How to Clean a Registry Safely

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

The Windows Registry is one of the most complex components of the file system of every computer system running under the Microsoft platform. It affects not only the behavior of the Operating System and installed programs but also on how the pieces of data are stored on the hard drive. Every time certain software is installed or uninstalled, a corresponding registry key value entry is created or deleted. This affects the integrity of the Windows Registry service. The frequency of this operation however may lead to orphaned file traces in the registry or broken links that may cause the file system to behave erratically; thereby, leading to a drastic slowdown or possible crashing of the computer. In the long run, the Windows Registry may become too populated with obsolete programs or entries that are no longer accessed by the user, all of which will negatively impact the computer system’s overall performance.

Materials Needed:
- Computer
- Microsoft Windows Operating System platform
- Web browser
- Internet connection
- registry cleaning utility
Step 1
Since it is virtually impossible to manually clean and optimize the Windows Registry due to its numerous entries, the best solution to safely clean the registry of unnecessary values is to download a competent registry cleaning tool. One of the more dependable and widely used in the computer market is the CCleaner. This is primarily because it is effective and free. To download and install this tool, open the Web browser and go to the website.
Step 2
Click on the download option from the website and follow the prompts. After completion of the installation process, it presents the user with basic configuration options. Make sure to check on the 'Automatically Download Updates' option to keep the program current.
Step 3
Open the CCleaner program. Before cleaning the Windows Registry, it is important to first go through its cleaning process by clicking on the 'Cleaner' tab. Click on the check boxes for the 'Internet Explorer', 'Windows Explorer', and 'System' options under the Windows tab.
Step 4
Click also on the 'Applications' tab and click on currently installed programs that you intend to clean.
Step 5
Click on the 'Analyze' button at the bottom part of the window. This will verify all the chosen components and identify potential problems.
Step 6
After completing the analysis, it will display in its window all the files which will be removed from the system. Review all files to be removed and uncheck any files you want to retain.
Step 7
Click on the 'Run Cleaner' button to begin the cleaning process. This will display a confirmation window asking the user if he wants to proceed. Click on the 'OK' button.
Step 8
Upon completion of the cleaning process, a summary of the actions performed will be displayed to the user. Click on the 'Registry' tab at the left side of the window to begin removing unwanted registry entries.
Step 9
Click the 'Registry Integrity' check box to select all components that will be checked by the cleaning tool. This will remove old, obsolete, and broken registry keys to optimize the Windows Registry.
Step 10
Click on the 'Scan for Issues' button to display a list of potential problems identified with specific Windows Registry key values.
Step 11
Click on the 'Fix Selected Issues' button. The user will be prompted if he wants to back up the registry. It is always a good practice to back up the registry before making any modifications. Click on the 'OK' button.
Step 12
The user will be asked for the name and location where the registry backup will be saved. After providing the necessary information, click on the 'Save' button.
Step 13
A new window will be displayed with the 'Fix', 'Fix All Selected Issues', and 'Cancel' button options. Click on the 'Fix All Selected Issues' button. It will display a windows prompt to ask for the user confirmation. Click on the 'OK' button to clean and optimize the Windows Registry safely.
Step 14
Exit the program after the registry has been cleaned. Do this process at least twice a month to maintain registry health.