How to Clean Up a Registry for Free

by Carol Luther

The Windows Registry stores details about your installed software programs, user preferences, files and hardware. Over time, various software actions and user activities can cause registry bloat or malfunction. Although Windows has a built-in utility, RegEdit, most users find that they get better results and save time by using a free registry cleaner. Cleaning your registry can speed up your PC and resolve many mysterious system glitches.

Microsoft Corporation Tools

Microsoft's One Care software has a registry cleaner along with various other utilities to track your computer's security and system health. Microsoft charges users for this program. However, you can download a fully functional trial version. If you find the One Care software package useful, you can purchase it after your trial period ends. You can also run the registry cleaner alone online without paying a fee. Both options can remove outdated data, broken shortcuts and orphaned DLLs. These are reliable, safe ways for anyone to clean the Windows registry. Microsoft recommends that you set a System Restore Point before you start its online registry scanner. Open the "Control Panel" and select the "System" icon. Choose "System Protection" from the menu sidebar in Vista. Click the "Create" button to set a restore point. Earlier versions of Windows have similar menu choices.

Top-Rated Free Registry Cleaners

Glary Registry Repair is a free registry utility that gets high marks from many computer experts and technology websites. You must download and install the program on your computer. You should set a restore point before installing and running it. However, this program will offer to do this for you the first time it runs. It is customizable, so you can also elect to review the registry problems that this program finds and choose which ones you want to skip during the repair process. CNET editors and Softpedia give the CCleaner free registry repair utility high marks for ease of use and efficiency. In addition to powerful registry repair options, it deletes temporary files created by your software, Windows and your browser. You can also use CCleaner to manage Windows startup programs.


Unlike antivirus and spyware programs, you don't need to run your registry repair software daily. Once you have chosen a software package that fits your needs, set up reminders to run the registry cleaner regularly. Some free software lacks this feature, other free registry cleaners run in the background continuously. This uses vital system resources that you can make available for software. Registry repair software that also includes browser privacy options will delete all of your Internet browser cookies at the end of each session, if you don't this feature off. This can make browsing slower when you visit sites that require persistent cookies.