As an author of PCMech I download and try out a ton of software. Of course, this means not only installing but uninstalling as well which leaves behind a bunch of Windows registry crap in many instances.
My preferred registry cleaner of choice is CCleaner because a) it works and b) the price is nice (free). In fact my use of it has been since it was formerly named “Crap Cleaner”.
There are a few things I’ve learned in my use of the software that allows it to do a “better job”, so to speak.
1. Run after uninstalling of apps and a reboot
What I previously used to do is run CCleaner right after I would uninstall an app. I don’t do that anymore. Instead I will uninstall whatever app I need to, reboot the computer, then run CCleaner. This seems to work much better.
2. Run the registry cleaner multiple times until zero “problems” are found.
While in the CCleaner app, under the big “Cleaner” icon on the left is “Registry” underneath. I run that after running the Cleaner. However what I will do is run that, clean out the crap, then run it again. If it finds more “problems”, I will keep running it and “fixing” stuff until it finds zero “problems”.
To date, the most I’ve ever had to run it in a single sitting was 5 times. However I did uninstall somewhere in the neighborhood 10 to 15 large applications that left of lot of garbage behind.
3. Do not select everything under “Advanced” in “Registry”.
This might seem like a good idea at first but it isn’t. Granted, it won’t harm your computer if you put a checkbox in all that stuff, but you’re better off either leaving everything unchecked or only check the ones you need cleaned out.
The two I have selected there are “Old Prefetch data” and “Window Size/Location Cache”.
There are some that say messing with Windows prefetch is a bad idea, however when I’m installing and uninstalling as many apps as I do, it’s more or less required I have to clean it up. To note: I do not disable prefetch, but I do clean it out periodically.
Concerning application window locations, I periodically run into apps that take it upon themselves to move stuff around that I don’t want moved around; that’s the reason I have that cache cleared.
The #1 reason I use CCleaner is:
It keeps me from having to reinstall Windows every 90 days.
Before I found CCleaner it was guaranteed I’d have to reinstall Windows every 3 months – and did so routinely. It seemed that was the only way to get Windows running smooth again. After CCleaner I didn’t have to do that anymore.
To note: CCleaner is not the only thing I use to clean up my Windows. I do manually perform registry edits, inspect the hard drive for “leftover” folders from old apps and so on. However CCleaner does take care of the major stuff that causes most slowdowns in the first place.