In-Depth Review of 31 The Most Popular Registry Cleaner Products
By Jouni Flemming and Veera Peltonen. Both authors are working for Macecraft Software, the author of jv16 PowerTools.
IntroductionAfter our previous registry cleaner comparison study we have received tons of feedback. Many people simply thanked us for taking the extra step to really compare these products but many also wanted to request us to review certain products not included in the original study. So, to show our thanks to everyone who gave us feedback on the previous study we have now gone even further to give you the best possible data on the quality and performance of different registry cleaner products. The goal of this study is to be the most comprehensive and truly in-depth registry cleaner product comparison published so far.
|Product||Version||Setup size||Installation size||Price||Product type|
|Abexo Registry Cleaner (Free edition)||126.96.36.199||0.7 MB||1.5 MB||$0||Standalone registry cleaner|
|Ace Utilities||4.2.0||3.9 MB||6.8 MB||$39.95||System utility suite|
|Advanced System Optimizer||188.8.131.526||10.7 MB||47.5 MB||$39.95||System utility suite|
|AMUST Registry Cleaner||184.108.40.206||1.9 MB||3.24 MB||$29.99||Standalone registry cleaner|
|CCleaner||2.16.830||3 MB||2.2 MB||$0||System cleaning suite|
|Chily Registry Cleaner||7.12.01||1.5 MB||7.9 MB||$29.95||Standalone registry cleaner|
|CleanMyPC Registry Cleaner||4.12||2.8 MB||5.9 MB||$29.95||Registry cleaner with some additional features|
|Comodo Registry Cleaner||220.127.116.11||3.1 MB||8.8 MB||$0||Registry cleaner with some additional features|
|EasyCleaner||18.104.22.1680||2.8 MB||3.3 MB||$0||System utility suite|
|Eusing Free Registry Cleaner||2.0 (Build: 20081022)||0.9 MB||1.8 MB||$0||Standalone registry cleaner|
|Fix-It Utilities||22.214.171.124||101 MB||94.6 MB*||$49.95||System utility suite|
|Glary Utilities Pro||126.96.36.1992||4.8 MB||14.7 MB||$39.95||System utility suite|
|jv16 PowerTools 2008||188.8.131.528||6.9 MB||9 MB||$29.95||System utility suite|
|jv16 PowerTools 2009||184.108.40.2069||5.5 MB||7.3 MB||$29.95||System utility suite|
|Migo Registry Repair||220.127.116.11C||4 MB||13 MB||$39.99||Standalone registry cleaner|
|PC Bug Doctor||18.104.22.168||2.1 MB||4.2 MB||$39.95||Standalone registry cleaner|
|PC Optimizer Pro||4.5.19||6.1 MB||12.1 MB||$34.95||System utility suite|
|Perfect Optimizer||4.0||5.2 MB||10.2 MB||$33.89||System utility suite|
|RegFix Mantra||6.0||0.9 MB||3.7 MB||$29.95||Standalone registry cleaner|
|Registry Drill||4.2.10||7.9 MB||7.7 MB||$39.95||Standalone registry cleaner|
|Registry Easy||4.9||2.3 MB||5.8 MB||$34.95||System utility suite|
|Registry First Aid||22.214.171.1248||3.6 MB||7.9 MB||$27.95||Registry cleaner with some additional features|
|Registry Genius||3.2||1.6 MB||5.7 MB||$34.95||Standalone registry cleaner|
|Registry Mechanic||126.96.36.1990||7.1 MB||9.5 MB||$29.95||System utility suite|
|RegRestore PC TuneUp||5.0||0.8 MB||2.6 MB||$29.95||Standalone registry cleaner|
|RegSeeker||1.55b (Build: 3807)||0.4 MB||0.6 MB||$0 (Free for personal use)||Registry cleaner with some additional features|
|RegVac Registry Cleaner||5.01.25||1.1 MB||4.4 MB||$29.95||Standalone registry cleaner|
|TuneUp Utilities 2009||8.0.2000||16.4 MB||41.2 MB||$49.95||System utility suite|
|Uniblue Registry Booster||188.8.131.52||n/a**||10.1 MB||€33.29||Standalone registry cleaner|
|WinUtilities||6.4||6.1 MB||30 MB||$49.99||System utility suite|
|Wise Registry Cleaner Pro||3.94.143||1.6 MB||2.5 MB||$19.95||Standalone registry cleaner|
* = The Anti-Virus features of the product was not installed.
** = The product’s installer downloaded the main installation from the Internet, therefore the size of the setup executable is not relevant.
All the products were downloaded from the official developer’s website, not from third party downloading sites. All tests were performed using the trial version of the products or the full version in the case of freeware products.
Note: We also attempted to install and test RegCure, RegToy and XP Repair Pro products. RegCure failed to install due to error message “RegCure is currently running, click Yes to close it” while product wasn’t, of course, running. Clicking Yes or No didn’t help. The installation didn’t work even after using Task Manager to terminate all non-critical processes or in Windows Safe Mode. RegToy showed error message “Application failed to initalize properly”, we didn’t find a way to go by the error message. XP Repair Pro showed error message “Failed to download dotnetfix.exe” even while the system was connected to Internet and the connection was working perfectly. We didn’t find a way to go by this error either.
Installation of the products
The test was performed on a virtual testing environment of Windows XP and 512 MB of RAM (the amount recommended by the virtualization software for Windows XP). The host computer was a Windows Vista Home with 2 GB of RAM and Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 1.6 GHz. The virtualization system used was VirtualBox.
|Product||Comes with bundled software||Wants to start with Windows||Adds data to the registry during installation||Adds data to the file system other than to installation directory||Trial version restrictions|
|Abexo Registry Cleaner||No||No||No||No||n/a|
|Ace Utilities||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial, nag screen when starting|
|Advanced System Optimizer||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial, nag screen when starting|
|AMUST Registry Cleaner||Yes (AMUST Disk Cleaner)||No||Yes||No||30 day trial, does Not allow to fix all found errors|
|CCleaner||Yes (Yahoo toolbar)||No||Yes||No||n/a|
|Chily Registry Cleaner||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial|
|CleanMyPC Registry Cleaner||No||Yes||Yes||No||15 day trial|
|Comodo Registry Cleaner||No||No||No||No||n/a|
|Eusing Free Registry Cleaner||No||No||No||No||Nag screen|
|Fix-It Utilities||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||15 day trial|
|Glary Utilities Pro||No||No||Yes||Yes||30 day trial, nag screen when starting|
|jv16 PowerTools 2008||No||No||No||No||30 day trial|
|jv16 PowerTools 2009||No||No||No||No||30 day trial|
|Migo Registry Repair||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*|
|PC Bug Doctor||No||No||No||No||30 day trial(?)*|
|PC Optimizer Pro||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*|
|Perfect Optimizer||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||30 day trial(?)*|
|RegFix Mantra||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*|
|Registry Drill||No||No||Yes||No||15 day trial with 10 second nag screen when starting, trial version reads max 60.000 registry keys, does not allow any errors to be fixed or removed|
|Registry Easy||No||Yes||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*, nag screen, only fixes a few errors|
|Registry First Aid||No||Yes||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*, nag screen, only fixes up to 18 errors|
|Registry Genius||Yes (Google toolbar)||Yes||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*, does not fix errors|
|Registry Mechanic||No||Yes||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*, does not fix errors|
|RegRestore PC TuneUp||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*|
|RegVac Registry Cleaner||No||No||No||No||30 day trial(?)*, nag screen when scan starts|
|TuneUp Utilities 2009||No||No||Yes||Yes||30 day trial, nag screen when starting|
|Uniblue Registry Booster||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||30 day trial(?)*, nag screen when closing|
|WinUtilities||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial, nag screen when starting|
|Wise Registry Cleaner Pro||No||No||Yes||No||30 day trial(?)*, nag screen when closing|
* = It was not perfectly clear how long trial periods these products give.
Color keys: Green background is used for all products with all four features marked with green. Red background is used for all products which score at least three red marks. These color keys relate to subjective, but common, opinions how well made products should act and work.
Note: the “Adds data to the registry during installation” column does not take into account registry data created by Windows itself relating to the product because this data is created for each installed application automatically, only registry data created by the product itself is taken into account. The “Adds data to the file system other than to installation directory” column does not take into account any created shortcuts, even though for example a shortcut placed to the Desktop would technically count as a file created outside of the installation directory.
Registry cleaning engine accuracy comparison
The test was performed on the same virtual setup as above. Before the test 1000 registry errors were added to the registry of the test setup, also 1000 possible false positives were added.
An example of one such registry error is a file reference “C:\Fake\application.exe”. This registry entry would be considered as an error because the file reference is not valid, i.e. the “C:\Fake\” directory does not exist. An example of a possible false positive is a file reference “C:\Directory\file.exe -foobar”. The file reference is valid, i.e. directory “C:\Directory\” does exist and inside the directory a file called “file.exe” exists. The reason why this piece of data is considered as a “possible false positive” is because a bad quality registry cleaner engine might not properly analyze that “C:\Directory\file.exe” inside the data is actually the file reference and “-foobar” is not a part of the file reference.
|Product||Total errors found||Number of test errors found (out of 1000)||Number of false positives found (out of 1000)||Scan time||Comments|
|Abexo Registry Cleaner||426||Many*||0||73 Sec.||Wanted to delete HKCR\.exe as an invalid key, clearly a bad idea|
|Ace Utilities||981||962||0||41 Sec.||Product froze when attempting to sort the result list by clicking a list column|
|Advanced System Optimizer||472||Many*||Probably none*||16 Sec.|
|AMUST Registry Cleaner||70||0||0||55 Sec.|
|Chily Registry Cleaner||34||0||0||79 Sec.|
|CleanMyPC Registry Cleaner||12||0||0||150 Sec.|
|Comodo Registry Cleaner||1502||Approx.* 950||Approx.* 400||55 Sec.|
|Eusing Free Registry Cleaner||91||0||0||156 Sec.|
|Fix-It Utilities||127||0||0||44 Sec.|
|Glary Utilities Pro||1335||Many*||Many*||22 Sec.|
|jv16 PowerTools 2008||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||Product froze during scan, impossible to test|
|jv16 PowerTools 2009||1235||1000||0||65 Sec.|
|Migo Registry Repair||487||0||0||23 Sec.||Product seemed to list every empty key of the registry as errors, this is very dangerous. The user interface seems very similar to PC Optimizer Pro’s, are these products somehow linked?|
|PC Bug Doctor||8||0||0||9 Sec.|
|PC Optimizer Pro||297||0||0||898 Sec.||With only 297 found errors the user interface became so slow it was almost impossible to use it. The registry cleaner’s GUI seems to be the same as in Migo Registry Repair, maybe the engine is similar too|
|Perfect Optimizer||539||0||0||46 Sec.|
|RegFix Mantra||648||Many*||Many*||50 Sec.|
|Registry Drill||n/a||n/a||n/a||900+ Sec.||Due to the strange user interface it was not possible to fully test the product. The first scan mode requires user to go through every single error one by one, and the other scan modes didn’t find any of the test errors.|
|Registry Easy||817||Many*||Some*||54 Sec.||Product’s user interface is very similar to the one in Registry Genius|
|Registry First Aid||1312||963||76||103 Sec.|
|Registry Genius||817||Many*||Some*||52 Sec.||Product’s user interface is very similar to the one in Registry Easy|
|Registry Mechanic||365||Many*||Some*||25 Sec.|
|RegRestore PC TuneUp||162||Many*||Some*||96 Sec.||Wanted to delete HKCR\.hta as an invalid key, this action would break the Control Panel.|
|RegVac Registry Cleaner (normal scan)||85||0||0||64 Sec.||Deleted registry keys and entries without permission from user.|
|RegVac Registry Cleaner (Bad Link Checker scan)||1115||Many*||Some*||60 Sec.||Feature available under ‘expert interface’|
|TuneUp Utilities 2009||6||0||0||26 Sec.|
|Uniblue Registry Booster||22||17||0||34 Sec.|
|Wise Registry Cleaner Pro||131||19||0||63 Sec.|
* = Due to limitations of these products’ user interface, it was not possible to accurately count the number of errors found. These products did not seem to offer such basic user interface features as Search or any kind of filtering. Therefore, the results for these products are only approximations based on reading through the result list.
Color keys: Green background is used for all products which found all of the 1000 test errors and none of the 1000 false positives. Red background is used for all products which found false positives. These color keys relate to the test results and to the safety and performance of these products. Abexo Registry Cleaner is highlighted with red because it listed critical system key as safe to remove (see the comments for more details), Migo Registry Repair is highlighted with red because it listed many empty registry keys as safe to remove, removing these keys is potentially dangerous.
Registry error fixing comparison
The test was performed on the same virtual setup as above. Before the test Windows RegEdit was used to manually delete certain registry keys and values in order to make the .BAT file extension not to work. In other words, it wasn’t possible to execute a standard Windows Batch File (.bat) by double clicking it. Problems like this can occur in the real world due to numerous reasons, for example because of badly designed third party application that modifies these file extension registry entries incorrectly or by uninstallers that behave bad. Also a low quality registry cleaner product can break critical file extension keys.
|Product||Detected the problem||Fixed the problem|
|Abexo Registry Cleaner||No||No|
|Advanced System Optimizer||No||No|
|AMUST Registry Cleaner||No||No|
|Chily Registry Cleaner||No||No|
|CleanMyPC Registry Cleaner||No||No|
|Comodo Registry Cleaner||No||No|
|Eusing Free Registry Cleaner||No||No|
|Glary Utilities Pro||No||No|
|jv16 PowerTools 2008||No||No|
|jv16 PowerTools 2009||Yes||Yes|
|Migo Registry Repair||No||No|
|PC Bug Doctor||No||No|
|PC Optimizer Pro||No||No|
|Registry First Aid||No||No|
|RegRestore PC TuneUp||No||No|
|RegVac Registry Cleaner||No||No|
|TuneUp Utilities 2009||No||No|
|Uniblue Registry Booster||No||No|
|Wise Registry Cleaner Pro||No||No|
Color keys: Green background is used for all products which were able to detect and fix the problem.
The test was performed on the same virtual setup as above. After all the testing was done we used each product’s uninstaller and verified whether it fully uninstalled the product from the system or whether something was left behind. This comparison should be rather interesting because all these products are being marketed as tools for cleaning the computer, if their very uninstallers do not remove everything, one can only question how well they can in general clean anything.
RegEdit’s Find feature was used to determine whether the products left any registry data behind, Windows’ file search was used to determine whether the products left any files or directories behind.
|Product||Uninstaller available from Start Menu||Shows a nag screen when uninstalling||Uninstallation performance|
|Abexo Registry Cleaner||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|Ace Utilities||No||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|Advanced System Optimizer||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|AMUST Registry Cleaner||No||No||Terrible, leaves most (if not all) registry entries behind|
|CCleaner||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|Chily Registry Cleaner||Yes||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|CleanMyPC Registry Cleaner||Yes||Yes||Terrible, leaves many files and directories behind, leaves most (if not all) registry entries behind|
|Comodo Registry Cleaner||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|EasyCleaner||No||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|Eusing Free Registry Cleaner||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|Fix-It Utilities||Yes||No||Bad, leaves most (if not all) registry entries behind|
|Glary Utilities Pro||Yes||No||Bad, leaves most (if not all) registry entries behind|
|jv16 PowerTools 2008||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|jv16 PowerTools 2009||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|Migo Registry Repair||Yes||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|PC Bug Doctor||Yes||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|PC Optimizer Pro||Yes||No||Bad, leaves most (if not all) registry entries behind|
|Perfect Optimizer||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|RegFix Mantra||Yes||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|Registry Drill||Yes||No||Terrible, leaves many files and directories behind, leaves most (if not all) registry entries behind|
|Registry Easy||Yes||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|Registry First Aid||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|Registry Genius||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|Registry Mechanic||Yes||Yes||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|RegRestore PC TuneUp||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|RegSeeker||Yes||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|RegVac Registry Cleaner||Yes||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
|TuneUp Utilities 2009||No||No||Bad, leaves most (if not all) registry entries behind|
|Uniblue Registry Booster||No||No||Bad, leaves most (if not all) registry entries behind|
|WinUtilities||Yes||No||Good, leaves nothing behind|
|Wise Registry Cleaner Pro||Yes||No||Bad, leaves many files and directories behind|
Color keys: Green background is used for all products which uninstalled without leaving any files or registry entries behind.
Summary of results
The following table contains the products sorted by the data gathered in this test. The summary was created by giving one point to a product per each green mark in the previous tables and reducing one point of each red marks. The Score column shows the amount of points each software received.
|1||jv16 PowerTools 2009||11|
|2||Eusing Free Registry Cleaner||7|
|3||Abexo Registry Cleaner||6|
|4||Advanced System Optimizer||5|
|5||Comodo Registry Cleaner||5|
|8||PC Bug Doctor||4|
|9||RegVac Registry Cleaner||3-4|
|11||Chily Registry Cleaner||3|
|12||jv16 PowerTools 2008||3|
|13||Wise Registry Cleaner Pro||3|
|14||Migo Registry Repair||2|
|15||PC Optimizer Pro||2|
|16||RegRestore PC TuneUp||2|
|20||Registry First Aid||1|
|22||AMUST Registry Cleaner||-1|
|23||CleanMyPC Registry Cleaner||-1|
|25||Glary Utilities Pro||-1|
|29||TuneUp Utilities 2009||-1|
|31||Uniblue Registry Booster||-3|
Color keys: All products which produced false positives are highlighted with a red background color to remind users to use extreme caution with these products as they may cause more problems than fix them.
Based on the result data it seems clear that jv16 PowerTools 2009 is the best and safest product of the tested products. The authors were very surprised that no other product was able to fix or even detect a simple registry based problem relating the .bat file extension tested in the “Registry error fixing comparison” section of this study. Another rather shocking result was the vast number of products whose own uninstaller did not work properly. It seems safe to say that some developers spend more time and effort on marketing their products than to actual product development.
You can discuss this study in our discussion forum.
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All the studies we have done on registry cleaners:
- Registry Cleaner Review and Performance Comparison Study - February of 2009
- In-Depth Review of 31 The Most Popular Registry Cleaner Products - April of 2009
- Comparison of 176 Registry Cleaner Products - October of 2010
- Setup size means the size of the product’s installation file, such as setup.exe.
- Installation size means the size of the product’s installation directory with all the included files.
- Comes with bundled software means whether the product attempts to install any other software, such as browser plugins or toolbars.
- Starts automatically means whether the product with default settings configures user’s system in a way that the product is always automatically started with the system. This is considered as bad practice because each automatically starting program slows down the system’s startup time and consumes memory and processing power while running in the background.
- Nag screen a screen that “nags” the user to do some action, usually to buy the full version of the product, to give away their email address or something similar. Most annoying nag screens have time delays which means you can’t close the nag screen before a certain amount of time has passed, for example 10 seconds.
- Registry scan time means the time it takes for the product to scan the entire registry (using default settings) from the moment Start button is pressed to the moment all results are printed to the screen and ready to be accessed by the user. The faster the product scans the registry the better.
- Found registry errors means the number of registry errors the product reports to find. This test does not study whether the found errors are in fact valid or are there false positives included, we will publish a second review with this information included in the near future. Therefore, the more registry errors the product finds the better.
- False positive means a piece of data that is listed by a registry cleaner product as an error but which is not in fact erroneous. The concept of false positives is critical in estimating the safety and thus validity of registry cleaner products because the more false positives a product lists the more likely the product can cause computer problems instead of solving them.
- Positive means a piece of data that is listed by a registry cleaner product as an error and which is erroneous based on some objective definition. Classical example would be a file reference that references a file that doesn’t exist.