There is a multi-billion dollar business selling PC and Mac cleaning software. They come in all shapes, sizes, and prices, and tout the need to clean, tweak, and repair your computer to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. I’ve even written about many of these programs myself in the Help Desk Geek and Online Tech Tips.
But do you really need all this software? Is there a real benefit or is this just nonsense? Well, the answer depends on the circumstances. Sometimes a third party program can provide a valuable service if you know how to use it.
However, I have found that most of the utilities recommended on the Internet contain many options and settings that can harm your computer more than help. Moreover, many utilities themselves install malware into your system, causing damage.
When you talk about cleaning up your computer, be it Mac or PC, it can refer to any number of things. Let’s take a look at what each of these categories are and see if it makes sense to use them.
A long time ago I wrote a typical article on the 10 best registry cleaners and essentially handed out a list of popular and semi-popular registry cleaners without really explaining anything.
What does a registry cleaner actually do? Well, it basically (and theoretically) should delete unused or old entries, thereby “speeding up” your computer.
Even if you delete only those entries that are not needed, the performance impact will be minimal. If you try to search for real performance tests performed before and after using the registry cleaner, you will find that there are very few real benchmarks and there is little or no difference in performance across the benchmarks.
So this is the first thing. The second problem is that many registry cleaners remove invalid entries. The only one I have used and continue to use is CCleaner This is the only way not to break your system.
In fact, there is no other that I can fully vouch for. It’s best to download the free version to see the benefits first, but the pro version includes real-time monitoring, automatic updates, and unlimited support, which I recommend on any PC.
After all, registry cleaners can break your computer, offer no real performance boost, and waste your time. If you want to speed up your PC, read my articles on how to speed up Windows boot up and five ways to speed up Windows 10
Also uninstall unnecessary programs on your system. From a performance standpoint, this is much more than cleaning the registry.
File cleaners are tools that will do their best to remove unnecessary or unused files on your computer. This includes temporary files, cookies, Windows patches, cache files, history files, log files, clipboard data, and so on, etc. In my opinion, you only need two decent programs to do this, CCleaner and PC Decrapifier
CCleaner does a great job of cleaning up files that you may no longer need. Again, I’ve never really saved much space by using the tool, but if you really want to be really neat and tidy, this is all you need.
On average, I save about 1 GB of space when I run it every few months. Not much, but good if you have a small hard drive. You should also read my other post on how to clean up disk space in Windows by changing Windows settings.
PC Decrapifier is a program that helps you uninstall unnecessary software that comes with new PCs that you buy from Dell, HP, etc. I personally recommend just doing a clean install first and then using your computer. Here’s my guide to a clean install of Windows 10
If you install a lot of software on your computer, you can easily uninstall it yourself. However, there is a whole category of software that can help you uninstall programs. It’s necessary? View. I personally try not to install anything on my main computer that I will not use every day.
If I want to try something or my kids want to play a game, etc., I use an additional computer and install everything unnecessary. The machine is then wiped clean every few months and restarted. I also use a virtual machine and load other software there.
If you don’t have a second PC, or don’t know how virtual PCs work, your system may have software that you no longer need. Most programs have uninstallers to properly remove all files, but often they leave things behind. In addition to this, some programs simply do not have uninstallers, which is very annoying.
In such cases, I only suggest Revo Uninstaller It has been around for a long time and works best. It’s not free, so I would only spend money if you have a lot of programs that don’t come with proper uninstaller programs. Otherwise, you can uninstall them and then run CCleaner to remove any old or unused entries from these programs.
Also, as with most of these tools, it comes with some other utilities that you really don’t need. However, in my book, this is still ok for some users, as uninstalling programs in Windows is not always smooth.
Startup cleaners are really useless programs if you ask me. Windows has built-in tools to view all the programs that run on your system, and there is really no need to see the boot drivers, DLLs, etc. that advertise some of these programs. Apart from simple programs, it really doesn’t matter unless you are a computer geek.
Many programs claim to give you descriptions and details about each of the programs, and while that may be true, you really don’t need a program for that information.
Just read my article on how to change startup programs in Windows 7/8/10, then google search for any startup item you’re not sure about!
I definitely don’t recommend installing a startup cleaner as it can be done by the user with a little time and research. Now, can disabling startup programs make a difference? Yes!
Startup programs can really slow down your PC, so it’s advised to disable anything you think you don’t need. Again, this is similar to the registry, because if you disable the wrong item, your computer may not function properly. Just google it before you unplug anything and you should be fine.
Duplicate file finders
Another set of tools is for removing duplicate files. I have had many instances where I copied the same photos or videos from my camera and then used up a lot of extra space because of this.
Finding duplicate files can save disk space if you have a lot of duplicate photos, videos or music.
Also, make sure you don’t buy anything. There are many great free software out there that can find duplicates, so don’t buy something just to remove duplicates.
Browser cleaners / archives
For the most part, you don’t really need browser and history cleaners. You can delete your history and make sure it cannot be recovered.
Most people end up buying this software because they have some shadow views that they need to hide and they are afraid that someone will find them if they don’t use one of these tools that claim to be theirs. the program can actually delete your browsing history. Complete BS. Here are some of the previous articles I’ve written on this topic:
How to delete and delete cookies
Basically, you want to delete your browsing history with your browser and clear your cache. This is it. You don’t need any fancy tools to do this. No one has ever been able to reconstruct my history. I even tried to reconstruct my own history to make sure it was good enough and it was.
Internet speed boosters
Internet speed boosters are another gimmicky category of software that you should never install. These programs are more likely to break your internet connection or slow it down more than anything will speed up.
Do you want a faster internet connection? Get a faster wireless router, eliminate wireless interference, and boost your Wi-Fi signal.
In some cases, changing some TCP or network settings can speed up the writing / reading of files over the network, but usually this concerns LAN traffic, not the Internet connection. Call your ISP and increase your download speed, but don’t install a speed booster!
As you can see from the above, I do not recommend installing too many so-called optimizers and tuning utilities on your computer. There are some good programs out there, but most suck.
Try to do as much as possible yourself, and then only use proven programs like the ones I mentioned above. What do you think about cleaning up utilities? Do you use any? Enjoy!