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people see registry cleaners differently. Sometimes they really need to be termed as "SNAKE OIL" but often they help you getting rid of big havocs. To me, yeah some do work (not all but those that have solid scanning ability to diagnose problems in Registry). Try using Registry Recycler and you will see performance boost in your system.
I like the Q&A in the linked article: "Do registry cleaners work? Maybe." Which, of course, implies maybe not as well.
I have seen so many PCs screwed up by people using registry cleaners who weren't careful, or perhaps didn't know what they were doing. I would tread carefully with registry cleaners if I used them at all. I whole-heartedly agree with the article that you should make a back up before using a registry cleaner, if you decide to go that route.
Personally, I take the view that you are generally better off leaving the registry alone. Sure there are going to be some unused settings, but it doesn't make much of a difference. You are unlikely to see much, if any improvement in a computer's speed from messing around with the registry, and there is the real risk of screwing up and removing something needed by the OS.