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Information for people wondering about the registry cleaner


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#1 OFFLINE Winapp2.ini

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:58 PM

I've noticed many posts (seemingly more recently) about issues/concerns over using the CCleaner registry cleaner. I'm no "expert" but hopefully in this post I can clean up a lot of the issues people usually incur whilst using the registry cleaner.

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING TO THE REGISTRY, ALWAYS TAKE A BACKUP.
See the "tips" section for a link to ERUNT, a handy backup tool. Taking a backup of the registry is an essential part of maintaining it, as it will allow you to undo any negative changes you make. It is very easy to mess up the registry, and unfortunately if you don't have a backup, exceedingly difficult to fix. Taking a backup will allow you to fix any mistakes and save yourself a lot of effort.

Here are some posts by Jamin4u that may help you set ERUNT up (thanks for the links)

Setting up
Running ERUNT on Vista

Just because something comes up on the REGCleaner section DOES NOT mean that you SHOULD remove it.


I'm only here because I heard cleaning the registry makes the computer just like new, is that true?
This is actually an issue of much debate, but the general consensus seems to be that unless you remove thousands and thousands of keys from the registry, its not significantly smaller to be any more efficient at what it does. Thats not to say however, that a tiny performance gain wont be seen at all.. again, this is on the fence and noone seems to really agree on whether or not it does.

Is the registry cleaner safe to use?
It could be said that it is indeed safe to use, but unfortunately ALL registry cleaners have some element of danger behind them. While CCleaner does use methods of scanning that are safer than most cleaners, the best method of cleaning would probably be to manually pick through all the keys detected to make sure that they are indeed safe to clean, as well as taking a backup (and remembering where it is and what its named) so that if you fail to notice some important key, it can easily be restored by double clicking the backup.

I don't know what the registry is, should I still use this tool?
Probably not. The windows registry is essentially the central database used to store the settings for users, programs, and the system. Its not something that can be tampered with without at least some knowledge of what you're doing. This isn't to say the registry cleaner will definitely break your computer, and in most cases it is safe to remove the majority of keys CCleaner detects, however if you really have no clue what you're doing, and/or how to undo what you've done, I really wouldn't recommend you use this feature.

*For more information on what the registry is, and what it does, try the Wikipedia Article

How do I run the registry cleaner?
This is covered by the piriform documentation, and can be found: here!


Does cleaning the registry do anything?
Yes, it can and most likely will improve performance of your computer. This is not to say you should remove all the keys you see to gain maximum performance (see quote by Nergal at the beginning of the post)

The registry tool hangs at x%, why is this
First: give it some time. If your computer is especially slow, this can be the issue. The registry scan can be slow on some machines, but give it a few minutes or if its not pressing, try letting it run while you sleep. If it still hasn't finished over night, then theres a problem.
In that case, try un-ticking every box, then scanning each one one at a time. If you can scan them all individually, then good. You probably have many invalid keys and just need to clean it. If you find you can't scan a certain selection, try posting a query (see tips)

Help! I used the registry cleaner and now something doesn't work!
First and foremost, if you can boot into windows at all (this includes safe mode,) try restoring the backup you should have taken when cleaning the registry. After merging the registry keys you cleaned, and rebooting the computer doesn't work, its likely not caused by ccleaner, and you should try a System Restore. If worst comes to worst, try using a windows recovery disc or the windows recovery console to fix your system files without data loss, thus allowing you to rebuild whatever configuration was lost.

The cleaner keeps detecting a certain key, and its not removed when I fix the issue.
There are several reasons this could be.
1) The key is locked. CCleaner can't remove "locked" keys, and they'll have to be manually fixed (advanced users would want to manually navigate to the key via regedit and fix it them selves, novices may just want to leave the key alone if its not hurting anything.)
2) Your user account doesn't have the permissions to remove the key. CCleaner can usually remove everything you need it to, but in some cases a key will require Administrator privileges. If your account doesn't have this, either log onto an account that does or contact someone who can. Else, leave the key alone.

If neither of those apply, see this link or this forum post

Does cleaning Missing Shared DDL's delete any files?!
No, it only removes registry keys pointing to files detected as no longer existing. Again, this doesn't make it 100% safe, but you wont be removing any files if thats your concern.

I keep cleaning a "missing shared DLL" key, but it keeps returning, even when I remove it via Regedit
Its likely these DLL references are being re-created every time they are deleted and you should just leave them alone. However if it means that much to you, try looking up the DLL name to see what program it is associated with to confirm whether or not you really need it.

CCleaner removed the file association for *.*, how do I get it back?
Try these helpful downloads, they contain .Reg files that can be merged with the registry to return it to its default.

Windows XP

Windows Vista

(Thank you HazelNut for those links)

Very complicated instructions you all found! The easiest way to restore / reset a file association is with the ASSOC command.

For example, to restore the .exe file association you open a command prompt, then enter

assoc .exe=exefile
Very simple, and it doesn't need any manual fiddling with the registry.





I think this is safe to remove?

My own opinion: If in doubt, don't.



Thinking is the same as not knowing, and it'd be best not to remove something that looks like it may be important.

Does CCleaner clean the registry, or repair it? Is there a difference?
It can be said that CCleaner cleans the registry. The difference between the two can be found in a discussion on this thread.

TL;DR of that thread;
Cleaning - Deletes unused / invalid keys
Repairs - updates unused / invalid keys with proper information to make them useful.

Does CCleaner defragment my registry? What is that anyway?
No, at least not yet, it may be in development though. Perhaps not at the same time, you'd have to ask an Administrator :P!

Defragmenting the registry is similar to defragmenting your hard drive. It removes gaps in the registry to allow the disc to read the registry files contiguously thus allowing faster access to them.

The registry tool reports "no problems detected," what does this mean?
It means CCleaner didn't detect any issues that it deemed worthy of cleaning. This isnt to say your registry is in perfect condition, but unless your an advanced user its best not to pursue it any further than CCleaner.

Is it possible to have the registry cleaner run and fix all issues autonomously?
No, and even if it were, why would you risk critical damage to your computer just so you didn't have to go through the hassle of sorting keys yourself? This would be a dangerous implementation in the program as it could hinder system stability (however unlikely) and will probably never be added.

How long do I have to keep the backups for? They're cluttering up the folder they're in!
I'd honestly recommend forever, and put them in a subfolder like My Documents\CCleaner Backups\ to keep things tidy. Keeping all your backups allows you to restore anything that may have been accidentally removed. If you're really pressed for space or you're 150% certain you dont need a certain backup, I'd recommend waiting about a week, maybe 2 before deleting anything, because once you delete those backups, they're gone (Unless you use a recovery tool like Recuva, which probably wont be possible if you delete some critical keys.)

Can I use registry cleaners other than CCleaner?
Yes, but support for them isnt given here, and you'll have to find them on your own. However; I cannot stress enough how important it is that you actually know what you're doing before playing with these tools. Also, when using them, be sure to take proper restore points and backups so you can undo any changes.

My other registry cleaner finds way more problems, even after using CCleaners, why is this?

I find ccleaner is a very gentle and safe reg cleaner, sometimes others can go too deep.

CCleaner uses a lighter method of cleaning and is "safer" (term used lightly) than ones that dive into the deepest parts of the registry. You wont get support for those programs on this forum though.

I'm an advanced user, can you recommend some registry defragmenters?
This one is somewhat less risky, but often the registry's fragmentation rate is negligible. However if you really want to try, heres a few programs.

*This feature will never be included in CCleaner (most likely) as it does nothing for your performance.
Auslogic's Registry Defrag
Free registry defrag

Tips

*ALWAYS backup any changes you make to the registry
The registry is important, and your best friend. Don't hurt your best friend! you can use ERUNT to back everything up

*Before posting USE THE SEARCH BUTTON.
It can be found here and above and will often turn up results similar to your problem. Many times an issue can be resolved without ever needing to post.

*If you must post a query about the registry, make it as comprehensive as possible. State your operation system, CCleaner version and any involved keys (right click -> save to text file)
An in depth query will result in more accurate and timely responses from the community. Help us help you. Proper typing is a bonus too, remember this is an English forum!

*When posting, make sure you start a new topic. Often times old issues wont be looked at and if they are, you'll likely be told to start your own post.

*If you didn't find an answer in this, post a comment and I'll try to add it.
Always here to help.

I'll update this as needed/requested. :)

#2 OFFLINE Nergal

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:30 PM

Very good post. I'd love it if this were a sticky

except

I think this is safe to remove?
Thinking is the same as not knowing, and it'd be best to remove something that looks like it may be important.


do you mean

Thinking is the same as not knowing, and it'd be best NOT to remove something that looks like it may be important.
ADVICE FOR USING CCleaner'S REGISTRY INTEGRITY SECTION
DON'T JUST CLEAN EVERYTHING THAT'S CHECKED OFF.
Do your Registry Cleaning in small bits (at the very least Check-mark by Check-mark)
ALWAYS BACKUP THE ENTRY, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'LL BREAK IF YOU DON'T.
CCLEANER, RECUVA, DEFRAGGLER AND SPECCY DOCUMENTATION CAN BE FOUND AT www.piriform.com/docs
Link to Winapp2.ini explanation

#3 OFFLINE Winapp2.ini

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:34 PM

Very good post. I'd love it if this were a sticky

except



do you mean

Thinking is the same as not knowing, and it'd be best NOT to remove something that looks like it may be important.



Oh god, oops! :lol:

Thanks for pointing that out, I fixed it. :)

#4 ONLINE login123

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:42 PM

Hi, Winapp2.ini. :D Good information. Good post, I learned a lot. I think you might have a bad link, there, though. The link called Wikipedia Article leads to a site about an island of some sort...unless I am being redirected. If it is a mistake, and you fix it, I'll be glad if a moderator delets this post.
The CCleaner SLIM version is always released a bit after any new version; when it is it will be HERE :-)
Pssssst: ... It isn't really a cloud. Its a bunch of big, giant servers.

#5 OFFLINE Winapp2.ini

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:45 PM

Seems I accidentally pasted an article I stumbled upon instead of the wiki article, its been fixed.

#6 OFFLINE Jamin4u

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 04:53 PM

Nice Post! :)

Adding ERUNT to where you reference backing up the registry in tips would be a nice addition.

#7 OFFLINE marmite

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 05:47 PM

Very good post. I'd love it if this were a sticky.

Agreed. Only suggestion would be to move recommendations to back up the registry to the top of the post as a separate paragraph ... 'before you start ...' kinda thing.

#8 OFFLINE Jamin4u

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 06:44 PM

Don't know if this would be useful to anyone, but here's a post of mine on ERUNT.

#9 OFFLINE Winapp2.ini

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 12:09 AM

I made a note of Marmites suggestion, and added your links to the top near the Jamin.

Glad this post was of use :)

#10 OFFLINE Andavari

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 01:14 AM

Just my 2 cents and that is since the topic title is "Information for people wondering about the registry cleaner......" why not leave out non-Piriform registry cleaners and such.

Your option to do what you want, but why discuss CCleaner's registry cleaner then give recommendations for others, in particular competitors.

Piriform software help documentation.

CCleaner is NOT a malware removal tool.

Don't PM me for advice or help! I'll only ask you to read forum rule #15.

Old versions of CCleaner can be found here on FileHippo.


#11 OFFLINE Winapp2.ini

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 07:47 AM

Just my 2 cents and that is since the topic title is "Information for people wondering about the registry cleaner......" why not leave out non-Piriform registry cleaners and such.

Your option to do what you want, but why discuss CCleaner's registry cleaner then give recommendations for others, in particular competitors.


I suppose that does seem off. Perhaps I should remove it, I was just including answers to questions I've seen posted in this forum.

#12 OFFLINE Winapp2.ini

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 08:42 PM

I just fixed up my original post a bit, fixed a bunch of typos and what-not :rolleyes:

#13 OFFLINE Billc

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 11:08 AM

You may want to consider including the PageDefrag utility in
your list of registry defragmenters. It was developed by
Sysinternals which was bought up by Microsoft. I have
found it to be very useful.

http://technet.micro...s/bb897426.aspx

#14 OFFLINE marmite

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 11:15 AM

Can we please make this post a sticky? It's too good a reference to lose.

#15 OFFLINE Ishi

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:46 AM

I am no expert but I think its fair to say that the registry is one of the least innovated and redesigned elements of the Windows OSs. The registry of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 are almost similar, although Windows 7 probably has a smaller registry since when I made a backup, it has a much smaller file size than the backups I made on Vista's registry. The only reason I got about this was that Windows 7 has fewer preinstalled programs than Vista.


But they didnt even make an MMC snap in to access the registry. The registry editor is not that good enough. I got a screenshot of the help topic in Windows 7 about registry cleaners. It says that the registry is self sufficient which I do not firmly believe.

I have seen PCs that are relatively slow. Their parts seem OK and even if I had tried all the tweaking tips that Microsoft suggest, its still doesn't have that new PC feel so I turn my attention to the registry.



Whenever I search for Microsoft's own tips of speeding up the PC, they got tips for disk cleanup, defrag, disabling visual effects, startup programs and that sort of stuff but they NEVER say directly,"clean up the registry for invalid entries that are slowing the system". Only third party sites, companies and individuals such as ourselves acknowledge that it is necessary on a number of occasions.



I think they should innovate a solution where most if not all invalid entries are eliminated.

Reactions for this one please. Sorry I posted another one of this on another thread.
I love computer maintenance tasks.
Some of my favorite programs:
Wordpad -basic word processing
Notepad - temporary clipboard and basic scripting module
Windows Media Player 12- video, music and online radio player
Windows Media Center - live TV, local FM radio
CCleaner- handy computer maintenance tool

If something fails to work after using the registry cleaner, use SYSTEM RESTORE.

#16 OFFLINE Winapp2.ini

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 05:45 PM

Thanks for that info ishi :)

#17 ONLINE login123

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:21 PM

...
I think they should innovate a solution where most if not all invalid entries are eliminated.
...

Vote yes to that.

MS has had the dominant op system since the early 80's. Just recently began to offer a credible malaware fixer.

'Bout time to offer a registry fixer-upper. Just my opinion.

Edit: The Piri team could show them how, if need be. :P
The CCleaner SLIM version is always released a bit after any new version; when it is it will be HERE :-)
Pssssst: ... It isn't really a cloud. Its a bunch of big, giant servers.

#18 OFFLINE Winapp2.ini

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 07:31 PM

I just figured I'd bump this up so that its not totally lost to the sands of time.

#19 ONLINE login123

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 08:48 AM

Don't know what the "Forum Decorum" requirements are, but imho a good idea. :)
The CCleaner SLIM version is always released a bit after any new version; when it is it will be HERE :-)
Pssssst: ... It isn't really a cloud. Its a bunch of big, giant servers.

#20 OFFLINE Renea

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 08:53 AM

I've noticed many posts (seemingly more recently) about issues/concerns over using the CCleaner registry cleaner. I'm no "expert" but hopefully in this post I can clean up a lot of the issues people usually incur whilst using the registry cleaner.

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING TO THE REGISTRY, ALWAYS TAKE A BACKUP.
See the "tips" section for a link to ERUNT, a handy backup tool. Taking a backup of the registry is an essential part of maintaining it, as it will allow you to undo any negative changes you make. It is very easy to mess up the registry, and unfortunately if you don't have a backup, exceedingly difficult to fix. Taking a backup will allow you to fix any mistakes and save yourself a lot of effort.

Here are some posts by Jamin4u that may help you set ERUNT up (thanks for the links)

Setting up
Running ERUNT on Vista



I'm only here because I heard cleaning the registry makes the computer just like new, is that true?
This is actually an issue of much debate, but the general consensus seems to be that unless you remove thousands and thousands of keys from the registry, its not significantly smaller to be any more efficient at what it does. Thats not to say however, that a tiny performance gain wont be seen at all.. again, this is on the fence and noone seems to really agree on whether or not it does.

Is the registry cleaner safe to use?
It could be said that it is indeed safe to use, but unfortunately ALL registry cleaners have some element of danger behind them. While CCleaner does use methods of scanning that are safer than most cleaners, the best method of cleaning would probably be to manually pick through all the keys detected to make sure that they are indeed safe to clean, as well as taking a backup (and remembering where it is and what its named) so that if you fail to notice some important key, it can easily be restored by double clicking the backup.

I don't know what the registry is, should I still use this tool?
Probably not. The windows registry is essentially the central database used to store the settings for users, programs, and the system. Its not something that can be tampered with without at least some knowledge of what you're doing. This isn't to say the registry cleaner will definitely break your computer, and in most cases it is safe to remove the majority of keys CCleaner detects, however if you really have no clue what you're doing, and/or how to undo what you've done, I really wouldn't recommend you use this feature.

*For more information on what the registry is, and what it does, try the Wikipedia Article

How do I run the registry cleaner?
This is covered by the piriform documentation, and can be found: here!


Does cleaning the registry do anything?
Yes, it can and most likely will improve performance of your computer. This is not to say you should remove all the keys you see to gain maximum performance (see quote by Nergal at the beginning of the post)

The registry tool hangs at x%, why is this
First: give it some time. If your computer is especially slow, this can be the issue. The registry scan can be slow on some machines, but give it a few minutes or if its not pressing, try letting it run while you sleep. If it still hasn't finished over night, then theres a problem.
In that case, try un-ticking every box, then scanning each one one at a time. If you can scan them all individually, then good. You probably have many invalid keys and just need to clean it. If you find you can't scan a certain selection, try posting a query (see tips)

Help! I used the registry cleaner and now something doesn't work!
First and foremost, if you can boot into windows at all (this includes safe mode,) try restoring the backup you should have taken when cleaning the registry. After merging the registry keys you cleaned, and rebooting the computer doesn't work, its likely not caused by ccleaner, and you should try a System Restore. If worst comes to worst, try using a windows recovery disc or the windows recovery console to fix your system files without data loss, thus allowing you to rebuild whatever configuration was lost.

The cleaner keeps detecting a certain key, and its not removed when I fix the issue.
There are several reasons this could be.
1) The key is locked. CCleaner can't remove "locked" keys, and they'll have to be manually fixed (advanced users would want to manually navigate to the key via regedit and fix it them selves, novices may just want to leave the key alone if its not hurting anything.)
2) Your user account doesn't have the permissions to remove the key. CCleaner can usually remove everything you need it to, but in some cases a key will require Administrator privileges. If your account doesn't have this, either log onto an account that does or contact someone who can. Else, leave the key alone.

If neither of those apply, see this link or this forum post

Does cleaning Missing Shared DDL's delete any files?!
No, it only removes registry keys pointing to files detected as no longer existing. Again, this doesn't make it 100% safe, but you wont be removing any files if thats your concern.

I keep cleaning a "missing shared DLL" key, but it keeps returning, even when I remove it via Regedit
Its likely these DLL references are being re-created every time they are deleted and you should just leave them alone. However if it means that much to you, try looking up the DLL name to see what program it is associated with to confirm whether or not you really need it.

CCleaner removed the file association for *.*, how do I get it back?
Try these helpful downloads, they contain .Reg files that can be merged with the registry to return it to its default.

Windows XP

Windows Vista

(Thank you HazelNut for those links)






I think this is safe to remove?



Thinking is the same as not knowing, and it'd be best not to remove something that looks like it may be important.

Does CCleaner clean the registry, or repair it? Is there a difference?
It can be said that CCleaner cleans the registry. The difference between the two can be found in a discussion on this thread.

TL;DR of that thread;
Cleaning - Deletes unused / invalid keys
Repairs - updates unused / invalid keys with proper information to make them useful.

Does CCleaner defragment my registry? What is that anyway?
No, at least not yet, it may be in development though. Perhaps not at the same time, you'd have to ask an Administrator :P!

Defragmenting the registry is similar to defragmenting your hard drive. It removes gaps in the registry to allow the disc to read the registry files contiguously thus allowing faster access to them.

The registry tool reports "no problems detected," what does this mean?
It means CCleaner didn't detect any issues that it deemed worthy of cleaning. This isnt to say your registry is in perfect condition, but unless your an advanced user its best not to pursue it any further than CCleaner.

Is it possible to have the registry cleaner run and fix all issues autonomously?
No, and even if it were, why would you risk critical damage to your computer just so you didn't have to go through the hassle of sorting keys yourself? This would be a dangerous implementation in the program as it could hinder system stability (however unlikely) and will probably never be added.

How long do I have to keep the backups for? They're cluttering up the folder they're in!
I'd honestly recommend forever, and put them in a subfolder like My Documents\CCleaner Backups\ to keep things tidy. Keeping all your backups allows you to restore anything that may have been accidentally removed. If you're really pressed for space or you're 150% certain you dont need a certain backup, I'd recommend waiting about a week, maybe 2 before deleting anything, because once you delete those backups, they're gone (Unless you use a recovery tool like Recuva, which probably wont be possible if you delete some critical keys.)

Can I use registry cleaners other than CCleaner?
Yes, but support for them isnt given here, and you'll have to find them on your own. However; I cannot stress enough how important it is that you actually know what you're doing before playing with these tools. Also, when using them, be sure to take proper restore points and backups so you can undo any changes.

My other registry cleaner finds way more problems, even after using CCleaners, why is this?

CCleaner uses a lighter method of cleaning and is "safer" (term used lightly) than ones that dive into the deepest parts of the registry. You wont get support for those programs on this forum though.

I'm an advanced user, can you recommend some registry defragmenters?
This one is somewhat less risky, but often the registry's fragmentation rate is negligible. However if you really want to try, heres a few programs.

*This feature will never be included in CCleaner (most likely) as it does nothing for your performance.
Auslogic's Registry Defrag
Free registry defrag

Tips

*ALWAYS backup any changes you make to the registry
The registry is important, and your best friend. Don't hurt your best friend! you can use ERUNT to back everything up

*Before posting USE THE SEARCH BUTTON.
It can be found here and above and will often turn up results similar to your problem. Many times an issue can be resolved without ever needing to post.

*If you must post a query about the registry, make it as comprehensive as possible. State your operation system, CCleaner version and any involved keys (right click -> save to text file)
An in depth query will result in more accurate and timely responses from the community. Help us help you. Proper typing is a bonus too, remember this is an English forum!

*When posting, make sure you start a new topic. Often times old issues wont be looked at and if they are, you'll likely be told to start your own post.

*If you didn't find an answer in this, post a comment and I'll try to add it.
Always here to help.

I'll update this as needed/requested. :)



WOW that was a good post. Heres mine

Hello and good day;

Please I need some help. I'm new to computers and I'm 58 years old.
After getting my computer back from repair guy for a new motherboard.
I found out that he had downloaded this program "CCleaner".
I viewed it then called him and asked why and he said he liked it.

Ok Heres my questions
1. Should I use it or stay with my scan disk & defrag?
2. Will it make my computer run faster?
3. I also was told since I never use it to stay away from it.

I'm just afraid to try it....
I'm and old dog and it hard to learn new tricks. LOL
I would be so greatfull for any help.
Someone PLEASE be honest with me.

Thank you for listenting
Renea

P.S. Today Im going to open it up and clean out the dust