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.

Introduction

After 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.

Featured products

Product Version Setup size Installation size Price Product type
Abexo Registry Cleaner (Free edition) 1.1.0.0 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 2.20.4.746 10.7 MB 47.5 MB $39.95 System utility suite
AMUST Registry Cleaner 4.0.0.49 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 1.0.17.23 3.1 MB 8.8 MB $0 Registry cleaner with some additional features
EasyCleaner 2.0.6.380 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 9.0.2.3 101 MB 94.6 MB* $49.95 System utility suite
Glary Utilities Pro 2.10.0.622 4.8 MB 14.7 MB $39.95 System utility suite
jv16 PowerTools 2008 1.8.0.468 6.9 MB 9 MB $29.95 System utility suite
jv16 PowerTools 2009 1.9.0.539 5.5 MB 7.3 MB $29.95 System utility suite
Migo Registry Repair 4.0.0.30C 4 MB 13 MB $39.99 Standalone registry cleaner
PC Bug Doctor 5.0.2.3 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 7.0.0.1648 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 8.0.0.900 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 2.1.0.0 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
EasyCleaner No No Yes 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(?)*
RegSeeker No No No No n/a
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.
CCleaner 9 0 0 7 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.
EasyCleaner 19 0 0 52 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.
RegSeeker 148 23 0 95 Sec.
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.
WinUtilities 37 5 0 73 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
Ace Utilities No No
Advanced System Optimizer No No
AMUST Registry Cleaner No No
CCleaner No No
Chily Registry Cleaner No No
CleanMyPC Registry Cleaner No No
Comodo Registry Cleaner No No
EasyCleaner No No
Eusing Free Registry Cleaner No No
Fix-It Utilities 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
Perfect Optimizer No No
RegFix Mantra No No
Registry Drill No No
Registry Easy No No
Registry First Aid No No
Registry Genius No No
Registry Mechanic No No
RegRestore PC TuneUp No No
RegSeeker No No
RegVac Registry Cleaner No No
TuneUp Utilities 2009 No No
Uniblue Registry Booster No No
WinUtilities 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.

Uninstallation comparison

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.

Position Product Score
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
6 RegSeeker 5
7 WinUtilities 5
8 PC Bug Doctor 4
9 RegVac Registry Cleaner 3-4
10 CCleaner 3
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
17 EasyCleaner 1
18 Perfect Optimizer 1
19 RegFix Mantra 1
20 Registry First Aid 1
21 Ace Utilities 0
22 AMUST Registry Cleaner -1
23 CleanMyPC Registry Cleaner -1
24 Fix-It Utilities -1
25 Glary Utilities Pro -1
26 Registry Easy -1
27 Registry Genius -1
28 Registry Mechanic -1
29 TuneUp Utilities 2009 -1
30 Registry Drill -2
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.

Conclusions

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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Terminology

  • 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.
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