6 Solutions To Delete Broken Registry Items In Windows

We will tell you how you can delete broken registry items. Did your PC performance get slow? Or, did your favorite apps crash? Or, you can’t find your saved data? These are some of the most common problems every Windows user has to face. So, if you want to know the reasons behind these bugs or errors, you are at the right place.

Here, you will find answers to questions asked before. You can use various solutions, from simple to advanced ones, and restore your PC to its optimal state.

What is the Windows registry?

Windows Registry is a hierarchical database consisting of low-level settings & preferences of Windows OS and other applications that opt to use the Registry. System Tools, services, software, hardware, and even some third-party apps store their settings, preferences, changes, and interactions in the Registry. These pieces of information get written/saved in files known as “Registry keys.” 

Delete broken registry items

Based on the above description, Windows Registry is the DNA of Windows OS. To understand the Registry better, you can refer to this example. Suppose a new software is being installed on your computer.

In this process, a new set of registry data & references gets generated. It is then saved in a specific location so that your OS and other programs can refer to this set of data. They can get information about the file location, functions, and preferences.

Note: Not all programs use the Windows registry to store their configuration data. Other ways to store low-level settings include a .xml file and a portable executable(.exe) file.

Why Do You Need To Delete Broken Or Corrupt Registry Items?

A Registry is essential for your system to operate smoothly and hassle-free. So a clean and tidy Registry database is a necessary condition. But, after some time you use your PC, there will be unused registry files or “broken registry entries” left in the database.

These garbage/residue files are left after uninstalling apps or deleting a file. This will lead to a variety of system errors. E.g., slow performance, program crash/hang. In severe cases, your PC will not boot and display the BLUE SCREEN of DEATH. Hence, regular cleanup and sorting of the Registry database is a boon to your system.

Is It Safe To Fix Or Edit Registry Keys?

The registry contains essential data important for the operation of the Windows system. So any operation including add, change, delete or replace will have far-reaching consequences. You can face frequent app crashes/hang, missing work data, or in severe cases, your PC will not boot.

So it is recommended to be extremely careful doing any operation in the registry. To be on the safe side, you need to make a backup of the Registry data before doing any operation.

How To Delete Broken Registry Items On Windows?

Here’s a list of solutions/methods you can either delete or fix broken registry items.

  1. Perform A Disk Cleanup.
  2. RUN SFC(System File Checker) Command.
  3. Use DISM Command.
  4. Use A Third-Party Registry Scanner.
  5. Run Windows Automatic Repair.
  6. Reset Your Windows 10 PC.

1. Perform A Disk Cleanup.

Microsoft Windows OS provides a set of useful Administrative Tools specifically used to deal with bugs & errors. One such Tool is “Disk Cleanup.” This tool enables you to clean unnecessary files from your PC Disk. Here’s a step-by-step guide, following which you can easily clean your Registry or any other unused/unnecessary files.

  • Open the Windows Start Menu and type in the keyword “Disk Cleanup” in the search bar.
Search for Disk Cleanup app in Windows Start Menu search bar
  • Click on the Disk Cleanup app from the search result.
  • Select the Disk Drive where the Windows system is installed.
Select the Drive that you want to clean.
  • Now click on the “Clean Up System Files” located in the lower-left corner, then select the drive again.
Tick the checkbox options containing files that you want to erase
  • Tick all the available options before clicking the Ok option.

2. Run SFC(System File Checker) Command.

SFC or System File Checker’s main function lies in scanning and fixing corrupt system files. So, how do SFC works? It runs a full scan of Windows OS system files, including Registry, and diagnoses the misbehaving files. Then it tries to fix them by copying an entire file from backups or cached copies. 

  • Open the Windows Start Menu. Type “command prompt” or ”cmd” in the search bar.
  • Right-click on the Command Prompt, then click on the “Run as administrator” option.
Open the Command Prompt in Administrator Mode.
  • Now type in the exact CMD command, then press the Enter button to start the SFC scan:

“SFC /scannow”

Type in "sfc /scannow" command in CMD(Administrator mode)
  • Wait for the process to complete. If the SFC scan finds corrupt registry entries, it will try to fix them.
  • If the SFC scan can’t fix the issue, you need the advanced DISM command to fix or restore corrupt files.

3. Use DISM Command.

DISM or Deployment Image Servicing & Management checks, scans, and restore corrupt system files. This command is an improved version of the SFC command. DISM downloads system files and replaces corresponding missing or corrupt files from the Internet. 

  • Open the Windows Start Menu. Type “command prompt” or ”cmd” in the search bar.
  • Right-click on the Command Prompt, then click on the “Run as administrator” option.
Open the Command Prompt in Administrator Mode.
  • Now type in the exact CMD command then press the Enter button.

“DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth”

Type in "DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth" in CMD
  • If broken files are found using the scan, you need to re-enter the above command.

4. Use A Third-Party Registry Scanner

There are tons of third-party tools or software available online that can be installed on your computer. The advantage of this solution is simplicity. There is no need to enter Command Prompt commands or use the complex Windows Recovery function. It’s a one-click(or multiple clicks) process to scan and fix broken registry items. 

5. Running Windows Automatic Repair

Windows 10 comes with a variety of tools that aids in maintaining and fixing your system. One such tool/utility is Windows Recovery Environment. Using this solution, you can fix corrupt files, including registry entries. However, Automatic Repair can’t fix those third-party apps.

  • Open the Windows Start Menu, then click on the Settings option.
Click on the Settings option located on the lower left corner of Start Menu
  • Navigate to Update & Security-> Recovery.
Click on the Update & Security option in Windows Settings Home page
  • Click on the “Restart now” option under the Advanced startup section.
Under the Advanced Startup section, Click on the Restart now option.
  • Now Windows will reboot to the “Choose an option” blue interface.
Click on the Troubleshoot option from the "Choose an option" blue screen
  • Navigate to Troubleshoot->Advanced Options->Startup Repair.
In the Troubleshoot section, click on the "Advanced options"  choice.
In the Advanced startup page, click on the "Startup Repair" option
  • Sign in using a Local account or your Microsoft account.

Once you have signed in then Windows will proceed with the Startup Repair process.

6. Reset Your Windows 10 PC.

Microsoft introduced the option of Windows Reset in the Windows 10 version. The main function of this option is to restore your PC settings to factory default. This will clean your drive and reset the Registry Database.

Moreover, a Windows User has autonomy over the decision to either keep the personal files or remove them. This will clean your Drive and reset the Registry Database.

  • Open the Windows Start Menu, then click on the Settings option.
Click on the Update & Security option in Windows Settings Home page
  • Navigate to Update & Security-> Recovery.
  • Click on the “Get started” option located in the “Reset this PC” section.
Under the "Reset this PC" section, click on the "Get started" button
  • Now you will have three options which are “Keep my files”, “Remove everything” and “Restore factory settings”. Choose an option according to your preference.
Choose any of the two choices: "Keep my files" or "Remove everything"

Note: After the reset process is completed, you have to reinstall/reconfigure all of your previous apps & settings regardless of the option chosen during Reset.


It can be said that a Clean and tidy Registry database is necessary for your Windows PC to operate in optimal condition. Regular cleanup of garbage/residue registry entries can keep your computer healthy.

So if you suffer from slow performance, frequent crashes, etc. cleaning the registry will solve these problems. Microsoft comes with a variety of tools and procedures to help you clean your registry. These include the Disk Cleanup tool, SFC & DISM Command, Windows Recovery Environment features(Refresh, Reset & Restore), etc.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How Do I Fix Broken Registry Items?

You can use an inbuilt Microsoft tool called “Disk Cleanup” to clean your registry. You can use Command Prompt(Administrator Mode) commands to clean up the registry. The commands include SFC(System File Checker) and DISM(Deployment Image Servicing & Management). There are also complex solutions for you to choose from. Performing Windows Automatic Repair, PC Reset are examples of such solutions.

What causes registry errors?

Registry errors occur due to improper uninstallation of software & programs. Various files such as settings preference and saved game data remain as residue. Moreover, viruses such as Trojan, Spyware cause registry errors by altering the Registry.

Do Broken Registry Items Matter?

Broken registry items interfere with the operation of your Windows OS. They are responsible for various PC issues such as app crashes, PC hang or in some cases the BLUE SCREEN of DEATH. So the answer to this question is Yes, broken registry items matter.

How Do I Manually Clean My Registry?

If you want to manually delete a Registry key then you need to access the Registry Editor. Open the Windows Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R key, then type in “regedit” and press the Enter button. In the Registry Editor navigate to the location of the file you want to delete/fix. Here you can delete the Registry files in the same way as you delete normal files. Warning: You need to have absolute surety about the target registry item is the culprit.

What Happens If You Delete Registry Keys?

The Registry acts as a central database of your Windows PC. It contains all low-level settings and configuration information. So, if you delete registry keys you can face consequences such as PC hang, app crash and BLUE SCREEN of DEATH.

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.