Computer Performance, Microsoft Windows 8

Windows 8 Registry Cleaner Review

Windows 8 Registry Cleaner Review

Be very sceptical before you buy a Windows 8 registry cleaner.  My advice is to research your specific symptoms, rather than hoping that the act of paying for program is going to cure your problem.  Think carefully about the motive of people selling; could it be they are seeking to make money out of people who are at their most vulnerable, desperate and frustrated?

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The Latest Windows 8 Registry Cleaner Scams

The situation: your computer is running slowly and behaving strangely.  You also experience at least one of these symptoms, erratic mouse movement, screen shakes or programs hang.  Your browser may have been hi-jacked, furthermore, you cannot gain access to the Control Panel or the Task Manager.

In desperation you buy a registry cleaning program; the up-front cost seems reasonable, and they provide a free technical support phone line.  WOW, what service.  But alarm bells should ring because nobody can afford to give great phone service these days, there must be a big hidden charge.

Registry Cleaner Scam in Action
What happens next is that the person on the registry cleaner hot-line, asks you a few questions then tells you it's going to cost another $200 to fix your machine.  If you are unconvinced then they will offer to install software like: 'Someplace Control', or 'GoToHelp', which enables them to take over your machine. 

The next thing you know the support guy is demonstrating what seems to be terrible problems as recorded in your event log.  This is a sure bet for the scam artist, because everybody's system or application eventlog has at least 10 red dots.

The smooth operator then takes you to websites with scary articles on malware.  On closer inspection there is no evidence that your machine is infected with any of the viruses, but under pressure and with his smoke and mirror patter, only a very cool user would spot the crucial missing link in the evidence trail.  There is no connection between your event log entries and these tales of genuine viscous viruses.  Don't buy their Windows 8 scareware programs, instead try the registry techniques free techniques, or the free root cause analysis below.

Guy's General Advice on Windows 8 Registry Cleaners

There are two occasions when you are tempted to buy a registry cleaner, the one I concentrate on in this article is when you suspect the computer has been infected.  The other is when you get tempted by the idea that a registry cleaner will not only tidy up your registry, but also will leave your machine running faster.

My advice is if it isn't broke, don't fix it.  I accept that all registries have unnecessary or unused settings, but I also accept that this extra baggage does not matter.  These extraneous values have negligible effect on the computer's speed.  If you try and find ALL the unwanted values, it will drive you mad.  Worse still, sooner or later you will get carried away, you will make a mistake and remove a setting that the operating system needed.  My point is there is no need to buy a Windows 8 registry cleaner.

Have you ever thought about how registry cleaners work?  They have numerous logic routines that look for registry settings that are no longer needed.  But what if they are out-of-date, or your machine has a combination of programs not covered by its scripts?  The result could be it deletes registry keys that are actually needed by your programs, the result your applications now run slowly!

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Root Cause Analysis

If a registry cleaner won't solve your computer problem, then what will?  Here are my 8 for Windows 8 troubleshooting techniques.

  1. Don't run more than one anti-virus program, installing a second anti-virus program is a prime cause of a machine running slowly. 
  2. The oldest troubleshooting tip is to uninstall any programs that you added just prior to the onset of the problem.
  3. What news of your Windows Update?  Sometimes an update does not complete, or just needs a reboot.  Check Control Panel, System and Security, Windows Updates, look for any items with Status: 'Failed', and retry.
    Secunia is also a great free utility for detecting missing security patches on your computer.
  4. Check the event logs yourself, could it be that a hard disk is failing?  Search for Event Viewer, and use it to examine the Windows logs: System, I prefer to filter for Error and Critical.  Repeat for Application log.
  5. Another of my favorite troubleshooting tools is the Task Manager.  My technique is two-fold; sort on CPU so you can observe which process is hogging the processor.  Examine the list of processes, does any appear to be malware?  I know it's difficult to know good processes from rogues, but if you research any that look suspicious on the internet then you may be able to identify the problem.
  6. One underused troubleshooting technique is to compare the stricken machine with a similar Windows 8 machine that is working properly.  A second machine can also provide a lifeline if you need remote registry editing.
  7. While I would not by a Windows 8 registry cleaner, that does not mean that I would not use other tools to troubleshoot.  It's become unfashionable to use Microsoft's own free tools such as Security Essentials, but I have seen the company change from seeming not to care about malware, to being like a protective mother wanting to care for the baby Window 8.  Malicious Software Removal Tool. 
  8. If there is a rogue registry setting then it will leave a signature, symptoms or clues how to fix. Someone somewhere will have seen it before, and blogged removal instructions. Under these circumstances you need to have a progression, try regedit as normal, boot into safe mode - use regedit.  As a last chance I would try remote registry editing.

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Guy's Virus Law

If there is a serious new virus that infects registries, then even a respectable virus cleaner won't have a fix for about it for a week.  Thus the answer is always to research blogs and leave questions in forums such as SuperUser, the answer will be out there for free.  Resist the idea that if you throw enough money at the problem, then you will solve it, such a belief invariably leads to tears and a waste of good money.  This is a time when you have to use your own wits.  If you have little aptitude for computing, then phone a friend who has those computer skills - repay them with a kindness.

There have been infamous scareware programs in the past, for example, WinFixer, ErrorSafe, LisaMoon and XP Antivirus, therefore, beware of a new wave of Windows 8 registry cleaning scareware.  One tactic is to falsely claim that your computer is infected with p*rn, thus discouraging you from contacting professional help.

Guy's Hard Lesson

To digress, one of my formative learning experiences was a three card school at a racetrack.  The card mechanic challenged us to 'Find the lady'.  It was a foul day and the queen of spades slipped through his fingers and fell to the ground, it came up with a fleck of mud.  Many of us in the crowd notice this, and there was a stampede to bet on the muddy card - I even bet a fin myself. 

I was shocked when he turned over the two of diamonds, and took all our money.  But on reflection I have to say, 'what an artist'.  I admired the unseen way he cleaned the queen, and moving the mud on to the two of diamonds me noticing.  As for the stampeding crowd, it was only later that I realized half of them were his accomplices! 

I had a lesson in life that day.  I hope that this day you have developed at least a healthy suspicion of registry cleaners.  Be wary of these Windows 8 registry cleaners that wheedle their way to the top of any problem solving search query.

See creating Windows 8 .reg files »

Summary of Windows 8 Registry Cleaner Review 

My advice is beware of scareware, especially when it comes to people telling you a registry cleaner will solve all your computer ills.  Instead of throwing money at the problem, research the symptoms that your particular Windows 8 computer is experiencing.  Believe that someone has seen your problem before, and they have posted detailed instructions to return your registry settings to their former working condition.  It is better to research on the internet, using a second machine if necessary, than to throw money at scareware applications.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Registry Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Activate Windows 8 Administrator  • Windows 8 Remove Shortcut Arrow

Win 8 Registry Cleaner Review  • Windows 7 Style Start Menu  • Windows 8 Administrative Shares

Win 8 Registry  • Windows 8 Shortcut Desktop App  • Windows 8 .Reg File  • Windows 8 AutoRun

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