No version of Microsoft Windows offers a user-guided registry cleaning application as a part of the base operating system, as of 2014. Windows, for the most part, maintains its registry in the background without user intervention. Third-party software is available that fulfills this function, however. CCleaner Free is one of the most recommended freeware programs that features a registry cleaner.
- Download and install CCleaner Free
Piriform, a United Kingdom-based software company, offers downloads of its software CCleaner for free on its website. Do not download CCleaner from any other source as malware sometimes masquerades as legitimate software such as this. Download the CCleaner Free setup file and run it, then follow the instructions to install CCleaner.
- Open the CCleaner application
Open CCleaner Free on your computer. Close other programs that are running to expedite CCleaner's process.
- Scan the registry
When CCleaner opens, it starts on the Cleaner tab. Click the registry tab just below it, then click on the Scan for Issues button. CCleaner checks for issues in the registry, which may take several minutes. Wait until the progress bar shows 100 percent.
- Check the list of problems
CCleaner lists all the registry problems found in the window. Although it may seem cryptic, it is useful to get an idea of what problems there could be. If CCleaner identifies a problem related to an often-used program, contact that program's customer support before making any changes related to it. Uncheck any boxes next to registry problems if unsure at this time that it should be corrected. In general, CCleaner does not make major changes to the operating system.
- Fix the registry problems
Once the correct registry problems are selected, click Fix selected issues. When prompted, choose to backup changes to the registry, saving the file in the documents folder to make it easy to find later. Once the backup file is saved, either click Fix Issue on each individual problem or click Fix All Selected Issues.