You can manually repair the registry with Microsoft’s regedit.exe invoked from the command line. There are many utilities to automatically find and fix problems. They usually have free trials that will detect but not fix anything. Before trying any of this sort of software, do a full backup. If it fails, you may have to reinstall Windows and all your applications from scratch.
I find the registry cleaners find the most junk after you have uninstalled software. Uninstalls tend to leave behind a lot of crud. Registry cleaners just clean the registry. You have to clean out the remaining files and directories manually. Do that before you run the registry cleaner, since it can then delete dangling references to those deleted files.
|Registry Fixup Utilities|
||Download||OS (Operating System) es supported||Notes|
|RegClean||XP, W2003 and Vista||Nothing to configure. Does not let you configure what to scan or what to leave intact. I wrote them asking for clarification about Windows 7 support. They responded rather oddly by saying they would not tell me until I had purchased the product. Has a quite confusing registration process. It seems to want you to provide a serial number before you purchase. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-16|
Avanquest Registry Utilities
|trial discontinued||W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32 and W7-64||It gives some fairly good detail about just what is wrong with the entries it finds. It prioritises how important the damage is. The trial version will find errors but not fix them, so I could not can’t test it properly. It includes a registry compact/defrag. It gives a better than usual progress display. It has a feature to block individually-specified ActiveX quasi-Trojans. Though this utility is bare bones, Avanquest sells dozens of other related utilities. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14|
|IOBit Advanced System Care||W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32 and W8-64||This is a comprehensive suite that includes a registry cleaner, most of the Ace utilities and a virus checker. The registry cleaner found 1300 more dud-entries that any other. It has tool to detect and update out of date drivers. It even has a hook for their free defragger. The disk analysis tool was rather lame, but the other tools were better than average. It has an overly complicated menu structure, (you can rarely get back to where you were), but it asks very few questions, too few. For example when it finds viruses, (including code to reboot in a bat file), they do not give you the option of selecting which dangers to fix. The registry fixer is somewhat overly enthusiastic. It deletes record of the last directory you used to load/save files in various apps. They also sell a number of smaller bundles, some of them free. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14|
|Regzooka||W98, Me, NT, W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32 and W8-64||By Cyberlab. Found 813 more errors than Ace. Extremely slow. It is probably the slowest scanner I have ever used. The user interface is cheesy looking, reminiscent of the ads in the back of cheap magazines. They take a wide selection of credit cards and PayPal. It can also compact and back up the registry. The trial will just scan. It will not fix any errors or make any changes to your hard disk. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14|
|Ace Utilities||W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32 and W7-64||Includes both 32 and 64-bit versions. This is what I was using personally. Found a whopping 713 problems in my test. It found another 123 when I turned on the thorough mode option. Designed for the experienced programmer. Registry repair, basically finds broken links and lets you either manually repair them or delete them. It will invoke the regedit for you on any problem it finds to let you hack a fix. Has a feature to clean out broken uninstalls. It found 58 junk entries that IOBit Advanced System Care missed. It includes an autorun manager, find duplicate files, remove junk files, delete (but not fix) broken shortcuts, secure delete, find empty folders, disk space analysis, empty directory finder. Not for the novice. For example, you could badly screw up the universe if you willy nilly deleted empty folders. I bought it and gradually came to trust it and now I have it set up to automatically once a day clean my registry in thorough mode without confirmation. It has not screwed anything up yet. I used it successfully without incident under W2K However, under XP I suspect it may have been too eager. It destroyed registry entries that stopped Acer NTI (NewTech Infosystems) backup and DVD/CD maker from working. It also blew Visual C++ Studio out the water I re. Acer restore undid that mistake and NTI started working again. However, under Vista, Ace destroyed a crucial registry entry that made the machine unbootable. It took weeks to get it working again. I reported these problems to Ace and they issued a new version and I have had no problems since. It is important to configure the junk file deleter before use and to review the files before OKing the delete. The default settings are rather cavalier. It has an expert mode that lets you prune even more. Go to the main screen. Click Menu ⇒ Click Settings ⇒ Click Configuration Wizard ⇒ Click Next (It is hidden under the checkpointing), ⇒ click Turn on expert mode. It can also compact the registry. Latest version 6.1.0. Last revised/verified: 2016-01-11|
|Max My Speed||Secret||aka Cyberdefender. Advertised on TV as a virus remover Trojan remover, tweaker, remote repair service and registry cleaner making extravagant claims of 100% speedup. In actuality, it is just a no-frills registry cleaner. It found 227 more problems than Ace. To its credit, it found missing entries as well as unnecessary ones, unlike most cleaners. If you navigate away from the page, they will give you a discount. They take four different credit cards, No PayPal. they offer a virus checker for extra. To uninstall it, look for Cyberdefender. Because of the dishonesty in the advertising, I do not recommend this product. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14|
RegCure Registry Fixup
|W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32 and W7-64||Found 700 errors in a newly installed Vista system, mostly empty registry keys and fragments left behind by programs that did not fully uninstall themselves. It also has an autorun manager. Very easy to use. Trial version detects all classes of error, but fixes only two. It claims to clean up DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries) and broken Java installs.. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14.|
|SysTweak Advanced System Optimiser||XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32 and W7-64||Found 130 problems in my test. Does registry repair
plus a lot more. Designed for the novice. details.
|Tuneup Utilities 2013||XP, W2003, Vista, W2008 and W7-32||This is a very comprehensive set of utilities with a beautifully done user
interface and polished graphics. This is aimed at the
naïve user who wants a simple automatic program that
does not ask a lot of technical questions. Among other things it does the
|Regdefense||W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008 and W7-32||By Xionix. Found an astounding 5327 more errors than Ace, mostly in the COM/ActiveX region of the registry. Quick. They take MasterCard, Visa or PayPal. It has no registry compactor and just a rudimentary autorun manager. The trial will just scan. It will not fix any errors or make any changes to your hard disk. Further, they will not give you any details about the errors it allegedly found. You have no way of knowing if they are just blowing smoke. They change their story about the price, bait and switch. They also hint they will take an additional Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14|
|PCMatic||for a one-year subscription.||XP, W2003, Vista, W2008 and W7-32||By PC (Personal Computer) Pitstop. The trial just runs scans, but does not fix anything. It finds all manner of things to tweak, from needless startup programs to DNS (Domain Name Service) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) tweaks. It is designed to be used by novices. It has don’t-worry-your-pretty-little-head-about-that attitude. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14|
|Uniblue Powersuite||W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32 and W8-64||By Uniblue. Found 90% of the problems Ace found. It is unusually quick. It can also defrag the registry, but does not compact or optimise its order the way NTRegOpt does. Its big plus is it is Microsoft certified and marketed by the WinZip people. This is reassurance it won’t do serious damage. It improperly deletes Java preferences entries. It is confused by Java’s goofy /-notation to mark capital letters. The graphics and the website are beautifully done. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14|
These programs don’t actually repair the registry. All they do is mindlessly delete damaged or useless entries and leave it up to the programs that use them to rebuild them or you to manually rebuild them for example by reinstalling software, or by setting up your extension associations again. However, the good news is this brute force approach seems to cause very little in the way of problems. The benefit is mainly psychological getting rid of the trash. It does not make a big difference to performance.
None of these utilities were able to fix my broken Java installation registry entries that were stopping me from either reinstalling Java or uninstalling it. I would have to write my own specialised tool for that. None of them offered me a search function through the problems to look for the ones likely causing the problem I want to fix.
I suspect many of these registry fixers are actually almost the same product marketed under different names to give the illusion of competition. I am baffled why there are so many of them. Why waste time creating yet another entry in an over-crowded market? They are a fairly simple genre of program to write. Perhaps that is why. I would take any reviews with a large grain of salt. I don’t have much faith in a company that refuses to tell you up front how much their product costs, or who try to trick you into thinking it is free.
Symantec has discontinued PCTools RegistryMechanic.
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