I’m sure you’ve seen it, the commercial for MyCleanPC.com telling you to get a free diagnostic scan of your PC and it will magically make it super fast! Hell, they say that even if you have anti-virus on your machine, you could still be vulnerable to a virus attack.
Ok, that last part is slightly true. There is a chance you can have a virus that your antivirus might not catch. I’m willing to bet though that MyCleanPC won’t catch it either. Mainly because it is not an anti-virus, or anti-malware scanner at all. It is a registry cleaner. You would think with the way they talk about it in the commercial, that it’s the next best thing since Symantec, but alas, it’s not!
So what’s a registry cleaner you ask? According to Wikipedia:
A registry cleaner is a type of software utility designed for the Microsoft Windows operating system whose purpose is to remove redundant or unwanted items from the Windows registry. However, the necessity and usefulness of registry cleaners is a controversial topic, with experts in disagreement over their benefit. The problem is further clouded by the fact that malware and scareware are often associated with utilities of this type.
If you haven’t seen the commercial, here you go:
I ran a scan for shits and giggles on my netbook. Here are the results:
Now doesn’t all that red look scary? Doesn’t it just make you want to click that giant green button so you can go buy the program? Before you do, you should know that this is fairly common. As you use a computer over time, you tend to accumulate junk. Certainly not evidence of a *gasp* virus!
Many IT techs would recommend against using registry cleaners because some times the cleaner might delete something it shouldn’t have and it could make your computer worse. Frankly, any time you mess with the registry you take that risk. On the flipside of the coin, some admins swear by them.
Personally, I can take or leave registry cleaners. I have used them in the past, but I have never seen a solid performance increase from using one. Generally if your PC is slow, you need to run a defrag on your hard drive, and do a spyware cleanup. Registry cleaning can be a bonus on that.
So lets say you are hell bent on using a registry cleaner. MyCleanPC is roughly $40 for the full version. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little while typing that. $40? Give me a break. If you want to use a registry cleaner, I recommend good ol’ CCleaner. It’s fast, proven, effective and most importantly it’s free!
What about you? What’s your take on registry cleaners? Like them, dislike them, non-committal? Let us know your opinion on this subject in the comments!