5 Ways to Clean the Windows 10 Registry

Ways To Clean The Windows 10 Registry

Since most of us don’t dive into the registry editor often, you probably don’t have any idea if anything needs cleaning or not. However, over time your registry collects broken, outdated, and even missing registry keys that hurt your PC’s performance. You may even get the occasional error message. With the use of Windows tools and some third-party tools, you can clean the Windows 10 registry quickly.

Causes of Registry Errors

If you’re not experiencing any issues right now, you might not think cleaning the registry is important. But, as you install and uninstall apps and hardware, new registry entries are created. This includes Windows updates. However, they’re not always cleanly removed when you uninstall apps and hardware or make other system changes.

This leaves your PC looking for the hardware and apps that go with those keys. The more that builds up, the more likely you are to experience issues. Cleaning your registry every few months helps prevent this.

1. Use Disk Cleanup

The simplest way to clean the Windows 10 registry is to use Disk Cleanup, which is also great for cleaning excess files from your hard drive. It’s not for the registry, but it can finish removing leftovers from apps and drivers. When it removes these files, the corresponding registry entries are often deleted too.

Open Start and type “disk cleanup.” Select the Disk Cleanup result that appears.

Ways To Clean The Windows 10 Registry Disk Cleanup

The tool runs a scan automatically. When it’s finished, click “Clean Up System Files.” This adds a few more options for the tool to scan for. The tool runs a second time, giving you some additional options.

Ways To Clean The Windows 10 Registry Disk Cleanup System

Check any options you want. You can actually check them all. Just make sure you don’t have anything in your Recycle Bin that you want to keep first. Press OK to clean your system.

2. Using DISM

DISM, which stands for Deployment Image Servicing and Management, is a built-in Windows tool used for repairing update and system errors. It can also help repair issues related to broken registry entries. While it’s not a full registry cleaner, it can improve the health of your registry.

Open Start and type “cmd.” Choose “Run as administrator” under Command Prompt.

Ways To Clean The Windows 10 Registry Cmd

Enter the following at the prompt:

Ways To Clean The Windows 10 Registry Dism

The scan finds and cleans up errors. These won’t all be related to your registry. The good part is this can help your PC run better by fixing issues you didn’t even know you had.

3. Use CCleaner

CCleaner has been a popular PC cleaner for years. From deleting cookies and temporary files to helping managing startup options, it does a little bit of everything, including cleaning your registry. What’s even better is you can make a backup of your registry before cleaning it, which is a good idea.

Ways To Clean The Windows 10 Registry Ccleaner

While premium options are available, the free version is all you need. You can run the tool by right-clicking on your Recycle Bin or opening it through the Start menu.

4. Clean With Wise Registry Cleaner

Wise Registry Cleaner is a free, lightweight tool to clean the Windows 10 registry. It offers three modes, though Fast Scan typically works best for most users.

Ways To Clean The Windows 10 Registry Wise

A premium version is available, but the free version handles most everything you need. The premium version does offer scheduled cleaning. Otherwise, just make a note to use it once every few months.

5. Use Auslogics Registry Cleaner

Auslogics Registry Cleaner has a long history of helping to keep registries cleaner. The free version provides basic scanning, which is often enough for most users. However, you can upgrade to the premium version for notifications and deeper scans and cleaning.

Ways To Clean The Windows 10 Registry Auslogics

You get to review all entries before deleting anything, giving you full control. However, the tool will only pick safe entries to delete.

Final Thoughts

While the above methods are typically safe, it’s always a good idea to backup your registry before cleaning it. In addition to regular cleaning, you can also optimize your registry to help your PC run faster.

Image credit: Auslogics Press

Crystal Crowder Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

6 comments

  1. There seems to be a lot of conflicting advice floating around about “cleaning” the registry – some of it quite ferocious in content! I’m on the fence about this, as some folk say that a few registry errors won’t impact the machine one iota and others disagree. Who are you meant to believe? Does MS have a policy on this? After all, it’s THEIR operating system and they should know.

  2. “Microsoft does not support the use of registry cleaners.”

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/microsoft-support-policy-for-the-use-of-registry-cleaning-utilities-0485f4df-9520-3691-2461-7b0fd54e8b3a

    1. Not surprising, most users wouldn’t have any idea what to keep or delete when the cleaner gives its results.

      A common result is a long list of file extensions with “file type not used.” Well, not yet…

  3. While cleaning dead and obsolete keys from the Registry may not improve the speed of the PC, it is a matter of esthetics. Occasionally removing used fast food wrapper from the interior of your car may not increase the performance but it keeps it tidy.

    Back in the days when AOL was part of the crapware pre-installed on all Windows PCs, the app would be one of the first that I would uninstall. When I checked the Registry, there would be over 4,000 AOL keys left behind. Interestingly, it was/are the crapware applications that leave Registry keys behind. It almost seems like Microsoft and the crapware providers use those keys to track users.

  4. Uhh , CC Cleaner has been one of the most publicly damaging exploits for normal folks like us who trust these programs that are supposed to go above & beyond when it comes to, oh … I don’t know — — Perhaps something like SECURITY!!
    They’ll never regain my trust again.

    How could they make a TOP FIVE LIST of a QUALITY PRODUCT??

    There’s plenty of companies out there who still have public credibility — and those companies will retain my business until proven otherwise…

    Mark D.

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