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Last post Author Topic: Registry Cleaning Software  (Read 38040 times)

zridling

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Registry Cleaning Software
« on: October 11, 2005, 06:33:37 PM »
Not mine, but at InformationWeek Fred Langa has a nice review and test of ten Registry Cleaning Software programs. He points out common errors made by these apps, and as a spoiler, he likes the donationware program, EasyCleaner, which is simple, but quite effective.

     

Carol Haynes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2005, 07:14:58 PM »
A better link to Fred's article (avoids formatting problems in Firefox) is http://www.informati...?articleID=171203805

I must say I have abused my system with many registry cleaners over the years and have had many sad tales and total reinstalls as a result.

Golden rules I would use for registry cleaners are:

  • Full system backup (preferably an easily restored image type) before using a cleaner - then when your system won't reboot you can get back to square one quickly.
  • Only use a cleaner that has a built in backup and restore utility to manage changes made
  • NEVER use automatic fixing - if you use Custom Fix settings and look at some of the suggestions for automatic fixing you will soon find out why

I really respect Fred Langa (if you haven't subscribed to his newsletter you should, www.langa.com) but Registry Cleaners are to be used with extreme caution.

Fred comes down in favour of one tool in the article (jv16 PowerTools) and this is a very good tool which as he points out has the merit of consistency. However even this one has its limitations - be prepared to spend a long time checking its Custom Fix options, especially if you haven't cleaned your system for a while and enjoy installing and unistalling programs a lot.

My bad instalation/uninstall habits meant when I ran jv16PT I have over 1400 High Risk registry errors. Closer inspection showed huge numbers of missing files (most of which turned out to be applications recording recently access files) - many of which did not need fixing, and some of the suggested fixes would silently have introduced very odd effects in my system.

Out of curiosity I backed up my system, and also did a quick full registry backup so thatI could just restore the registry if my system booted but exhibited odd behaviour. I then ran jv16PT and just hit fix. The first odd effect I noticed was that I could no longer click on URLs in programs and get them to open in a browser window !!!

FWIW use ... but with caution, and extremely conservatively!

zridling

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2005, 08:00:15 PM »
I can vouch for your reservations. I used RegSeeker in a test ONCE and it cleared out so many entries that my system didn't recognize half my software. Aye, but there's the reason for backups, for sure! Fortunately, I imported and was back to normal.

rrtwister

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2005, 08:22:32 PM »
Any recommendations on what to use (preferably donationware and EASY to figure out how to use) for doing hard drive backup? I admit that I am guilty of never doing back ups in windows. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
I have an excellent memory.....now what was I saying ???

brotherS

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2005, 02:13:49 AM »
Any recommendations on what to use (preferably donationware and EASY to figure out how to use) for doing hard drive backup?
Please start a new thread for this, it's an interesting topic and not related.

brotherS

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2005, 02:30:15 AM »
I can vouch for your reservations. I used RegSeeker in a test ONCE and it cleared out so many entries that my system didn't recognize half my software. Aye, but there's the reason for backups, for sure! Fortunately, I imported and was back to normal.
That's very, very strange! It's rated 4.6/5 on http://fileforum.bet...gSeeker/1035382760/1 for a reason.

I never had a problem, using the options you see below and, as you said, it automatically creates backups. I convinced hundreds of newbies (no kidding) to try it and only one had a problem. Turned out later his PC was totally malware-infested (plus he had nasty problems before), so I don't blame RegSeeker at all.

Regseeker =  :Thmbsup:

http://img448.imageshack.us/img448/7743/regseeker0zf.png
Registry Cleaning Software

Carol Haynes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2005, 03:21:51 AM »
Any recommendations on what to use (preferably donationware and EASY to figure out how to use) for doing hard drive backup? I admit that I am guilty of never doing back ups in windows. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

See http://www.donationc...ckUpGuide/index.html

Carol Haynes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2005, 03:39:21 AM »
That's very, very strange! It's rated 4.6/5 on http://fileforum.bet...gSeeker/1035382760/1 for a reason.

I never had a problem, using the options you see below and, as you said, it automatically creates backups. I convinced hundreds of newbies (no kidding) to try it and only one had a problem. Turned out later his PC was totally malware-infested (plus he had nasty problems before), so I don't blame RegSeeker at all.

One of the problems is there cannot be a truly automatic way to clean the registry without some unknown effects.

Some software adds registry entries that appear to be wrong - these will be deleted by most registry cleaners on automatic, breaking in the application.

Some software adds dummy registry entries that appear to be obsolete - if deleted you will at best possibly lose your application settings and at worst stop the software working.

Every cleaner I have tried on automatic tries to fix missing files by searching your hard discs for them ... this can lead to all sorts of unexpected results - examples:

* one silly example is linking to missing "readme" files and help files.

* A brilliant example of this was when I double booted my system with Windows 98 and Windows 2000 a few years ago. The cleaner I was using (Norton Utilities IIRC) did a beautiful job of finding lots of missing files in my W2k system. Trouble was it linked all the missing files to W98 versions - took me ages to work out what the heck was going on.

* Another example is I have a piece of software which has a bug in the installer in that a file reference has a spelling mistake. I know this to be the case and edit the entry manually after the app is installed. Any cleaner would simply remove the "missing file entry" rendering the software completely unusable.

* Some of the most widely used software uses the registry in unorthodox ways ... MS Office is a prime example where it installs all sorts of links and dummies into the registry for addons and extras to latch onto when installed. You only find these problems when you try and use them - this may not be for weeks or months and the problem won't be associated with radical registry cleaning. I once had to do a complete format and reinstall of my system because of this as it broke MS Office 2000's installation functions - stopping me from installing, repairing or uninstalling Office at all.

NO registry cleaner is (or can be) perfect in automatic mode. You may not have experienced problems (in which case you are very lucky in my experience) or, more likely, you may have only experienced the problems some time later and lost the association with registry cleaning.

Granted having good backups (even just of the registry tweaks you have made) makes cleaning safer and reversible.

jpfx

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2005, 06:18:23 PM »
I use ace utilities http://www.acelogix.com/ and/or jv16 powertools http://www.jv16.org/.
Both are well rated, inexpensive and powerful enough to be dangerous. These are definitely appplications that require backups before use.
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mouser

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2005, 09:27:26 PM »
This point by carol bears repeating:
Quote
You may not have experienced problems (in which case you are very lucky in my experience) or, more likely, you may have only experienced the problems some time later and lost the association with registry cleaning.

this is what is so damn dangerous about using something like a registry cleaner -
you may cause a subtly problem that you don't notice for weeks or months... then suddenly you realize that double clicking on a pdf file results in a game of solitaire starting up.

mouser

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2005, 09:29:02 PM »
bottom line:
treat a registry cleaner like working with dynamite, be very very very careful with what you delete, and don't let it delete anything that you aren't convinced is really junk.  when in doubt, LEAVE IT in your registry.

i would go with the registry cleaner that is most conservative and least aggressive, and most able to explain what it intends on deleting and why and makes it easiest to decide whether something is safe to remove.

again getting back to carol's problem, a registry tool backing up your settings is not quite as helpful as it might sound at first.
because once you start installing new programs, you can't simply "roll back" your registry without breaking stuff you've done since the backup.
a good idea might be to run a full system backup (drive image),
then do your registry cleaning
then make a real effort to test your computer and make sure there are no issues.

and again, be conservative in cleaning your registry!



ps.
i've yet to see a single real quantitative report about the "gains" of having a "cleaner" registry.

having a clean registry brings peace of mind to those who like to "know" that their registry doens't have so much junk it in.

can anyone show me something concretely showing any real benefit from it though?

if not, then good advice is to treat your registry like that closet filled with spiders in the basement, just don't go in there.  let the spiders live in peace.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2005, 09:36:31 PM by mouser »

brotherS

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2005, 01:42:21 AM »
again getting back to carol's problem, a registry tool backing up your settings is not quite as helpful as it might sound at first.
because once you start installing new programs, you can't simply "roll back" your registry without breaking stuff you've done since the backup.
Well, the above mentioned RegSeeker does instead backup only the things you remove, so you can easily restored *those*, even if you installed new programs after the cleaning process.

Quote
ps.
i've yet to see a single real quantitative report about the "gains" of having a "cleaner" registry.

having a clean registry brings peace of mind to those who like to "know" that their registry doens't have so much junk it in.

can anyone show me something concretely showing any real benefit from it though?
Yeah, sure. It makes your system faster and I was able to fix Windows problems I had by using Regseeker, since it deleled entries that confused Windows and one program stopped crashing after cleaning the registry.  :up:

Quote
if not, then good advice is to treat your registry like that closet filled with spiders in the basement, just don't go in there.  let the spiders live in peace.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2005, 02:57:42 AM »
OK to prove a point I have been doing some experimenting.

I did a full system backup (using Acronis TrueImage 9) and also a full registry backup so that I can do an instant restore of all registry settings if things go reall pear shaped, I also added a system restore point.

I now ran jv16Power Tools 2005 registry cleaner. I used aggressive mode (simply because the only difference between the normal mode and aggressive is it looks at ActiveX controls).

As I said it found over 1400 High risk errors and quite a few of lower priority. This reflects the amount of installing and uninstalling I think more than anything else.

Deep breath - hit FIX and wait for a bout 10 minutes while it chunters about.

Reboot - and run jv16 PowerTools again - no further errors (which was impressive).

Everything at first sight appears to work fine and maybe marginally quick boot up.

I now ran a registry defragmenter (included in Resplendent Registrar). This reduces the size of the registry by removing space previously used by now deleted entries and does a bit of reorganisation to make the registry access more efficient.

Reboot again - definitely an increase in boot speed, and system seems a bit ore responsive. In particular an annoying glitch where Windows Explorer would occasionally go into dormant mode for a few seconds seems to have disappeared.

I have now been running the system for a couple of days and have been quite impressed that there have been no crashes. And I have been very good and not installed anything much new.

Now any gotchas .....

Surprisingly few, but so far these are problems I have found ...

  • I could not link to websites from within OutlookXP any longer. annoying but not life threatening. I ran Office Detect and Repair and that got things working again
  • I couldn't change my default browser to Internet Explorer or Firefox ... hmmm
  • ACDSee PowerPack 7 started behaving oddly (I noticed there were lots of entries in the faults list). A repair install (from Add/Remove programs) fixed the problems.
  • I have a Creative Audigy 2 ZS Pro soundcard setup. The sound still works OK but the remote control no longer works and some of the controls on the external module are behaving oddly. Also links to my Creative Zen Micro MP3 player have become unstable. Fixed by running the webupdate for my creative hardware at their website. This involved over 140Mb of download and about an hour of clicking installation boxes as 19 packages were reinstalled from scratch.
  • All extra keyboard buttons ceased to function (I have an MS Internet Keyboard with a row of extra function specific buttons)
  • Various things have gone missing from my add/remove programs applet ... notably Microsoft IntelliType and IntelliPoint software which won't reinstall until it has first been removed - which I can't do. Luckily I wasn't running the latest versions so I simply installed the latest version which overwrote the current drivers and reinstall the missing applet entries
  • Yahoo Messenger keeps crashing on startup - I have reinstalled it but it is still behaving badly, not sure how to fix this yet.

I haven't noticed anything else yet (but it is early days).

So far what I have experienced have been little more than minor niggles but if some drivers (keyboard/mouse) have been visibly affected what might be going on in the background?

Should I restore my backup to mitigate against future problems. I'm not too sure at the moment ... I am going to give it a while.

Any further cleaning related problems I will report back.

brotherS

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2005, 03:21:10 AM »
Wow, nice test! Let me make some suggestions, which you'll maybe just ignore, but anyway ;)

ACDSee PowerPack 7 started behaving oddly (I noticed there were lots of entries in the faults list). A repair install (from Add/Remove programs) fixed the problems.
Take a look at the free FastStone Image Viewer here: http://fileforum.bet.../detail/1106292852/1 It has LOTS of great options, including easy image editing. WOW! It's better than ACDSee IMHO... just install it and move the mouse cursor to all 4 desktop borders in fullscreen mode! I love that!  :eusa_dance:

Quote
I have a Creative Audigy 2 ZS Pro soundcard setup. The sound still works OK but the remote control no longer works and some of the controls on the external module are behaving oddly. Also links to my Creative Zen Micro MP3 player have become unstable. Fixed by running the webupdate for my creative hardware at their website. This involved over 140Mb of download and about an hour of clicking installation boxes as 19 packages were reinstalled from scratch.
I don't know if remote controls are supported too but everyone with a Creative soundcard should know about http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/intro.php - way better drivers with way better options.

Quote
Yahoo Messenger keeps crashing on startup - I have reinstalled it but it is still behaving badly, not sure how to fix this yet.
If you don't need those 'kiddy features' you may want to try Miranda for Yahoo, IRC and stuff - see my signature

:feedback:
« Last Edit: October 13, 2005, 03:23:30 AM by brotherS »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2005, 03:49:32 AM »
Take a look at the free FastStone Image Viewer here: http://fileforum.bet.../detail/1106292852/1 It has LOTS of great options, including easy image editing. WOW! It's better than ACDSee IMHO... just install it and move the mouse cursor to all 4 desktop borders in fullscreen mode! I love that!  :eusa_dance:

I don't really use ACDSee that often these days. I find their Canon RAW handling sucks (colours even with colour management are awful). Trouble is I have so many different viewers installed that I really don't want/need any more ... I'll take a look though.

Quote
I don't know if remote controls are supported too but everyone with a Creative soundcard should know about http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/intro.php - way better drivers with way better options.

I have tried kxproject a number of times on various cards and keep coming back to Creative's own drivers (even though they are a bloat fest and usually full of bugs). KX never seems to support all the options of these cards - there is always a long list of things still to be implemented.

Now that I have various devices which link into the same software suite I am reluctant to try different drivers (esp. as digital rights management is an issue).

Quote
If you don't need those 'kiddy features' you may want to try Miranda for Yahoo, IRC and stuff - see my signature

Trouble is I have few friends who only use Yahoo (and won't swap). Plus my ISP (BT Broadband) allows free phone calls via a plugin for Yahoo Messenger called BTCommunicator.

Actually I suspect it is that plugin that is causing all the hassle!

Cheers

brotherS

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2005, 05:05:49 AM »
Quote
I don't know if remote controls are supported too but everyone with a Creative soundcard should know about http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/intro.php - way better drivers with way better options.

I have tried kxproject a number of times on various cards and keep coming back to Creative's own drivers (even though they are a bloat fest and usually full of bugs). KX never seems to support all the options of these cards - there is always a long list of things still to be implemented.
Ah, too bad :( I never missed a thing...

Quote
Quote
If you don't need those 'kiddy features' you may want to try Miranda for Yahoo, IRC and stuff - see my signature
Trouble is I have few friends who only use Yahoo (and won't swap). Plus my ISP (BT Broadband) allows free phone calls via a plugin for Yahoo Messenger called BTCommunicator.
Free phone calls are nice to have :) But did you know that you could actually USE Yahoo with Miranda? And also IRC, ICQ, Jabber, Google.talk, AIM, ...?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2005, 06:51:21 AM »
Trying Miranda - your link doesn't work by the way (either page doesn't display or I am told connection was refused).

It is certainly minimalistic - perhaps a bit too much for me, but it is nice to have different networks in one interface.

brotherS

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2005, 07:38:55 AM »
Read on here about many things you never knew before and always felt like you need to know them:

http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=1201.0

Thx!  :up:

m_s

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2005, 08:38:29 AM »
I followed Mr Langa's advice: ran Easy Cleaner and then JV16 Powertools.  Lo!  I had problems.  I restored backup created by each program, and all is back as before.  I was using the lowest level of cleaning - sorry, forget what it's called, but the least aggressive setting...  I run CCleaner's 'Issues' module every month or so, and I think that's plenty for me.

clif_notes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2005, 12:16:55 PM »
Hi all,

Oh, man! I'm going to write Fred to tell him about this.  Carol, that was an amazing report you gave us.

Like many of you, I've used many reg cleaners in the past. I did indeed have problems from RegSeeker once, but the program has since improved. I've been using EasyCleaner for years now with very few problems. I agree with Fred, it's the best.

To be honest though, I rarely run it.

This is a great forum. I can always find something new and the people posting here really know software. Thanks to all of you!

Devoted to promoting freeware and free information

clif_notes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2005, 12:28:17 PM »
I did write Langa about this and I also published a Note about it.
See Take it easy on the cleaner.

(Mouser: did it generate many peeks at this thread?)

Devoted to promoting freeware and free information

Carol Haynes

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2005, 04:50:35 PM »
Thanks for letting me know .... now it's time for arm wrestling with Fred ;)

mouser

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2005, 05:00:12 PM »
you can see exactly how many views of teach topic from the forum group section.

GHammer

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2005, 08:43:57 PM »
My own take is that a registry defragmenter is useful, but really, cleaning the registry?
Any stat on how much room in kb is being saved? And, without a reg defrag, the space is still allocated, just has no entry. I wouldn't expect that would speed anything up as the tree is still X size.

I share Carol's opinion and experience, I've had very lousy results with registry cleaners/doctors/fixers. And many of them show up much later.

brotherS

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Re: Registry Cleaning Software
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2005, 02:23:28 PM »
My own take is that a registry defragmenter is useful, but really, cleaning the registry?
Any stat on how much room in kb is being saved? And, without a reg defrag, the space is still allocated, just has no entry. I wouldn't expect that would speed anything up as the tree is still X size.
I can't explain it, I can just say that I saw benefits after registry cleaning and before ever running a registry defrag tool :)