The Registry is a file on a Windows based personal computer system that even to this day is a mysterious thing that is unfathomable by the common user. It is one of the most highly maligned and misunderstood of all the components of the Windows operating system. Yet, it is something, without which your computer system is nothing but a useless box.
Before understanding what a Registry Cleaner is, it is important to understand what the Registry is itself and how and why it requires to be cleaned at all.
The Windows Registry is actually a database that is hierarchical, that is, it stores data in an organized tree-like structure where the data is stored using a parent-child relationship. Each parent can have multiple children but each child can have only one parent. This, in computer parlance is also called a one-to-many relationship.
In the early days of the computer, settings for each software application used to be stored in a text configuration file and therefore, you had a clutter of configuration files spread all over your computer's hard disk and often fragmented in many pieces. The Windows Registry was born precisely to overcome this problem by consolidating all these settings in one place for all software applications that you installed on your system.
It is also common knowledge that accessing data from a database is infinitely more than having to parse a text file and getting that same data out, which is why there is a Windows Registry file on your computer system. However, just having a Registry file sitting on your system will not guarantee your system will perform quickly or flawlessly for that matter.
Besides containing application settings, the Windows Registry file also contains information for all the Dlls, Active-x components and believe it or not, even Spyware software settings and Keyloggers that will register themselves just so that they can also start up with your operating system and be privy to most of your personal and private data.
When you uninstall any software application, most times, the uninstaller program fails or simply ignores to clean up the entries in the Registry resulting in a lot of useless information that the system tries to chase each time you start your system up or perform a reboot. Over a long period of time, the Windows Registry file is so disorganized that it shows up in the performance of your computer which gradually slows down considerably. Even your internet browsing experience is affected and you find that your connection slows down.
It stands to reason there because if you clean your Windows Registry, there will be a definite improvement in its performance and speed. Which leads us to the topic of this article – What is a Registry Cleaner and do you need one?
A word of caution before you attempt to do anything with your Registry file is to create a backup because if for any reason your file is corrupt, chances are, you will not be able to do anything with your computer system and you will lose all your data as well. The safest and best way to create a Registry backup is to create a System Restore Point that is available as part of your Windows operating system.
It has been authoritatively established that in an ideal situation, there is really no great benefit to be obtained from cleaning up the Registry, simply because Windows loads up the Registry into a space in memory and then accesses this when needed. So deleting a few keys and stranded dll files will not produce any magic to make your system go fast. Having said that, there are a few descripting cases for cleaning the Registry for instance, when any software that you have installed does not function as required, or when certain applications do not uninstall themselves properly or completely, then cleaning the Registry will at the very least ensure that there are no hiccups when using your computer system.
The bottom line therefore is to exercise prudence and not use a Registry Cleaner software because you can never predict what mess you can get into using some low-end cleaning software. As long as your system is working there is no need to fix it.