The Registry is where Windows keeps details of where parts of the different programs are located and what the settings are for all the different items on your computer. It is a large and highly complex set of files, and if messed up, can prevent Windows from running. For this reason, it is not advised for people who do not know exactly what they are doing, to make changes to it.
As you add and delete programs and apps from your computer, not all programs/apps are as efficient as they should be. Quite often they leave scraps behind in the registry during installations and uninstalls. If you just go in and delete a program, not doing a correct uninstall in Settings/Control Panel, all the settings will be left behind.
These scraps will grow and make Windows take longer to locate stuff in the registry and to try to do things that are no longer possible. For this reason, the Registry needs cleaning occasionally.
There are programs that will clean the Registry for you without you knowing anything about the Registry. Some of these programs are free and some cost.
The ones that cost are usually included with complete security programs or utilities for Windows. The ones you pay for, I have had good experience but not tried many.
There are also free ones out there. Generally, you can also buy the free ones for more features, but I have been happy with the following ones.
Probably the most popular Registry cleaner is ccleaner (yes it has two c’s, and you can look on the Internet and find out what first c was originally). The Registry cleaner in it I have used many years happily. In the last couple years, Avast bought it. There was some malware with it along the time Avast bought it, but they cleaned that up, and prior to that had never had problems. It is available at ccleaner.com, and just look for the free version.
Another one I have used is Auslogics. They have free and paid versions also. It did a good job when I have used it. The interesting part with them is they also have a program to defragment the Registry which I have not seen with other free products. It will go through and get the Registry back correctly organized so parts that got slit are back together. It is free at https://www.auslogics.com/. As you can guess probably from the name, it is from Australia.
My suggestion is run a registry cleaner every few months to help keep your computer running efficiently.
Send me your questions about computers to my e-mail email@example.com and tell me you read this in this paper. I will pick a question to answer each week.
Dwight Watt does computer work for businesses, individuals and organizations and teaches about computers at a technical college in northwest Georgia. His webpage is www.dwightwatt.com. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.