To clean up the system registry of a computer, third-party programs are necessary because Windows does not have an included system utility that targets the registry. Most of the time, the registry handles itself.
- Back up the registry
The registry contains important data about how the computer handles programs and access files. Tampering with it can cause catastrophic system damage. To back up the registry, run regedit.exe, and export a copy of the keys that you plan on saving, placing the file in a secure offsite location, such as an external drive.
- Install a registry cleaner
Do your research, and only install registry cleaners from vendors that are certified. You should have up-to-date virus protection on the computer before installing it. This prevents malware from causing damage. Save the registry cleaner to the hard drive, and create a system restore point from Control Panel.
- Run the registry cleaner
Locate the registry cleaner on the hard drive, and run the program. If it does its job, it will remove unwanted entries from the registry and make the system run faster and smoother. Although it is possible to clean the registry by hand, this isn't recommended unless you know exactly what each key does.