For the uninitiated, the Windows Registry is a complex database that stores settings and options for your PC's operating system.

Within the Registry is information and settings for all hardware, software and user settings. If the Registry contains broken entries, or is simply cluttered, PC performance will suffer.

Registry Mechanic 8.0 aims to solve Registry problems, eliminating crashes, slowdowns and error messages. It does this by scanning for and repairing invalid Registry entries, and tuning the database so everything works efficiently. 

If that sounds complex, it is. (The first thing they teach you in tech journalism school is: 'if you're not sure what you're doing, you must never, EVER mess with the Registry.')

Fortunately, PC Tools says Registry Mechanic 8.0 is 'designed with simplicity and functionality in mind', and the user interface is indeed clean and easy to follow. You get smart updates and customer support for a year after purchase.

Registry Mechanic 8.0: 'extras'

System Optimizer is one simple feature of Registry Mechanic. In essence it switches off startup programs that aren't required. You know, the kind of things Microsoft just assumes everyone wants to have running from the start - network printing for example, is unnecessary if you're not on a network. We like System Optimizer - it's intuitive and works well.

Registry Mechanic 8.0 has plenty of such features, some as useful System Optimizer, others not so much. Windows Management Tools, for example, seems a little pointless. In essence, it's the Windows Control Panel, plus Ctrl-Alt-Del, Task Manager, but with PC Tools branding.

But cleaning the Registry is RM8's raison d'etre, and boy, does it clean a Registry. For your peace of mind Registry Mechanic 8.0 also backs up the Registry each time it makes changes.