Easy steps on how to clean your Windows 10 registry manually [tutorial]

Is your Windows 10 PC slowing down lately? It may be due to a bloated registry. To know how to manage your registry and delete potentially problematic values, you need to edit it. If you haven’t tried doing it before, this simple guide will walk you through it.

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How to clean your Windows 10 registry manually

As time goes by, your computer’s registry grows in size too potentially causing performance slow downs and instability. While registry cleanup is not recommended for average user, we recommend that you do it regularly, especially when you noticed that the computer has become slow. Although there’s a number of good registry cleaning software out there, most are not 100% effective in weeding out every potential problems. Their algorithms are based on predefined set of rules that may not work in every registry they encounter.

If you have the time to kill and you feel confident that you can follow some basic instructions on your PC, this short guide should help.

Create a backup of registry

Windows and many programs use the registry so if you edit it improperly, or if you delete a critical entry, you’ll most likely end up with a messed up system. To prevent problems, make sure that you back the registry up first before manually cleaning it. Doing so will give you an option to undo the changes that may have made your Windows 10 machine unstable.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. From the Start menu, in the search box, type regedit.exe, and then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  2. Click File > Export.
  3. In the Export Registry File dialog box, select the location where you want to save the backup copy to, and then type a name for the backup file in the File name field.
  4. Click Save.

How to Delete a key or entry in the registry

The registry editor is broken into window panes. The left pane displays the entire registry directories, while the right pane shows the individual values that you can edit.

In order to remove traces of applications you’ve already uninstalled, you should browse the registry editor and open the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key. You can do that by clicking on the plus sign or arrow beside it.

  1. Open the Registry Editor.
  2. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER key.
  3. Expand the Software key.
  4. Find entries that contain the name of the application/s you’ve removed. Some entries may contain the name of the developer or publisher instead of the actual product name.
  5. Highlight a key for the application.
  6. Hit Delete button on your keyboard to remove a key from the registry. For example, if you recently uninstalled a Samsung mobile utility called Smart Switch, you may still be able to find in the registry traces of Samsung folders or keys so you want to delete those. Under Samsung application folder, find a key and hit Del/Delete. Alternatively, you can right-click on the said entry and hit Delete.

Use Find tool to look for applications, folder name, or executable name

In the registry, you can also use Find tool to easily look for the thing you want. This is a useful tool especially if you can’t easily locate the directory of the folder or application you’re looking for. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. While in the registry editor, press CTRL + F buttons.
  2. Once the dialog box opens, you can type in the application or folder name you’re trying to find.
  3. To begin the search, hit Enter.
  4. Some applications may have more than one entry in the registry so in order to locate each of them, just hit Find Next button or hit the F3 key on your keyboard.

How to remove unwanted startup items

Many programs are designed to run automatically once you boot your computer up. This can cause severe performance issues during startup so the best thing to do is to turn these items off. In order to remove startup items from the registry, hence telling Windows not to load them, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Registry Editor.
  2. Expand My Computer (skip this if you’ve already expanded it ahead of time).
  4. Go to SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows\ Current Version.
  5. Click the Run key.
  6. Look for values inside of the right panel. These will be shortcuts to executable files.
  7. Highlight the value you want to remove by right-clicking it. Afterwards, hit Delete.
  8. If you have a lot startup items and you are not sure what value to remove, use Google to search for it. Or, you can visit www.processlibrary.com/ to know if a certain item can be safely removed from the list. For example, while it’s perfectly okay to remove Windows Defender from the startup items, we won’t recommend it because it may helps prevent your computer from getting infected by viruses or malware designed to run during startup. The same is true if you’re using a third party security software.


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