Question from Ellen: A couple of years ago I started using a Windows PC for the first time because my iMac died and I couldn’t afford a new one.
When I bought my new laptop the salesman told me that Windows 10 does a horrible job at keeping the system optimized and running smoothly.
He said I needed to buy a program called System Mechanic and use it to clean Windows up every few months.
He told me the most important feature of System Mechanic is how it optimizes the Registry to make sure it runs right without causing any problems.
Long story short, I’ve been using System Mechanic for a long time and I haven’t noticed any problems with it.
But someone told me the other day that it’s dangerous to optimize the Windows Registry. Is that really true?
Rick’s answer: That’s a great question, Ellen. And unfortunately, the answer isn’t no.
While it’s true that the Registry database in Windows does get cluttered up with digital junk over time, I’ve seen very little evidence that it places a noticeable performance hit on a machine.
However, I’ve seen more than a few Windows PCs become unstable due to a Registry optimization tool experiencing a glitch while it was running. And in the worst cases the machines would come to a screeching halt and fail to even boot back up into Windows.
For this reason, I don’t recommend using any type Registry optimization tools at all. In my humble opinion, the relatively small risk (and the risk is indeed quite small) simply isn’t justified by the potential benefit of having the machine run just a tiny bit faster.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with using a hood system tune-up app that simply sweeps away unnecessary junk files and such. But if you do use one I recommend setting it to skip any Registry optimization tasks.
Bottom line: A little periodic routine maintenance can indeed keep your Windows PC running smoothly and hiccup-free, but I recommend that you leave the Registry optimizer tools alone.
And now, one final note…
Always having a recent backup of your system’s hard drive or SSD on hand can reduce the risk of using these types of tools to something approaching zero. Just sayin’.