Windows is the favorite OS (operating system) of many computer users, and one of the primary reasons for this is the simplicity and user-friendliness of the platform.
However, despite Windows being visually appealing and easy to navigate, a lot is going on behind the scenes that most users will be unaware of.
In this guide, we will teach you about broken registry items, how they affect your PC’s performance, and what you need to do to remove them and prevent having them on your system in the future.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
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What Are Broken Registry Items? – The Problem Explained
The Windows registry is your operating system’s database containing settings and information for all your software and other important features that keep your PC healthy and running as it should.
However, sometimes files in the Windows registry can become corrupted. This can happen for multiple reasons:
- Unexpected shutdowns due to power outages.
- Shutdown errors that cause your PC’s shutdowns not to complete smoothly.
- Malware and viruses corrupting the registry files.
- Other rare causes.
When files in your Windows registry become corrupted, your PC can suffer decreased performance and act unexpectedly, which can be frustrating and concerning to see.
Fortunately, there are multiple methods to remove these broken registry items and ensure your PC works as it is supposed to, which we will explain in the following sections.
Let’s take a look.
Method 1: Using The Windows Disk Cleanup Feature
Windows has a built-in Disk Cleanup feature that is easy to use. It allows users to remove unnecessary files from disks to save space and potentially solve issues with broken registry files.
If you have never done this before but have been using your PC for a long time, it’s very possible that you have a large pileup of files that can be cleaned up. These include temporary internet files, downloaded program files, delivery optimization files, thumbnails, and many more.
Here’s how to use the disk cleanup feature:
- Open This PC by pressing Windows + E on your keyboard. If the shortcut doesn’t work, open it manually by clicking on the shortcut, as shown in the image below.
- Right-click the disk that is currently assigned as your main partition, where you have Windows installed, and choose Properties.
- Click the Disk Cleanup button located in the lower right corner of the window you currently have open, as seen in the image below.
- Click Clean System Files and wait until Windows finishes scanning. Then, choose which files you want to clean up. We recommend selecting everything.
- When you are done selecting, click OK at the bottom to initiate the scan. Windows will start cleaning up the files for you.
Wait until the process finishes, which can take a few minutes, depending on your computer’s speed.
That is one way to remove broken registry items on Windows 10/11 and clean up your system files, but there are other, perhaps more user-friendly methods. Take a look at the following section for more information.
Method 2: Using Third-Party Software
There are many third-party programs available on the internet that make the process of cleaning up broken registry files far easier and friendlier for beginner users.
We recommend CCleaner, which is well-known among the PC community. It is also free to use and offers quite a lot of features and options.
This video explains how to use CCleaner to remove broken registry items on Windows 7, 8, and 10. It is a step-by-step guide that will ensure you understand things thoroughly.
If you don’t want to keep CCleaner on your PC after completing the cleaning process, feel free to uninstall it.
Note: CCleaner is known to cause issues in some games that have anti-cheat software, such as CSGO with its VAC system. If you are a gamer, you might want to uninstall CCleaner after using it. If not, leave it on your PC as it is perfectly safe and very useful for ensuring that your PC is always in top condition.
Method 3: Running The DISM Command In Command Prompt
The DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management Tool) command can help you solve Windows-related issues. Running it shouldn’t take more than a minute.
To be more specific, the DISM command can help you solve windows-related problems caused by missing or corrupt (broken) files, which is what we’re looking to do.
Before we look at initiating the command, there is something worth mentioning.
Note: Running DISM is completely safe and won’t do any harm to your system. However, it does make system changes, which is why we recommend creating a backup before continuing unless you are unhappy with the state of your Windows and intend to format your PC if this method doesn’t work.
With that said, let’s get into it.
- Click on the search icon located at the bottom-left corner of your taskbar. Then, type in Command Prompt and open the first result as an administrator.
- Once Command Prompt loads, type in the following command and press Enter on your keyboard: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
The command you just executed will initiate a scan of your registry and tell you if there are any necessary measures to take. Wait a few moments until the process is complete.
Note: The time it takes to complete this process will differ on each PC, as it depends on the system’s performance, the disk size, and a few other factors.
If any repairs are required, enter the following command to begin the process: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
Again, wait a few moments until it’s done.
Please note that you will need to be connected to the internet for this method to work.
Now you know how to remove broken registry items on Windows 10 or 11, which is useful if you are experiencing problems due to an accumulation of corrupt data on your system.
The methods listed in this guide are completely safe to use, but we still recommend creating a backup of your current OS settings, just in case.
Ultimately, you always have the option of completely resetting Windows 10 or 11 if you want a fresh start.