Registry optimizing tools tend to fall into two categories: those that defragment the registry by removing blank spaces and those that make changes to the registry, deleting unnecessary, invalid, or problematic entries. Registry Life from ChemTable Software combines both in one free application. Like other registry cleaners, Registry Life is best used with caution. It's much more forgiving than most such tools, though. Used wisely, it can keep your system working smoothly.
Registry Life's interface sports two main items, Registry Logical Structure and Registry Physical Structure, and a menu of basic controls and settings in the left-hand panel. Pop-up dialogs handle operations and display scan results; most offer an Advanced User option that lists results in detail. We install and remove a lot of software on our test machines, so there's always plenty for a registry cleaner to do. The Registry Cleanup tool quickly found 275 problem entries, mostly nonexistent references, useless keys, and invalid entries. We saved the scan results as a text file, a recommended step that Registry Life makes easy. The cleanup scan tagged nothing critical, so we clicked OK. The software cleaned the registry in about a second, simultaneously creating a backup file--a thoughtful touch. The registry optimization tool is a bit more vigorous, requiring you to close all applications, disable your antivirus software, and reboot the system when it's finished. Nevertheless, the process took mere minutes and reclaimed significant space on the registry, resulting in a quicker boot-up. More importantly, it caused no problems, at least no obvious ones.
While any software that modifies the registry demands caution, Registry Life seems less prone to include valid entries in its scans in the first place. It's freeware that outperforms costly tools, so it's definitely worth a look.