Do Registry Optimisers Actually Work?

There is an unbelievable amount of registry optimizers available on the interwebs, many promising to boost the real-time performance of your Windows machine by organising registry keys and removing registry keys that may be invalid. This article aims to allow you to understand that for the most part, most of these registry optimizers aren’t worth your time.

Registry optimizers have always been somewhat of a placebo to start off with. You may stumble upon a advertisement on a website that advertises a registry booster / optimizer / cleaner and instantly your first thought is “wow, I’ve never thought of “cleaning” my registry, this program will make my computer fly!”. This is exactly the placebo effect that most registry optimizers will have on the end user. You’re made to think that it’ll make your computer faster and when you’ve ran the registry optimizer you may feel that things are faster, but in all honesty most registry optimizers are a waste of time and space.

The registry in Windows contains all of the appropriate information that applications need to run, preferences in Windows, Windows features, and hardware information and driver sources. If you were to go into the registry and delete keys left, right and centre, your machine probably wouldn’t start up again. The registry is a very delicate local web of information that is required for your machine to operate properly. This is why whenever you make changes to the registry, always back up the information, or even better, make a system restore point.

Here are the main reasons, why most registry optimizers do not work and why you should avoid using them unless completely necessary:

  1. Your registry does NOT need “cleaning”. A greater number of registry keys and / or invalid keys does not mean that your computer will slow down, fail or need anything more than a simple disk cleanup and a defrag.
  2. Registry optimizers have NEVER shown any real-time performance enhancements, your computer won’t start up faster, programs will not launch faster, editing video, photo or audio will not be enhanced. Notable Microsoft MVPs have also noted that registry optimizers do not enhance real-time performance (trust them, they know what they’re talking about!)
  3. They CAN cause damage to the Windows registry. Never mind trying to enhance your performance, these tools can stop your Windows installation from working properly at all.
  4. Many of these free utilities can be rogue applications posing as optimizers that could actually be something more sinister such as malware, spyware, trojans, worms and beyond. So BE CAREFUL what you download and install.

So all in all, most registry optimizers do not work, and I admit even I have thought that some may have enhanced general system performance (CCleaner’s built-in registry cleanup) when in matter of fact it’s simply the placebo effect kicking in or the fact that I may have simultaneously used disk clean up utilities (can speed up Windows as it means less work for the dreaded indexing service) and a defrag (the best thing you could do to enhance the disk performance after long periods of use, and multiple application and update installations and uninstallations).

Do not let this article discourage you from choosing how you enhance the system performance of your computer, but just keep in mind the points above which may help you choose the correct performance enhancing methods and utilities.