Will a Registry Cleaner Speed Up My Computer?

Is a Registry Cleaner a Good Way to Make My Computer Faster?

Image of a man having trouble holding on to an impossibly fast laptop computer
© Derek Bacon / Ikon Images / Getty Images

Will cleaning your registry with a registry cleaner program speed up your computer?

A bloated Windows Registry is a major factor in a slow computer, right? Regular registry cleaning, then, is probably a good idea, don't you think?

The following question is one of several you'll find in my Registry Cleaner FAQ:

"Will running a registry cleaner speed up my computer?

No.

In other words: absolutely, positively no.

This myth is as silly and unrealistic as the stock photo image on this page.

Running fewer programs at once, uninstalling software you don't use, keeping Windows updated, and/or upgrading key pieces of hardware, like your RAM and CPU, are surefire ways to speed up a slow computer.

A registry cleaner, however, will not speed up your computer.

If there's no way that registry cleaning can speed up your computer, why do so many registry cleaners, especially ones that you pay for, make this claim all over their advertisements and websites?

Quite frankly, they do so to sell or encourage the use of their software. Users of sluggish, aging computer systems spend millions of dollars every year on "fix it" programs, hoping to solve a sometimes complex and expensive problem with cheap and easy-to-use software.

Some registry cleaner software makers will go a bit further and attempt to explain this magic ability in their programs by asserting that cleaning out the registry will result in a smaller registry.

While that may be true to some extent (more on this a bit later), implying that a smaller registry means a faster Microsoft Windows is simply unfounded.

While I suppose a drastic decrease in registry size could have a minor impact on how fast Windows does certain things, the small amount of unnecessary data a registry cleaner will remove has but an ultra-small impact on your registry's size.

Consider the Following

On an older Windows 8 computer in my house, I exported the entirety of the Windows Registry, which came in at 409,980,298 bytes. It contained 468,902 individual registry keys.

I then ran the registry cleaning portion of CCleaner on this computer, which had never had this, nor any, registry cleaner ever run on it before during its 2 years of heavy use.

CCleaner found and removed 329 unnecessary registry keys, totaling 82 bytes in size.

The math here is pretty clear: CCleaner found that just 0.07% of the keys in the registry were unnecessary and removing them shrunk the size of the Windows Registry by just 0.00002%.

The lack of a registry cleaner's power to speed up your computer isn't the only thing to consider when choosing not to run one. There are only a few good reasons to at all.

See What Types of Computer Problems Do Registry Cleaners Fix? and How Often Should I Run a Registry Cleaner? for more on this.