In some ways, the Windows Registry is like a hotel registry: files and programs come and go like hotel guests, leaving their traces behind them. Like a good hotel staff, a suite of suitable utilities can keep your Registry clean and compact, which helps keep your PC running fast and smooth. Registry tools tend to fall into one of two categories, cleaners and defragmenters. Cleaners scour the Registry for leftovers, tossing them on command, while the defragmenters or optimizers delete empty space to make the Registry smaller and more efficient. While they're often bundled together, such tools are available separately. We looked at Little Registry Optimizer Portable Edition, a standalone Registry defragmenter that's notable for being portable freeware.
We extracted Little Registry Optimizer's program file and clicked it, which immediately opened this portable application. As with many such tools, Little Registry Optimizer sports a simple but colorful and graphics-heavy interface. The first page offers an Overview of the program's activities as well as a summary of our system's information. The program offers only two options, to create system restore points automatically and to authorize and configure automatic update checks. There's a good Help file, which is always appreciated. We clicked Analyze Registry, and the program scanned our system after first warning us to close any open programs. During the scan, our system was inaccessible, and a progress bar tracked the program's efforts. When it had finished its scan, Little Registry Optimizer presented a pie chart showing how much space it could recover from our Registry, as well as the totals in megabytes. Clicking the info icon called up a pie chart with a more detailed breakdown of the recoverable space. We allowed the program to compact our Registry, a process that needed a reboot to complete. We then re-ran Little Registry Optimizer, which said our Registry no longer needed to be compacted.
We ran a couple of our favorite Registry maintenance tools for comparison. It appears that Little Registry Optimizer Portable takes a moderate course between light sweeping and deep purging, with a greater emphasis on leave-it-be than toss-it-out. Since a light touch beats a heavy hand when tweaking the Registry, we can't complain.