CCleaner, a registry repair tool that comes in both a free and a paid version, created by the Piriform company, is known for being a blazingly fast registry cleaner. In fact, we've timed it on our 3 Ghz 32-bit Pentium 4 computer, and it finished a registry scan in just under 15 seconds. It only picked up one error. Our first question was: How thorough a scan was that?
Other registry cleaners that we've run on our computer have taken anywhere from a minute or more (many in the two to four minute range) to more than six or eight minutes, and in some cases up to 14 minutes. Our natural curiosity wonders how a scan that only lasts for 15 seconds can possibly be as thorough as a two or four or six minute scan.
Obviously, CCleaner doesn't scan as many files as these other cleaners. How can it in fifteen seconds? And our results have born out these findings. Other cleaners, like RegCure, have ended up picking up more errors and empty entries in their scans than CCleaner. RegCure picked up eighty-six errors on the same machine in which CCleaner only picked up one. But then that's attributable to the variation in the search algorithm used. Each utility has its own definition of parameters for choosing what it ranks as an error in the registry. Some, choose to error on the side of caution, and therefore pick up fewer errors.
While we like the free version of CCleaner, we just can't get over the fact that it only picks up a fraction of the errors that other utilities pick up. What counts, though, is the fact that your registry hasn't been damaged by the cleaning, and you're still able to use it without having to restore the backup of the old registry. In other words, it doesn't disable the use of the computer.
One of CCleaner for Windows main selling features is that it can do more than just clean the registry. It comes with a system cleaning function (to clean up old and unused system files and logs), a Tools function (with tools to uninstall programs, manage your system's start-up menu, find a missing file, restore the system to an earlier date, and a drive wiper), and an Options tab (that allows you to manage cookies, an include/exclude function for files to be cleaned), and an Advanced settings tab (which, among other things, allows you to restore the default settings as well as nine other items).
While we cannot give CCleaner a one-hundred percent recommendation with regard to its registry cleaning ability, we can say that it may be a useful program to have with regard to its other capabilities if you don't already use another program that will easily access these other maintenance options.
In the final analysis, all we can say is that CCleaner may be a program you might want to consider having around as an additional registry repair tool. It's main attractiveness, for us and perhaps you also, comes in the added feature functions it can perform. However, we don't consider it to be powerful enough to be a frontline tool for keeping your registry unclogged. Use it as a backup or an adjunct, but not as your main registry utility.