How to clean the Windows 10 Registry

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
2 Comments
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  • In order to keep Windows 10 PCs running smooth, we have to do regular maintenance.
  • One of the ways you do this is to clean the Windows 10 registry with a third-party tool or manually with the registry editor.
  • To learn more about registry keys and how to use regedit, check out our comprehensive Windows Registry Page.
  • For more guides and fixes, we recommend heading over to our How To Page where we regularly post more tutorials.

We all know that in order to keep our Windows 10 computers running smooth and fast, we have to do regular maintenance and clean the files that are left from old software installations. Today we’re looking at cleaning the Windows 10 registry of these leftovers.

We highly recommend you use a third-party tool if you want to clean the Windows 10 registry. These tools have been created with this purpose in mind and they evaluate the registry keys and only delete the ones which are no longer in use.

Also, keep in mind that some registry entries that are still in use can get damaged, and a third party software can sometimes fix them, so there is one advantage of using this method.

How do I clean the Windows 10 Registry?

There are two ways in which you can do this: with the default Windows 10 tools or with third-party software that is dedicated to cleaning the registry of your computer.

Before we begin explaining how to clean your Windows 10 registry, a word of advice: be very careful if you delete anything. If you don’t know what you are doing, then there is a big possibility that your programs and the operating system will no longer work properly. Follow these guidelines at your own risk.

We recommend creating a Restore Point before beginning and also, create a backup of your registry as it is before you start deleting entries.


1. Use a third-party registry cleaner: Restoro

fix computer issues with restoro

 

Whilst most tools only clean the Windows registry, Restoro is a complete PC maintenance package. Whilst scanning, it will check available space and ways to increase it, it will look for malware and check your hardware and drivers.

Regular PC maintenance is key to having a good experience, but at the same time, it can be laborious. Restoro takes the effort out of maintenance and allows you to sit back and relax whilst it scans and fixes the issues found on your system.

Upon scan completion, all the information is presented in a simple manner and you can see all the findings, starting from outdated drivers to registry errors.

Here are some of the other features you can use once you start using Restoro:

  • Hardware-level scanning
  • Real-time malware protection
  • Registry cleaning
  • System information
  • Repair or restore damaged DLL files
  • 24/7 Customer support
Restoro

Restoro

Keep your Windows registry clean and your PC running smoothly by using Restoro. You can get your PC running like new with one click!

EncryptedRegView is a free tool which finds, decrypts and displays Registry data


2. Cleaning the Windows 10 Registry with Registry Editor

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit.
    Best free registry cleaner
  2. Now press Enter or click OK.
    Clean registry with CCleaner

Alternatively, you can just use the Search bar by doing the following:

  1. Click the Search bar and enter regedit. You can also open the Search bar by using the Windows Key + S shortcut.
    Clean registry and junk files
  2. Select regedit from the list of results.
    Clean registry with Revo Uninstaller

Before you clean your registry, it’s advised to back it up. Removing certain entries from the registry can cause various problems to appear, therefore be sure to back up your registry beforehand. To do that, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Go to File > Export.
    Clean registry to speed up computer
  2. Now select All as Export range. Enter the desired file name, choose a safe location and click on Save.
    Clean registry of uninstalled programs

If any issues occur after you modify your registry, you can simply run the file you just created in order to restore the registry to its original state.

The best way to do this is to search for registry entries of software that you have uninstalled. Using the left side navigation panel, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER and then to Software.

Clean registry errors

Here, you will find a list of everything that is installed on your computer. Look for programs that you’ve uninstalled, and if you find any, simply select them and hit the Delete button on your keyboard. Also, you can use the Ctrl+F shortcut to search for a specific entry.

Portable registry cleaner

If you decide to go down this road, then you have to be very careful, as once you’ve deleted a registry entry, it’s gone. There is no undo option here, so be very careful. If something does go wrong, you can back up the registry with the file that you created before you begin.

The Registry Editor is the Windows default tool for viewing and modifying the registry. However, this manual search is very time consuming and filtering through the thousands of entries can be quite hard.

This is why we recommend using a third-party tool to clean the registry, as these will create a backup of the Windows registry before starting the cleaning process.


If you can’t edit Windows 10’s Registry, this quick solution will help you


Why do we have to clean the registry

Registry entries are the footprints of everything you do on your computer. Every installed program, every webpage opened, every change you make creates a registry entry. You can imagine how many of these registry entries exist if you consider that each and every operation you do on your computer makes its own registry entry.

While registry keys occupy next to nothing on hard drives, they do, however, make up for it in sheer numbers, and after some time of running Windows 10 and installing and uninstalling programs and apps, you end up with hundreds or thousands of registry entries that are completely useless.

The operating system still filters through all of them, even if they are not used any more, and this process burdens it, as I’m sure every one of you has seen at one point when you open a folder that has hundreds of files, or when you copy multiple files.

We can clearly see that even with all the upgrades and improvements, Windows 10 can’t manage file systems that have a huge number of entries. This is probably due more to hardware limitations than to the software, but even so, we can make it better.


The best registry finder software for Windows 10


Before you begin cleaning your Windows 10 registry

Make sure that there are no running programs on your computer. Close everything except the registry cleaning utility before you begin. Active programs create and modify registry entries, so they might interfere with the scan or they might even become damaged.

Also, while the scan or the repair process is running, don’t interfere in any way with the computer. Even a simple rename of a folder or a moved shortcut creates a registry entry and might compromise the entire process.

Some registry cleaning programs assess the risk of each registry and tell which of them are safe to modify or clean. Keep in mind to select only those that the program says, and do not select any of the registry entries that are marked as risky to modify.

Also, if the registry utility that you use has an auto-delete feature, be sure to disable it. It is better that you have control over what entries should be deleted.

After the scan is complete, everything should be running smoothly, but if this isn’t the case, and certain software doesn’t work any more, you should immediately restore the registry as it was before you modified it. If the problem persists, you should use the restore point you created before starting to revert to the original state of the registry.


FAQ: Cleaning Windows 10 registry

  • Does Windows 10 have registry cleaner?

Windows 10 does not come with a registry cleaning tool. However, you can use regedit to find and manually delete registry entries if you so desire.

  • How do I clean my registry?

To safely clean your Windows 10 registry, you should use a dedicated tool, such as Restoro.

  • What is the best registry cleaner for Windows 10?

There are plenty of registry cleaning tools available. We recommend going for a well-know registry cleaner that has a reputation of working well and not breaking your system. Restoro and CCleaner are good examples.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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  • Registry Cleaners are a great way of keeping Win8 error free. But, besides, CCleaner, i have reservations on other registry cleaners in your list. I personally, have analysed them and have also got a suggestion to your Registry Recycler (www.registryrecycler.com) which is a great cleaner compatible with Windows 8.

    • You have reservations? Why is that? What we tested has been also tested by many others across the world and it works for everybody. We’ll test your suggestion, as well.