registry cleaner : Java Glossary

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registry cleaner
sometimes called a registry fixer or registry scrubber. The term registry fixer is misleading. All these utilities do is remove defective entries. They don’t repair them. The structure of the Windows registry is complex. It tends to become corrupted and filled with deadwood. An entire industry has grown up to fix the damage. See this review of review of registry cleaners.

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
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Download OS (Operating System) es supported Notes
RegClean RegClean $20.00 USD trial 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
Avanquest Registry Utilities
$30.00 USD 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 Systemcare IOBit Advanced System Care $30.00 USD trial 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 Regzooka $30.00 USD trial 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 Ace Utilities $30.00 USD trial 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 $40.00 USD trial 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 $20.00 USD discount. They take four different credit cards, No PayPal. they offer a virus checker for $30.00 USD 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
RegCure Registry Fixup
$40.00 USD trial 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 logo SysTweak Advanced System Optimiser $40.00 USD trial 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.
  • Clean out the registry of deadwood. This shrinks the registry, making it faster. It also gets rid of most of the deadwood in the list of programs that won’t uninstall but whose files have been manually removed.
  • Defrag the registry, similar to defragging a disk to put it in order for fast access and collect the scattered bits of it together.
  • Get rid of junk files, much like Norton Clean Sweep, but easier to understand and configure and with several options so you can back out selectively if you remove too much.
  • An autorun manager utility like Startup Cop to stop programs from autostarting at boot time. It has a database to tell you what all the programs are and whether they can be safely deleted.
  • System information, like Norton SI (Systèm Internationale (metric)).
  • Optimising advisor.
  • Secure delete, like Norton Wipe.
  • Find duplicate files (quite slow).
  • Repair damaged Zip files.
It is a remarkably safe tool in the hands of a novice. The only thing they could get in trouble with is using an unconfigured file deleter, which could wipe out valuable files. The trial version actually fixes problems, so you can truly test the program for compatibility and safety. More detail. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14
Tuneup.com logo Tuneup Utilities 2013 $50.00 USD trial 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 following:
  • The registry cleaner found 297 problems, mostly old history. Unlike other registry cleaners it tells you in fairly clear English why each entry it has found is invalid. You cannot configure it to permanently avoid removing dangerous entries.
  • It has a registry defragger that does not require reboot.
  • utilities to simplify and enhance the Control Panel functions.
  • Disk cleaner, very simple, not configurable.
  • Disk space analyser.
  • It optimises TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) connections including tweaking some obscure settings in IE (Internet Explorer) and Firefox.
  • It has a file or folder shredder for secure delete. It does not however wipe free space of already deleted files.
It was made in Germany. Last revised/verified: 2012-11-14
Regdefense Regdefense $35.00 USD trial 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
PC Pitstop logo PCMatic $50.00 USD for a one-year subscription. trial 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 Uniblue Powersuite $60.00 USD trial 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

Downside

None of these programs caught everything. Each caught dozens of problems the others missed. To do nail everything you would need to buy all three, Ace, Registry fixer and ASO (Advanced System Optimiser).

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.

Abelssoft Registry Cleaner
Ace Utilities: registry repair and broken shortcut deleter
Avanquest Fix-It Utilities: registry repair
defragger
NTRegopt: registry compactor
PageDefrag
PerfectRegistry
registry
Registry Mechanic
Registry Poker: Student Project
Regmon: (free program to monitor what programs are doing to the registry)
Review of Registry Repair Utilities: may be biased
Review of Registry Repair Utilities: may be biased
SysTweak ASO: registry optimiser and fixer
TCP Optimizer
Willing Software: corrupted registry repair service
Xoft Spy

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