Top 5 Freeware Registry Cleaners That Improve PC Performance
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Like disk defragmentation, registry cleaning has fallen by the wayside.

Back in the 90s and early 2000s, the Windows Registry What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] The Windows registry can be scary at first glance. It’s a place where power users can change a wide variety of settings that aren’t exposed elsewhere. If you’re searching for how to change something in... Read More used to be a performance bottleneck. Hard drives and CPUs were slow, the registry itself was poorly optimized, and that made systems slow to a crawl over time. Nowadays, hardware is so fast that it’s negligible.

And yet many still swear by registry cleaners.

If your system is old, you may get a performance boost from cleaning up the registry. It may also be helpful if you have a slow HDD. Or it might just make your system feel faster by way of placebo. But even if it is just a placebo, maybe the perceived gains are worth it.

The bottom line? If you believe in the power of registry cleaners Using Registry Cleaner: Does Is It Really Make a Difference? Using Registry Cleaner: Does Is It Really Make a Difference? Advertisements for registry cleaners are all over the Web. There’s an entire industry out there bent on convincing inexperienced computer users that their registry needs fixing, and that, for ten easy payments of $29.95, their... Read More , stick to one of the ones below. Many contain malware, while others don’t do anything. These, at least, have satisfied users.

1. Comodo PC TuneUp

Comodo PC TuneUp isn’t a registry cleaner per se — it’s an all-in-one tune-up utility that happens to include a registry fixing feature. Note that registry fixing is distinct from registry cleaning, and that’s why CPT is usually a safer way to go.

Top 5 Freeware Registry Cleaners That Improve PC Performance windows registry cleaner comodo pc tuneup

This tool only identifies and attempts to fix serious registry issues. It turns out that most registry problems, at least starting with Vista and beyond, are generally harmless. Instead of risking an accidental breakage in your system’s registry, CPT only acts when necessary.

Not to mention that this tool is developed by Comodo, a company that specializes in cyber security and computer safety. They have a solid track record, and I find them more trustworthy than most.

2. JetClean

JetClean is a nifty little all-in-one tool that emphasizes a lightweight approach. It isn’t bloated with unnecessary features like most PC optimization tools, and it’s surprisingly effective considering it’s been a few years since the app was updated.

Top 5 Freeware Registry Cleaners That Improve PC Performance windows registry cleaner jetclean

In addition to cleaning the registry, JetClean has four other cleaning features built-in: Windows clean (operating system junk files), Apps clean (installed application junk files), Shortcuts clean (invalid shortcuts to files and Start Menu items), and RAM clean (for memory leaks).

Other helpful features include startup optimization, internet booster, performance booster, and the ability to create a portable version that you can carry around on a USB drive.

3. Wise Registry Cleaner

Wise Registry Cleaner is a 2-in-1 app that cleans the registry and tunes up system performance. It’s extremely fast, thorough, and free to use.

Top 5 Freeware Registry Cleaners That Improve PC Performance windows registry cleaner wisecleaner

In terms of how many registry issues it found, WRC only did worse than JetClean. I like the simplicity of the interface, and the inclusion of a registry defragmenter is a nice bonus. If raw PC performance is your main concern, the System Tuneup feature will help.

You have the option to upgrade to the Pro version for $20, plus $15 per year after that. The Pro version adds multi-user cleaning, automatic scheduled registry cleanings, and more advanced options for boosting system performance and backing up changes.

As far as I can tell, you can only download this tool off of CNET The 7 Worst Places for Downloading Windows Software The 7 Worst Places for Downloading Windows Software Software can be packed with bloatware and worse, malware. You can catch malware, if you download your tools from the wrong source. These are the sites you should avoid... Read More .

4. Auslogics Registry Cleaner

Auslogics Registry Cleaner is the only app on this list that strictly cleans the registry only. The fact that it only focuses on one task may be why it’s so effective. And without other features to juggle, ARC is about as easy as it gets in terms of usability.

Top 5 Freeware Registry Cleaners That Improve PC Performance windows registry cleaner auslogics

Before diving into ARC, be aware of two instances of bundleware in the installer. First, it’ll ask if you want to set Yahoo as your browser homepage, and second, it’ll ask if you want to install Auslogics Driver Updater as well. Uncheck both and you’ll be fine.

ARC can back up your registry before applying changes, and restore the older version if anything goes wrong. It also has a feature for searching and deleting registry keys by hand (e.g. you’re infected with a virus and the removal process involves a particular registry key).

5. CCleaner

CCleaner in last place? Blasphemy! While CCleaner may be the go-to registry cleaner for many, I’ve found that it tends to be too aggressive. More than once I’ve scrambled to “unclean” something that it wiped away, and sometimes it was irreversible.

But if you’re careful, then CCleaner can be fine.

Top 5 Freeware Registry Cleaners That Improve PC Performance windows registry cleaner ccleaner

The free version of CCleaner is more than enough for casual users, but for $25 you can unlock CCleaner Pro. It introduces scheduled cleanings, real-time system monitoring, automatic updates (the free version demands that you update manually every time), and premium support.

Cleaning Windows Without a Registry Cleaner

If there’s one reason to avoid registry cleaners, it’s that they can cause unexpected system problems. Editing the registry is always risky How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry Working with the Windows registry? Take note of these tips, and you'll be much less likely to do lasting damage to your PC. Read More , and tweaking the wrong key can be catastrophic 5 Ways Overzealous Cleaning Can Break Windows 5 Ways Overzealous Cleaning Can Break Windows It's easy to go overboard with cleaning your PC. When you're cleaning your PC, be sure you know what you're getting into -- it's easy to break something. Read More . Always create backups first, but to be truly safe, avoid messing with the registry altogether How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother In most cases, fixing our registry will do nothing. Sometimes registry errors cause havoc after all. Here we'll explore how to identify, isolate and fix registry problems – and when to not bother at all. Read More .

Fortunately, there are ways to clean your PC without a registry cleaner How to Clean Your Windows 10 PC Without Using CCleaner How to Clean Your Windows 10 PC Without Using CCleaner Looking for an alternative to CCleaner for cleaning your PC? Here's an up-and-coming app that might be up your alley. Read More . I highly recommend our guide to cleaning Windows 10 The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide If your Windows 10 PC needs cleaning, here are the tools and a step-by-step process to get it squeaky clean again. Read More — it covers a lot more than the registry and will have your system in tip-top shape.

How do you feel about registry cleaners? Which ones do you trust, if any? Are there any good ones we missed? Share with us down below!

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  1. AJ
    October 1, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I've used ccleaner free for a lot of years, until last month, when windows defender picked up trojans from the last ccleaner update. Articles I've read about it indicated it was safe to download again, wrong, I downloaded it again and ran it through TOTAL VIRUS, the trojans where still there. (I use Total Virus for all my downloads before I install them) works great. Now I am looking for another cleaner.

  2. Full Moon
    September 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    the problem I've seen with these kind of programs,there's always another program lurking in the background that cause's more problems, why can't these companies prevent other programs from piggy back riding.

  3. DadCooks
    August 9, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Comodo PC TuneUp is not free, it is $19.95/year.

    This review appears to be at least a year old. How about really updating it and not just putting a new date at the top (the old comments give it away).

    CCleaner is really the best free registry cleaner and after more than 10 years of use I have never had a problem.

    Wise Registry Cleaner is real good too.

  4. Tamara
    November 17, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Wise registry cleaner is not available for Windows 98, just tried it.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 18, 2016 at 10:46 am

      This article is from 2009. Wise Registry Cleaner moved on. You'll have trouble finding software that supports anything older than Windows XP. Please upgrade your operating system or computer.

      Besides, registry cleaners are overrated. Don't waste your time with them.

  5. ROBERT
    July 21, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    MMMaaannnnnnnnn,

    . . . . . Wise Registry Cleaner actually worked(s) awesome ! ! ! I was scared (terrified) butt I allowed this program to open on my PC. Freekin blew me away !! Saved my _ _ s. In a moments time (less than a minute), my PC was(is) running like I can not even remember.
    Thank You for ALL your help . . . . . . . .

    • Tina Sieber
      July 21, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Robert. Must have been a super old computer. Meanwhile, we don't recommend using registry cleaners anymore.

      • fcd76218
        August 8, 2017 at 9:08 pm

        "we don't recommend using registry cleaners anymore."
        Then WHY run the article again???? Run out of material for articles? Clickbait? Or just for giggles?

        • Tina Sieber
          August 8, 2017 at 11:16 pm

          We're updating articles that are outdated, yet continue to attract a ton of readers. We don't want them to find old crap. And we still don't recommend using registry cleaners, at least not on new systems. We also make sure that the tools we recommend here are as safe as possible.

  6. Anonymous
    July 7, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Auslogics Registry Cleaner is good, i just download it, makes my pc faster

  7. Anonymous
    June 30, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Eusing better and Advanced SystemCare and Registry Recycler are good too

    • Tina Sieber
      June 30, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you for suggesting alternative software, Chica!

  8. Anonymous
    June 30, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Glary Utilites sucks, is only good if you buy it, the free version sucks

    • Tina Sieber
      June 30, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      It was good when it came out. Keep in mind that this article is 7 years old. That's ancient in technology. :)

  9. Anonymous
    October 21, 2015 at 9:24 am

    If the speed of your computer is slackened greatly or even crashes while running, you may need a tool called uFlysoft Registry Cleaner to clean the junk files as well as to optimize your system.

  10. Anonymous
    July 31, 2015 at 4:07 am

    I like this post .but according to me there are several free registry cleaners available for Windows, but very few you may trust enough to clean your Windows Registry. I am using TunePRO360 Registry Cleaner. TunePRO360 Registry Cleaner is one such registry cleaner and repair tool, I just came across, that you may want to check out

  11. Lisa
    February 19, 2015 at 3:20 am

    I agree with the Ccleaner utility as it had successfully clean the corrupt registry. But last week I tried one more utility Ninja TuneUp which had also worked successfully to clean away the crap files.

  12. DDRAMbo
    December 28, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Most of these supposed 'geeks' that say 'registry cleaners are snake oil' are idiots who have done very little programming, if at all, so they hardly understand what the registry is or how important it is to keep it trimmed of unnecessary entries. Claiming that it doesn't need regular maintenance is a bit like saying that your browser will continue to perform fine over time as it collects thousands of unnecessary cookies. Add to this the fact that Windows itself has gotten larger, more unstable and buggier over the years, and you have a playground for performance sapping, spaghetti code.
    The registry is rarely described as the main compendium of software and hardware assets and info, a scratch pad for Windows and other programs, and a hell of a large file before it gets peppered with thousands of new pieces of data, hidden or not, encrypted or not, well beyond the huge number of useless entries of the 'default' type. I've been installing software for many years on every version since 98, back when Microsoft admitted that this was an issue by putting out their own cleaning utility, which they eventually stopped updating. Why should they continue to focus on functions that are better performed by third part apps, and besides, weren't they just admitting that their amazing Windows product was bloated crap? After all, I've seen Windows stumble over itself doubly so when dealing with Microsoft's own programs such as Office to a greater extent than third party software from much smaller groups of coders. Besides, it would have been better in the long run if Microsoft had re-written rather than 'ungraded' the general structure of Windows (even though that would have caused more compatibility issues) instead of simply 'patching' in sub-systems. Microsoft is mainly a marketing dynamo, not a hive of genius programmers.
    I'm not saying that everyone needs a registry cleaner or that all registry cleaners are alike. Certainly some registry cleaners miss a lot of what I would consider important entries, and some include more features than necessary, but no computer that I've had to work on that was riddled with performance issues had an active registry cleaner, or any other kind of cleaner for that matter, doing important 'preventive maintenance cleaning', 'house keeping chores' or whatever you want to call it, of useless files and registry entries. The need for such a program is directly related to the amount you use your computer, even if all you do is type letters, peruse the Internet and play multimedia.
    A closely related issue is the use of uninstallers that attempt to clean up after a program is removed. Although I agree with the use of these also, there needs to be more care taken in this case since they are more likely to remove too much. Neither area of software tools has been well tested and documented, so caution is advised.

  13. Lisa Wayne
    December 12, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Personally I like Ninja TuneUp - it creates a backup of removed registry items and lets you delete old restore points, i never had any issue with it.

  14. Best Registry Fix
    December 28, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Thanks for this post - I really like using these tools and really hope I can get the most out of my PC with them.

  15. Ivan
    November 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Super post, Need to mark it on Digg
    Thanks
    Ivan

  16. Ben l Awesome Wallpapers
    November 24, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Great article. I personally prefer CCleaner.

  17. AFemmeGeek
    November 24, 2009 at 1:22 am

    CCleaner is awesome.

  18. Albert
    November 24, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Great post Tina! I have used CCleaner and Eusing for years with great results. I still haven't found a good program for finding empty directories that are SAFE to delete. If you find one please write about it!

  19. raj
    November 23, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Excellent topic. Thank-you.

  20. pthesis
    November 22, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    I've used both CCleaner and Glary Utilities without any problems.

    The one thing I would be careful with is the registry defrag apps. I forget which one I used once but it made my system unusable.

  21. Jack
    November 22, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Defrag your registry with NTREGOPT then Mark.
    If anyone doubts cleaning your registry has an affect, install then unistall Microsoft Office 2008. Then tell me what them 3000 + registry entries are still there for. I've been using Eusing for years, best IMHO.

  22. CGA
    November 22, 2009 at 10:19 am

    AML registry cleaner beats them all.

  23. Buffet
    November 22, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Why no mention of CM Diskcleaner? It's the only one, I've found, that does a comprehensive job, over time, but never deletes something it shouldn't.

  24. Kevin Reynolds
    November 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I'm not saying this is better then anything else, just that this is what I do.

    Every night I turn my computer off. Every morning, when I turn it back on again these two programs run: A1 Click Ultra PC Cleaner and RegVac Registry Cleaner. Both are from SuperWin.com. Both are solid performers. Both get a lot of junk. The PC Cleaner get all kinds of left over crap files and RegVac get all kinds of junk entries. They keep my system pretty tight.

    That's it.

    Kevin

    • Tina
      November 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

      Thank you for sharing your strategy, Kevin!

  25. JohnD
    November 22, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Ccleaner is fine. However, Auslogics Reg cleaner causes "stuttering" in Windows 7 using Nvidia drivers. It screws up the registry keys. Have not located which one yet, as I did a roll back. This is repeatable on 2 of my systems, so beware!

    • Tina
      November 22, 2009 at 6:10 am

      Thanks for the feedback JohnD!

      I'm on XP using an ATI graphics card, no issues here.

  26. Richard
    November 22, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Can anyone show me independent evidence that reg cleaners actually improve performance? Not the program makers sites - I mean independent auditable research from qualified experts! I've never seen any 'cos such research isn't out there! reg cleaners can crash your machine if you are not 200% certain of what you are doing ... don't use'em!!!

  27. uttaradhaka
    November 22, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Guys, you missed one. I use Glary Utilites. This utility is free and has everything you need. Plus, a registry cleaner AND a registry defragger. In my opinion this is one of the best freeware optimization utilities out there.

  28. gmonk
    November 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Here we go again . . . registry cleaners *do not* improve performance. All they do is remove a couple entries your registry. So what's the effect, reducing the file size by a couple of kilobytes at the most.

    • Tina
      November 22, 2009 at 6:21 am

      gmonk,

      invalid registry entries can lead to errors. In the majority they don't. If they do, however, system performance will suffer and a registry cleaner can fix these errors and as a result improve performance.

      So indeed, a registry cleaner is not an everyday tool to maintain system performance. It's a tool that should be used when system performance is bad and when errors accumulate.

    • Jeremy R
      January 20, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      They do not improve performance, they restore performance, over time your computer slows down and it will restore them to their former glory.

  29. Mark
    November 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Here is a little secret. Registry cleaning actually lowers performance because it becomes fragmented. :O

    • Tina
      November 22, 2009 at 6:06 am

      Mark,

      done regularly, registry cleaning may indeed not have a positive effect.

      But when system performance is at a low to start with and if there are unexplainable errors, registry cleaning may do wonders.

      http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2005/10/02/registry-junk-a-windows-fact-of-life.aspx

      http://www.edbott.com/weblog/archives/000643.html

    • Buffet
      November 22, 2009 at 8:42 am

      You need Diskeeper bro.

    • Jeremy R
      January 20, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      there are countless times I have ran into very slow computers, where all it needs is a good registry clean, the truth is every time you install, uninstall upgrade, shutdown reboot etc etc.. there are changes to your registry, left over crap etc, that just slows down your pc and with wise registry cleaner(my personal favorite) it WILL speed up your computer, come talk to me when you have used it on a old computer with over 3000 registry issues, and then tell me it does not make a difference.

  30. geeknik
    November 21, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Glary Utilities beats ALL of these hands down. This list fails for not even mentioning it.

  31. Aibek
    November 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I have been using Glary Utilities for the last week and love it. Highly recommended.

  32. Martin
    November 21, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks tina , what about shareware registry cleaners can we get your expert opinion on that i am using reginout

  33. Ali Qayyum
    November 22, 2009 at 12:36 am

    i used CCleaner but now i used RegistryLife -
    (alisoft7.blogspot.com/2009/11/registrylife-clean-and-optimization.html)
    Clean and Optimization your Registry it is awesome freeware. and boost my pc
    speed. you can also try

  34. Ray
    November 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Oh boy..... Once again you've done it Tina. Have you even tried Ccleaner? What do you mean you can't backup your registry?

    • Tina
      November 22, 2009 at 5:50 am

      Ray,

      as I explained to fosron, Ccleaner has no option to backup or restore the entire registry. It merely creates a backup of the changes you are going to make. That of course is sufficient to revert damages caused by a bad fix.

      You guys do have a valid point however, I should have explained this remark in more detail.

      • Ray
        November 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm

        OK. Fair enough :)

  35. fosron
    November 21, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    CCleaner does registry backup everytime you try to fix registry ;) Use it in first place, then talk about it :]

    • Tina
      November 22, 2009 at 5:46 am

      fosron,

      You are correct, Ccleaner does backup "changes made to the registry". But there is no option to backup or restore the entire registry.

      You can double click the "backup" Ccleaner made and the changes will be reverted. However, it remains a backup of only the changes made.

      Ccleaner actually is the tool I'm using.

      • fosron
        November 22, 2009 at 10:07 am

        oh, ok, misunderstandce on my side :] Sorry!

        • Buffet
          November 22, 2009 at 10:16 am

          There's no such word as misunderstandce.