Many Windows users don't have a clue about the weakness of the Registry.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983
2 superb Windows cleanup programs
January 15, 2012
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, The Post-Standard
Windows PC users have it made. They're also cursed.
Windows users are fortunate because Windows is by far the most popular way to do all the things you want to do on a computer. Offices nearly always use Windows PCs, so there is an embarrassment of riches when you're looking for office-type software. And your brother-in-law probably uses Windows, too, so you usually can get help without going outside the family.
The curse is that Windows is frail. No matter which version of Windows you're using, your PC is a haven for viruses and other infections, and you need to arm your PC against these attacks. Good antivirus software is essential. (See this Technofile column for my recommendation for AV software: www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec121210.html.)
As if to add injury to insult, Microsoft, which makes Windows, built every modern version of Windows on a foundation of sand. This shifting foundation is the Windows Registry, a huge database that corrupts itself in one way or another just about every time you turn on your PC.
Many Windows users don't have a clue about the weakness of the Registry; it's seldom covered in the press. Nothing within Windows corrects the Registry's weaknesses, so you need to do something about it yourself.
I've been reviewing Registry-fixing software ever since the first modern version of Windows in 1995. The best ones do their cleaning and fixing without requiring anything from you. The ones I'm recommending this week are that way. One is free; the other, which has more features, costs $50.
The pay software is TuneUp Utilities 2012. You can try it free, without any functions disabled, for 15 days. After that, it costs $49.95. If you already have an earlier version, you can upgrade for $29.95. Go to www.tune-up.com for information.
TuneUp is a familiar face in my computer family. I've been using it for years. I trust it implicitly and have enjoyed the increasing sophistication the software has been showing as it matures.
Its Registry cleanup and repair functions are first-rate. You simply click, approve the changes and wait while it coaxes Windows into shape. TuneUp has much more, too. What I like in the 2012 version is an automatic leaner-and-cleaner function that tunes up the way Windows handles your laptop, cutting battery usage and trimming unneeded programs that are using up resources.
The totally free software I like is CCleaner, from www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download. The company behind CCleaner would like to sell you a fancier version, but the free one is just fine, thanks. So be careful when you go to the site listed here and make sure you choose the version on the left, with the word "free" under the name.
CCleaner, which was once offered under the name "Crap Cleaner," does almost as well as TuneUp, although TuneUp has more functions unrelated to the Registry.
Be careful. I've seen many so-called Registry cleaners that are given away, but many of them, perhaps even most of them, deliver spyware into your Windows PC on the sly. CCleaner doesn't do that. But be sure to get CCleaner from the site listed here; spyware scam artists have created many fake "CCleaner" websites to take advantage of innocent Windows users.