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The effect of a Registry Cleaner depends on the Registry’s condition. Running a Registry Cleaner just after a fresh installation of Windows will really do nothing. On the other hand, if you have been running a Windows installation for more than 1 year and have installed or deleted many programs, had a virus attack or download a lot of things from the Internet - then a Registry Cleaner could have a big impact on making you system faster.
I installed and ran DoubleMySpeed on such a machine, and found lots of errors. I later bought the program and ran it. And it found about the same amount, then it cleaned the error. I ran it again, just to see what happened, and it only found a few errors. I timed the boot-up time and it took my computer 72 seconds to boot, and after running DoubleMySpeed it took 65 seconds to boot. Ok, not the most scientific test, but I found a 7 second increase in speed (Note: Win XP OS). So you need to set your expectations.
The true benefit of a Registry Cleaner is not just speed, it is a smoother running system with a clean registry the functions correctly and is not hiding any malware or spyware within it.
Remember, a great Registry Cleaner not only straighten things up, it finds and removes all malware and hidden registry items the could infect your system.
The problem [with Registry Cleaners, is that the evil people who write viruses, trojans, malware, spyware and other scary stuff - have made these bad programs look like they Registry Cleaners. It has been the benefits of Registry Cleaners that have been used by trojan programs to install viruses and malware on to website users via website pop-up ads. These malicious programs are Rogue Registry Cleaners, and one of the most prevalent is the Rogue known as "WinFixer".
Some of these Rogue RC companies used pop-up ads to scare people into downloading or buying their programs by scaring them with a message like ‘CRITICAL ERROR MESSAGE! - REGISTRY DAMAGED AND CORRUPTED!!’
Like any software you get from the internet (free or paid) do some research to make sure it is made/written by a reputable and known company. Before downloading DoubleMySpeed, I did the research and found that maker Cyberdefender is a reputable anti-virus security company who is listed on the NASDEQ OPC. Public companies conform to the BBB Accreditation - also known as the 'Better Business Bureau', which means they are less likely to have a malicious or false product than some unknown company working out of a garage.
RCT's Home page to read more about what are Registry Cleaners.
The Install page shows the installation of a 'free trial' Registry Cleaner.
Application page has the screen shots of a Registry Cleaner - cleaning.
The Summary page has the summary of the site and testing.
About page has the story of RCT.