The Windows registry is not something you would tickle every day. When Windows fails to function properly, you need to clean up the registry, but dumping the wrong file during that process may cause the system to crash or become corrupt. So, in this article, we will show you three ways to safely clean registry on Windows 10 and 11.
Let us begin by defining what a Windows registry is. In essence, it is a complex database with information about the hardware and software on your computer. These entries can potentially land you in big trouble if not cleaned properly. Let’s dig in to understand more.
What Causes Registry Errors on Windows
There are several reasons why registry errors may occur. In most cases, errors are caused by the installation or uninstallation of the software. It often creates new entries in the registry when the software is installed. But when software is uninstalled, these entries aren’t always removed. This causes errors.
The buildup of junk files and invalid entries over time is another common cause of registry errors. These can be caused by a variety of things, such as improperly closing programs, installing/uninstalling programs without using the proper tools, etc.
Over time, as more and more entries are added to the registry, it can become bloated and inefficient. This can result in registry errors and may slow down the performance of your computer. So,
Create a Backup of Registry Files
As a precaution, before proceeding with registry cleanup, you should take a backup of the registry. You can use this backup to restore the registry to its original state if something goes wrong.
Step 1: Press ‘Windows Key + R’ and type the following command to open Registry Editor.
Step 2: Next, click on Yes to the prompt.
Step 3: Go to the File menu and select Export from the drop-down.
Select all of your export ranges to back up the entire registry. However, if you are changing a specific branch, you can make a backup for that.
Step 4: Select the location and name of the file and click on Save.
Sometimes when importing, you may see a registry editor cannot import file error, and one of the common reasons is the file’s location. So, we highly recommend storing this backup file on a flash drive or any external hard drive for safety.
Once done, let’s get to cleaning the Windows registry.
How to Clean Windows Registry Manually
Let’s discuss different ways to clean the registry on Windows 10 and 11. There are a lot of free registry cleaners but Windows also has its own built-in registry cleaners that you can use.
Note: All the methods mentioned below are the same for Windows 10 and 11.
1. Using Disk Cleanup
This tool is not specific to cleaning up registry files; however, it is a handy tool to clean up the leftover files from the registry and, by far, the easiest way to do so.
Step 1: Press the Windows key, type Disk Cleanup, and press Enter.
Step 2: In the prompt ‘Select the drive you want to clean up,’ select the drive where Windows OS (C:) is installed and click on OK.
The tool automatically calculates how much space can be freed on the selected drive.
At times, you may find yourself stuck in the calculating window. A simple cancel and restarting would work; if not, check out different ways to sort out the issue.
Step 3: Now, click on ‘Clean up system files,’ select necessary folders, and press OK.
You can checkmark all the options; just ensure that you don’t have anything in the Recycle Bin that you may want.
2. Use DISM to Clean Registry Files
DCIM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) is another tool/command in Windows that can fix updates and system errors. It can also fix broken registry entries. Here’s how:
Step 1: Press the Windows key, type Command Prompt, and click on ‘Run as administrator.’
Step 2: Now, type the following command in Command Prompt.
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
That’s it. The scanner will find and clean all the errors and sort them on its own. Mind you, not all the errors will pertain to the registry, but with this, you can fix issues you didn’t even know existed.
3. Clean Windows Registry using Third-Party Tools: CCleaner
If you’re a Windows user, you have probably already come across CCleaner, a popular Windows PC cleaner software. This freemium software does a bit of everything, from helping clear out cookies to dumping temporary files (also including registry files).
Note: If you are directly jumping on to this method, we recommend taking a backup of your registry, which we mentioned at the start of this article.
Step 1: Download and install CCleaner for free using the link below, and run it.
Step 2: Click on Start.
Step 3: Go to Space.
Step 4: Check all the boxes (Recycle bin, Temporary Application Files, and Temporary System Files) and click on ‘Back to Overview.’
Step 5: Now, click on the ‘Make it better’ button.
There you go. CCleaner will clean up your temporary files as well as your registry files. This software offers many more features, which you can explore on your own or check out our guide.
FAQs on Windows Registry Cleaner
No, as Microsoft does not support the use of registry cleaners.
Yes, as a fragmented registry directly impacts the performance of your computer and slows it down.
Cleaning the registry is essential to prevent your system from crashing or slowing down. For optimal performance, we recommend cleaning your Windows Registry every three days.
Get Rid of Registry Files Quick
Registry files play a role in running Windows properly, but they are also responsible for irregularities and system crashes. Having learned how to safely clean the registry on Windows 10 and 11, you may find it useful to learn how to fix the registry editor when the program stops working properly. Happy cleaning!
Last updated on 13 October, 2022
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Generally I would recommend using third party programs to clean up registry, built in
Windows tools are enough. Especially with CCleaner, since among it’s other problems it even once was used to distribute malware with installer. It used to be legendary piece of software back in the day. But if you absolutely must use something, Glary Utilities is way more comprehensive and fully free, no premium or pro features being locked out. But even for that, I wouldn’t use it to clean registry. Though it has some other useful utilities.
Also in modern day, defragmenting registry is useless, since you should have Windows on SSD and SSDs font benefit from defragmentation, since all locations on the can be accessed with same fast speed, unlike mechanical drives where head had to travel all around to find those fragments, which severely slows it down. And if you still have hard drive, get SSD, like even on older computers, regular SATA SSD s are compatible and will make even dated system way more responsive. And smaller SSDs are now cheap. And I am not saying you should throw that old mechanical spinner out, you can use it as second drive, if possible and it will even feel bit more responsive when it isn’t constantly being accessed by OS, since that created quite a bit of chatter to OS drive.
Plus registry mostly won’t slow system down, it is few MB of data and modern hardware can handle it with ease. However bad entries can cause errors. But mostly, if you don’t mess with it, I had seen basically no issues with registry since like Windows 7 and no really need to mess with it unless you want to set something specific or fix some value, which registry cleaners and defraggers won’t do anyway. They will only Wie jets they seem unnecessary, making kilobytes if change in extreme scenarios and defrag it, which won’t help in SSD.