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Information for people wondering about the registry cleaner

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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. :)

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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.

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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. :)

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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.

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

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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.

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

 

Glad this post was of use :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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...

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

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

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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

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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.

 

I think that is a legitimate answer for people who may think an extra registry purge is good.

 

I think it would be very much better to additionally warn of possible consequences.

 

If you use two different registry cleaners, regardless of whether CC is one of them,

then the second one in use will find the bits which the first one did not notice.

If some application is damaged you may wish to use the registry backups to mend it.

Perhaps both cleaners found issues as a result of a new upgrade to the application,

then you may have two different backups that need restoring.

If the second backup is restored first the system will be as it was after the first cleaner did its thing,

and then restoring the first of the backups will make the system like it was when it worked.

 

If instead you first restore the backup that was first created,

your system will be like it never was before.

When you then restore the other backup all registry damage may be cured, perhaps,

but since they are both working on the same part of the registry they will have overlapping interests,

and just possibly the backup that you merge last may undo some of the repair by the previous merge.

 

Conclusion, if you are using 2 different cleaners and creating two different backups,

you probably need to know the correct order for restoring the backups.

 

Alan

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NOTE: PIRIFORM STAFF AND FORUM MODERATORS SHOULD REVIEW AND EDIT/REORDER THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IN ORDER TO ASSURE ITS ACCURACY. OTHERWISE AND UNTIL THIS IS DONE AND ONCE THIS MESSAGE HEADER IS REMOVED BY SAID PIRIFORM STAFF OR FORUM MODERATORS, THEN THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

 

Piriform staff or moderators will not be editing or modifying this post as it would imply that it was to be followed and had been approved by them.

The post below reflects the poster's thoughts only on how to conduct registry cleaning.

 

 

 

 

 

Hi everyone,

 

I do have some recommendations with regards to using CCleaner to clean the registry:

 

If you are not familiar with the registry and are nervous about using CCleaner to clean your computer's registry, then it is a good idea to create a System Restore point just before you run CCleaner to clean your computer's registry. And of course you should let CCleaner export those registry entries to a REG file before you let CCleaner remove them.

 

Don't clean the registry if you suspect that your computer is infected with a virus and especially if you think that your computer is infected with malware. Why? Because security apps or removal tools for specific malware threats might not be able to fully undo the malware's damage to the registry if CCleaner has deleted specific keys.

 

A note about how CCleaner's registry cleaner works. CCleaner cleans the registry by using "tunnel down" approach. This means that CCleaner initially examines the more root or higher up keys in the registry for obvious issues. Once those keys are "cleaned" or removed, a subsequent CCleaner registry scan will now tunnel down and find other keys, related to the now removed registry keys, which should be removed. In other words, CCleaner is pretty smart in that it doesn't and won't try to clean everything at once. CCleaner basically throws up a "Stop" sign when it finds invalid higher up registry keys which need to be cleaned first. Once those keys are fixed, then a subsequent scan with CCleaner will tunnel down further in the registry to find related registry keys which now can be removed.

 

I always run CCleaner's "Cleaner" button scan in order to remove temporary files and other junk from the computer. Let's say you just installed a program. The installer most likely extracted its contents to temporary files and then these temporary files were executed in order to install the program. Once the new program installation is done and the computer has been rebooted if requested or recommended by the installer, then these temporary files are no longer needed and are just taking up space on your computer's hard drive. Thus, click the "Cleaner button" and get rid of the temporary files first, and then click on CCleaner's "Registry" button and scan the registry. The first thing you should notice will be registry entries which have the word or part of the word "temp" in the path. Those are registry entries which are pointing to those now non-existing temporary files. Obviously those entries are safe to remove since the program installer's temporary files no longer exist on your computer.

 

Have a close look at the registry entries which CCleaner wants to remove. Are some of those registry entries obviously referring to a program which you no longer have installed on your computer? If so then of course those entries are safe to remove. If you are not sure about the entry listed in CCleaner, simply right-click on the entry to view where it is located in the registry. You likely will find that it is indeed under a registry key with the uninstalled program's name or the program vendor's name. It should be relatively straightforward for you to determine that it is indeed safe to remove those entries.

 

If you are really new to using CCleaner's registry cleaner, then you might want to start off by cleaning only certain things first since CCleaner might present what appears to be a daunting list of invalid registry entries which should be removed, and then progress further. Under the registry cleaning options, uncheck everything. Now let's see what CCleaner finds when you progressively select specific registry items to examine:

 

Checkmark Unused File Extensions, Fonts, Help Files, Run At Startup, Start Menu Ordering, and MUI Cache

 

Scan and then zap them since these are very simple things for CCleaner to properly check.

 

Now checkmark Obsolete Software

 

Scan and see what is found, if anything. Note that some software programmers occasionally do create registry keys with either nothing under them or with seemingly unimportant information under them. Its a kind of security trick which is sometimes used in order to make sure that the software was legitimately installed by the software's registered owner. CCleaner should find, at most, only a few entries. Simply right-click on each entry in order to see where it is located in the registry and if you recognize a program name or vendor name for software which you know is presently installed on your computer. If this is the case, then in CCleaner you should right-click on the entry and create an exclusion for that particular registry entry. After several years of using CCleaner I have only come across two or three programs for which I have needed to do this. Thus it would be very rare that you would actually have to create an exclusion in CCleaner. 99% of the time you can simply let CCleaner zap any entries it finds in this category.

 

Now checkmark Installer

 

A scan with CCleaner will now report any invalid junk found which is related to MSI. Sometimes a program's uninstaller doesn't work correctly and the user is forced to manually uninstall a program. Or sometimes an installer for a program for whatever reason doesn't successfully install a program. The result is invalid installation entries in MSI, and this is what CCleaner looks for. CCleaner simply cleans up the MSI entries without actually affecting the installed programs on your computer. Zap the invalid entries. If somehow and later on you discover that you can't uninstall a particular program because it isn't listed under Add or Remove Programs, simply reinstall the program, reboot, and then you should be able to uninstall it -- unless of course there is some sort of inherent problem with the program's installer or uninstaller. An example of how this issue and invalid MSI entries might occur is after upgrading Windows 9X to Windows XP or Vista, or upgrading XP or Vista to Windows 7, but the user didn't first run Microsoft's upgrade adviser in order to find and uninstall programs which will be incompatible with the OS once the upgrade is done. Likewise Microsoft's upgrade adviser might not identify every program which could be incompatible. In any event and after the upgrade was completed, the user might find that they can't uninstall the older and incompatible program since the uninstaller simply won't run or since the upgrade process literally zapped the program's installer and/or uninstaller! Thus these are the types of issues which CCleaner looks for. Zap them.

 

Now checkmark Applications and Application Paths and scan for issues

 

This is another pretty simple thing for CCleaner to check. If you manually moved an application's installed location, at least CCleaner will show you what registry keys you need to edit in order to (hopefully) get the application working correctly! Yet computer users usually don't do silly things like moving folders under Program Files around to different locations on their computer's hard drive. So it is pretty darned safe bet to simply let CCleaner zap any erroneous entries it finds under this category.

 

Now checkmark Missing Shared DLLs and then scan for issues

 

If CCleaner lists registry entries for missing shared DLLs, then those are safe to remove unless for some reason you manually moved those DLLs to a different location! Nobody would do that unless they were trying to mess up their computer. Any missing shared DLL entries, if they list a full path to the DLL and the DLL's name, are safe to remove since CCleaner could not find the DLL on your computer at the specified location. In other words, the DLL is gone. This can happen if for example a user simply deleted an installed program's folder rather than running the program's uninstaller in order to remove the program or if the program's uninstaller was poorly coded. In any event, it normally is quite safe to clean these entries -- but there is ONE EXCEPTION, SO READ THE FOLLOWING CAREFULLY:

 

If for some reason CCleaner simply shows a single entry for the following registry key

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SharedDlls]

yet shows no data or description for the problem, then it is because a program's installer or uninstaller has erroneously changed this key's default value, which should be a string value from empty or "Value not set" to another type of value such as a dword value of 0xffffffff. The installer for one version of Eudora does this, and this is a bug in the installer, and you need to manually fix this issue in your computer's registry. Right-click on the entry in CCleaner and go to it in the registry. In the registry editor's left pane "SharedDlls" should be highlighted. Now in the right pane look at the data for the "(Default)" entry. I bet that it is saying something other than "value not set". Right-click on "(Default)" and click on Delete. That should then restore the data for "(Default)" to "(value not set)". Alrighty. You are done fixing that issue! Close the registry editor and then click the Scan for Issues button again in CCleaner. Now everything should be fine, unless CCleaner now actually finds any missing shared dll entries which should be removed. But note that now CCleaner for each entry will display both the type of problem as well as the associated data for the erroneous entries.

 

Zap them, but only if CCleaner is showing both the type of problem as well as the data for each listed entry.

 

Now checkmark ActiveX and Class Issues

 

Scan for issues and see what CCleaner reports. Sometimes security software will zap unsafe ActiveX controls yet not remove the registry entries for that ActiveX control from your computer's registry. Sometimes a user will manually delete the ActiveX control. I've done this once or twice, particularly with regards to browser toolbars or programs which when uninstalled don't always remove their ActiveX controls. The result is that the registry now contains information for a now non-existent ActiveX control. Let CCleaner zap these invalid ActiveX entries.

 

Similar issues apply for Class Issues. Again, let CCleaner zap any invalid entries. If CCleaner can't find the programs associated with the software class, then those programs no longer exist on your computer. Zap them.

 

This is one of those categories in which CCleaner might find deeper related issues once you have zapped the initial invalid registry entries and then run another CCleaner scan. So have CCleaner scan the registry again once you have zapped the invalid entries shown in the first CCleaner scan. That way CCleaner can now tunnel down deeper into the registry and then find other invalid registry keys related to those now zapped ActiveX and and Class Issues.

 

Now checkmark Type Libraries

 

Scan for issues and let CCleaner zap any invalid registry entries that it finds.

 

 

Well, there you have it! If this was your first time using CCleaner to clean your computer's registry, then you now have completed the process in smaller and easier to understand steps. After completing all of the above, every Registry Integrity category in CCleaner should have a checkmark next to it since you have now scanned and cleaned each of those categories. Now run a final additional scan. It should report no errors. If anything is reported, zap it and rescan again. If that same thing still is reported, add it to CCleaner's exclusion list since obviously a current program is immediately recreating that registry entry. Reboot your computer and of course after the successful reboot, create a new System Restore Point and give it a name such as "Registry cleaned. All is well."

 

From now on you can simply opt to leave everything checkmarked under the registry cleaning options since in the future the list of erroneous registry entries produced by CCleaner will be relatively short -- unless you have uninstalled a bunch of programs or ActiveX controls (perhaps related to browser toolbars which lots of free software seem to like to merrily install on your computer) or have done a bunch of Windows Automatic Updates which may have updated core software such as .NET framework, before once again running CCleaner. In other words, its a good idea to run CCleaner after uninstalling a few programs and rebooting. That way CCleaner will quickly find leftover entries from those removed programs and the list of erroneous registry entries will be really short and obviously related to the uninstalled programs.

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Probably one of the best "warning/faq" threads I've seen in a while. I've only ever screwed up my computer once with the registry clean up (re-assigned my user files), but it was a quick fix due to the fact that I ALWAYS back up any registry files I delete, edit, or fix. The backup files are under 500kb most of the time, better safe than sorry.

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