In December 1999, I wrote an article titled “Use RegClean to rescue a fouled system,” and it turned out to be the most popular SupportRepublic article of 1999! Many of you posted comments sharing your experiences using RegClean, and the consensus was that RegClean is a useful tool that does a good job of resolving errors that creep into the registry.

One post by TechRepublic passport owner Roy Goodwin caught my eye, however. Mr. Goodwin recommended trying a freeware product called EasyCleaner. Although I’m obviously a big fan of RegClean, I decided to download EasyCleaner and check it out for myself.

Getting and installing EasyCleaner
At Mr. Goodwin’s suggestion, I surfed over to Tony Helenius’ Web site . The site is fairly basic and offers a few other software packages as well. I located the link to download EasyCleaner, which is available in several different languages. The download is 1.35 MB, but there was only one location from which to download. And it took about seven minutes using my cable modem. (I imagine that that particular location was busy at the time). According to the description on the Web site, using EasyCleaner will increase your machine’s turnover rate and overall speed. I decided to test that claim.

Once the download was completed, I double-clicked the icon to discover that the file, in fact, was a self-extracting executable file. This file wasn’t set to run EasyCleaner but rather to install it on my test machine!

That part bothered me a little, I must admit. After all, registry errors tend to occur as the result of installing and uninstalling applications, and that’s one reason I like RegClean, since it’s just an executable and doesn’t install itself. Nonetheless, I ran the installation program, and at that point, I got to select which language I preferred. The installation program created a program group in my Start Menu folder.

Let’s give it a shot!
When EasyCleaner opened up, an easy-to-use menu appeared in the window. There were a total of nine buttons lined up vertically, giving me several different options for cleaning my system. The first button allowed me to clean the registry (which is, after all, what this exercise is all about, right?).

Although installing this program made me a bit leery about using it to edit a registry, I was doing this on a test machine so I wasn’t really worried. When I clicked the button to scan the registry, another window opened. This window had a horizontal row of buttons at the top, most of which were disabled. The two available buttons allowed me to begin the scan and close the window, so I clicked the Find button and started scanning. The bottom border of the window displayed the current key being scanned, and the window itself displayed each key that had been tagged for removal or modification.

Is EasyCleaner’s performance squeaky-clean?
I must say that EasyCleaner does provide the user with more information up front than RegClean. The registry keys that EasyCleaner found were listed in the active window as they were located. The other buttons at the top of the window were enabled, which gave me the options of printing and saving the results.

After the scan was finished, EasyCleaner provided all the options you need in one window. You have the options of saving (in ASCII text), printing, or deleting the list of registry keys located. Although these functions are possible with RegClean, EasyCleaner’s interface makes them a bit more accessible to you.

Since the results of a RegClean scan are output to an UNDO file in the directory where the RegClean applet is located, you have to go to that directory and locate the UNDO file in order to perform these same functions manually.

Overall, EasyCleaner appeared to get the job done. I ran the scan once more after deleting the keys that had been found, and it located no more invalid references. I still had questions about the efficiency of EasyCleaner, however. Since I received the message that the registry had been cleaned, I ran RegClean with the expectation that I would get the same (or at least similar) results. Interestingly, RegClean detected more than 125 invalid references on my test machine.

EasyCleaner or RegClean?
I remain convinced that RegClean is a better product. That said, EasyCleaner’s user interface is far superior to that of RegClean. EasyCleaner is in v.1.7f, and I would imagine that as this applet becomes more developed, it will become more efficient.

I do like the fact that EasyCleaner has functions that locate and remove duplicate and unused files from the hard drive. In addition, it has a function that produces a graphical representation of the contents of your hard drive. Although EasyCleaner’s registry-cleaning function doesn’t appear to match up to Microsoft’s RegClean, it still has several other useful functions. And, like RegClean, it’s free!

All things considered, I’ve decided it won’t hurt me to keep copies of both programs around and to periodically check for a new release of EasyCleaner. You can never have too much protection! Follow this link to try out EasyCleaner.
If you’ve tried EasyCleaner and would like to share your experience with that product, please post a comment below, or follow this link to write to Jeff .