This article describes the Microsoft support policy for customers who use registry cleaning utilities that rely on unsupported methods to extract or modify the contents of a Windows Registry.
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.
A damaged Windows registry can exhibit a range of symptoms including excessive CPU utilization, longer startup and shutdown times, poor application functionality or random crashes or hangs. These random crashes and hangs can ultimately lead to data loss due to the systems inability to save data back to the storage location during the occurrence.
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 7:
Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Ultimate, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional