A decent registry cleaner can help you keep your computer clean, safe, and running at its best, but with so many available, how do you choose? First off, any program that makes changes to the registry should do no harm. It should have a scheduler and other performance options, and a good Help file. Make it open-source freeware and you have our attention. Little Registry Cleaner provides safe, effective registry cleaning with automatic registry backups. It requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, which you can download and install from Little Registry Cleaner's setup wizard, if your system lacks it.
Little Registry Cleaner's installer can run the program when setup finishes, but we unchecked the option, as past experience with registry cleaners warned us that "run when finished" sometimes means "clean the registry right now, before you can check the options." But Little Registry Cleaner opened politely, letting us check things out before it scoured our registry. Under Options, the first thing we noticed was a directory for saving automatic registry backups--whew! Much relief. We could change the backup directory as well as the log file directory, add items to the Ignore List, and schedule automatic cleaning Never, Daily, Weekly, and Monthly. The default setting is Never, which we kept.
We clicked Scan Registry, and Little Registry Cleaner quickly scanned our system, presenting a list of items to remove from our registry. We reviewed the expandable list but unchecked nothing, partly because the tool hadn't targeted anything that raised a flag with us, but also in full knowledge that we could, if necessary, restore our test system's registry, however much we dreaded the prospect. But the cleaning caused no problems, much to our satisfaction and relief.
Little Registry Cleaner's engine seems comparable to most of the for-pay cleaners we've tried, and more thorough than many. While we can't dispute the importance of proper, regular registry maintenance, neither can we overemphasize the need for safety and caution when modifying the registry in any way. We're also fans of open-source freeware. Little Registry Cleaner is one of the few tools that cover all those bases.