Safe registry tool

Clean up your system's registry with this safe but effective freeware utility.

Registry cleaners are fine when used with care but can cause problems when used carelessly. Unfortunately, those users who most need a reliable registry cleaner are often unable to tell vital entries from junk, with predictable consequences. Registry cleaners now emphasize doing no harm; none more so than freeware registry cleaners such as Wise Registry Cleaner Free from WiseCleaner. It's touted as thorough but especially safe and easy to use, which we found an appealing combination. By and large, it lives up to the claim.

Wise Registry Cleaner Free's installer persuades users to download and install the Ask toolbar via a cleverly worded "combined" EULA. It also recommends, and offers to download, a companion disk-cleaning utility. We opted out of these extras. Too many free registry tools of recent memory would scan your system and identify "problems" that you had to buy a full version to fix. However, Wise Registry Cleaner Free did a good job of scanning our system for errors and fixing only those that it considered safe to fix. The program first offered to create a restore point or full registry backup before scanning our registry; we chose the full backup. The interface is typical of the class, with scan categories listed in the left-hand panel and a series of large, colorful icons for major functions. A scan identified more than 500 invalid entries, including 63 it considered unsafe to remove, though it was possible to select them for removal against the program's recommendation. Since our usual registry scanner had found far fewer problems and the new scan seemed to show entries for our pen tablet, we ran the Fix function with some trepidation. However, even after a reboot, our pen tablet and system functioned fine. We reran our other scanner and found a handful of minor issues, none of which were on Wise Registry Cleaner Free's naughty list, emphasizing the different approaches similar freeware utilities often take, even on the same job.

Wise Registry Cleaner Free lived up to its promise of being thorough and easy to use without causing any problems. Whether or not you choose to download and install its associated programs, it certainly did the job as a standalone tool.

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