but would NOT fix ANY of the problems found unless I bought the program………. bad advertising there!

February 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm
(7) Tim Fisher says:

@Patricia: Yep, Registry Mechanic is tricky. They’ve cleaned up some of the language on their site but they still don’t publicize that you have to pay to do any cleaning.

Regardless, as I’ve tried to burn in to the minds of anyone who asks me about registry cleaners for the last decade, YOU DON’T NEED THEM unless you’re trying to fix a specific issue. Running them all the time is a waste of time and most of the “problems” found aren’t really concerns anyway.

February 3, 2011 at 5:55 pm
(8) eric says:

Have you tried Argente Registry Cleaner??

February 4, 2011 at 11:44 am
(9) Tim Fisher says:

@eric: I have not but I’ll take a look.

November 20, 2011 at 8:37 am
(10) Robert Evans says:

Tim, why do you say “‘Cleaning’ your registry with a registry cleaner program should not be part of your regular PC maintenance? The nature of Windows is that clutter accumulates in the registry. Registry searches can be a large part of the overhead of some programs, esp COM-intensive ones. It _will_be a regular part of PC maintenance, just as is defrag, whether you want to or not.

November 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm
(11) Tim Fisher says:

@Robert Evans: I simply disagree. I have never seen any data showing that a “large part of the overhead” of any program is due to registry searching. I’ve personally never seen much of a speed increase in any particular program, nor in Windows overall, after a registry cleaning. I have seen big problems after registry cleaning, partly due to bad software. I’ve also seen users being hijacked by scanners that don’t clean.

However, I don’t see too much issue in using a good one, like CCleaner, on a regular basis, but I also don’t see the need. Prove me wrong and I’ll change my stance.

June 14, 2013 at 2:18 am
(12) Christina A. Johns says:

I avoid using registry cleaners as they typically do not solve i.e. speed up PC but then again, i had to take back my words when i first used Registry Recycler. Tim like many in your list, it is free to download and run to cope up with registry issues. I was having BSOD, and on some recommended site, i heard this can solve. I do not know what it did, but the Blue screen errors was solved that used to occur randomly.

April 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm
(13) Brea It services says:

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