The Windows registry is a database of settings for all hardware, software, and user preferences on your computer that controls how Windows interacts with your hardware and applications. Windows continually references the registry in the background and it is not designed to be accessed or edited.
Some products such as registry cleaning utilities suggest that the registry needs regular maintenance or cleaning. However, serious issues can occur when you modify the registry incorrectly using these types of utilities. These issues might require users to reinstall the operating system due to instability. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved without a reinstallation of the Operating System as the extent of the changes made by registry cleaning utilities varies from application to application.
- Microsoft does not support the use of registry cleaners. Some programs available for free on the internet might contain spyware, adware, or viruses. If you decide to install a registry cleaning utility, be sure to research the product and only download and install programs from publishers that you trust. For more information, see when to trust a software publisher.
- Microsoft is not responsible for issues caused by using a registry cleaning utility. We strongly recommend that you only change values in the registry that you understand or have been instructed to change by a source you trust, and that you back up the registry before making any changes.
- Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the use of a registry cleaning utility can be solved. Issues caused by these utilities may not be repairable and lost data may not be recoverable.
- Before you modify the registry, make sure you back it up, create a restore point, and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up the Windows registry, see the following article for your version of Windows:
For Windows 10: For Windows 8: For Windows 7: For Windows Vista: For Windows XP:322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, about the performance or reliability of third-party registry cleaning utilities.
Article ID: 2563254 - Last Review: Mar 3, 2017 - Revision: 4