The registry is a very important part of any Windows Operating System. The registry is responsible for holding information for other programs and software. But as you install and delete programs the registry does not keep up with all those changes and these keys and values that hold information about those programs can stay in the registry. This clutters up the registry, and like any other part of the computer, it slows down when it gets cluttered. This clutter can be, but is not limited to invalid entries, broken links, and missing file references. Due to the sheer complexity and “size” of the registry, this clutter can number in the tens of thousands of problematic entries. Imagine trying to fix all of that yourself! Attempting to manually fix all of these entries would take days if you were fast and knew what you were doing, so manual correction is not an option.
That brings us to a handy program called a registry cleaner. You might have heard of these programs, controversial as they may be. But before you go out and download one there are a few things you need to consider. A poorly built registry cleaner can cause problems, such as system instability, and loss of functionality. But don’t let this scare you off! There are a lot of third party registry programs out there that can not only removal problematic entries and values, but can also do things such as defragment the registry, and back up the registry so if it becomes to corrupt it can be restored quickly and easily.
Supposedly the .NET framework is supposed to change the way programs function, and make it so that they do not save applications settings on the registry, but even though the .NET framework has progressed quite a bit since the original .NET Framework has been released, there is still a need for registry cleaners.
Registry Cleaners cannot do everything though, in some scenarios they cannot delete or remove certain data. In the registry certain keys cannot be deleted normally because of imbedded null characters in certain registry keys. In this case you will need a program called RegDelNull. Up until 2006 this could be found as part of Winternals, which is a brand name for Windows Sysinternals. This has been log since integrated into the Microsoft Technet, and is not called Winternals anymore.
There are many registry programs out there, so when you use one, you need to be careful and make sure that you are using a reliable registry cleaner. Before you install and use a registry program you think should help you out, be sure to check around and make sure the program does what it’s supposed to.