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Registry cleaners are third-party software programs designed to remove unnecessary entries from the Microsoft Windows Registry, particularly those that point to files that no longer exist.

Microsoft does not include a registry cleaner with its operating system, and the opinion of the company is that they are unnecessary and potentially harmful.

However, others claim that registry cleaners are useful in repairing inconsistencies that come about due to changes to Windows applications, particularly in programs based on the component object model (COM), which Microsoft introduced in 1993.

Due to the complexity of the Windows registry database, manually deleting redundant and invalid entries would be impractical, so registry cleaners offer a means of automating the process of looking for invalid entries, missing file references, or broken links within the registry, then resolving or removing them. These may include references to obsolete records linked to COM-based applications whose associated files are no longer present.

Potential problems associated with registry cleaners include the possibility of damage to the registry. A poorly designed registry cleaner may be unable to accurately determine the severity of the errors that it detects, categorizing harmless errors as critical, or identifying errors in necessary registry data. Removing or changing certain registry data can result in application errors and crashes of the operating system.

In some cases, registry cleaners have been identified as a vehicle for trojan application to install malware, or which function as scareware, identifying false problems with the registry that can be corrected only through the purchase of additional software.

Proponents of registry cleaners will point out that, while Windows may do a good job of keeping its registry up-to-date, it doesn't clean up after itself very well. As programs are installed, updated, and uninstalled, the registry can become littered with old entries that no longer serve a purpose other than to slow the system down. In order to ensure that the computer functions efficiently, it needs to be cleaned up periodically.

Although the need for a registry cleaner may be controversial, some of these applications have been in continuous use for many years, and their users swear by them. Before installing a registry cleaner, we suggest that you do your own homework to determine, not only whether it is a good idea, but which registry cleaner you are going to trust with the job.



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