People with lower-spec computers often find themselves victims of scams that claim to make their computers faster. Registry cleaners are the most popular. They constantly claim to make your system better after you’ve given the registry one good hard sweep. Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I don’t care how many times someone tells you that their computer miraculously rose from the dead because a couple of keys were organized within the registry. I will still tell you that it’s all just a massive sham, because that’s what it is.
There’s a purpose to registry cleaning, but we’ll discuss that later. First of all, let’s dive into why they don’t make your computer faster.
So, Why Doesn’t Cleaning The Registry Make Windows Run Faster?
First of all, most people fall for this gimmick because they don’t understand what the registry is. Let me explain: Your registry is the backbone upon which all programs rely. It’s how your computer knows what to open a PDF or a JPEG file with. When you open a program that you installed, Windows searches through its registry to find out where the program’s essential files are. When a program relies on a DLL file, it searches the registry for its location. Everything that runs asks the registry for some stuff at one point or another, with a few exceptions.
The registry, despite its importance, isn’t a huge part of your operating system. After backing it up, you’ll see how big it actually is. When I last backed up my registry, it was 407 MB in size. That’s insanely huge compared to a normal registry, chiefly because of the fact that I have hundreds of enormous and complex programs installed. On your average computer, the registry is – at most – about a quarter of this size (~100MB).
So, even if you loaded the entire registry onto RAM, you would only take a small fragment of it. Of course, the registry has no place in your RAM. It’s stored in a special place on your hard drive that’s accessed just when needed and that’s it. Cleaning it basically does nothing to improve your speed in any way. Even on a 1 GHz single-core CPU, it would take a few seconds to flip through the entire registry and pull up a value. It takes less than a few milliseconds, usually, for a program to fetch a key from a path without iterating its entire structure. Go figure!
What Are Registry Cleaners Good For?
Sometimes, you get some error on your computer that some shortcut no longer exists, or an associated file type is no longer found. Repairing and cleaning up your registry helps get rid of this stuff by organizing it. Think of the registry as a library directory, with all the books within its database. Unlike a library directory, a Windows registry cannot know whether a “book” no longer exists or no longer has a purpose. This can create problems. Cleaning the registry usually fixes this issue. Other than that, your registry cleaner isn’t good for anything. A word of warning, though: Registry cleaners advertised on the Web are often pieces of malware that will just infect your computer with a bunch of useless junk. If you’re not sure what you should get, just stick to CCleaner. It cleans up your hard drive and your registry.
If you’ve got any questions or anything to add to this discussion, leave a comment below!