Having a PC slow down can be a real problem. This is why the tech magazines are always full of articles that show you how to speed up an old computer.
As you use the Internet, you probably often come across advertisements that promise to clean up your PC and whip it into shape. You’ll get faster boot times, snappier performance and you’ll be safer from malware, they promise you. Some of them are entirely too upbeat to sound like genuine products (MyCleanPC and PCBooster are two well-known names here). Other products come from major computer software brands –Ashampoo, Piriform and Comodo – and are truly free.
The question is – are these products really useful or are they a scam?
What exactly PC cleanup software does
Piriform’s CCleaner is possibly the most well-known of all PC cleanup tools. It sports a simple and thorough interface, offers full functionality and is free. WinOptimizer, by Ashampoo, offers full functionality, too. The interface requires some technical competence to use, though.
The free versions of PC Booster and MyCleanPC offer very limited functionality. They are mostly only good to scan your system with. To fix anything, they ask you to buy the full version.
All these programs claim to attack your computer’s slowdown in three ways.
- They scan your system for unnecessary files and data that are a drag on its performance and delete them.
- They look through your registry for old and orphaned entries whose removal would benefit your system.
- They speed up your computer’s startup time by allowing you to disable all the programs that your computer launches by default.
Testing these claims is easy enough
You don’t really need to buy paid PC cleaning software to test these claims out. Piriform’s CCleaner is one of the best cleaning utilities. It is free too. You could simply try it out and then test your computer to see how much faster it runs.
If yours is like most casual use computers, you have probably used it to surf the web a lot for months, never doing much about the stock trial software that came installed on the machine and carelessly installed and uninstalled all kinds of apps and software yourself.
To measure how much good PC cleaning software does, you need to first test how well your computer performs before your cleaning software cleans it out. Once your cleaning software does its thing, you need to test it again to find out if the cleaning has made your computer any faster.
There are many well-respected computer benchmarking programs available for free home use that help you gauge your computer’s performance. PC Mark 7 and SiSoft SANDRA are two well-regarded names.
This is what you’re likely to find
Tests usually reveal that PC cleaning programs tend to achieve little, if anything. Cleaning programs certainly do help you speed up computer startup time by disabling bloatware and trial software. This is something one could do on Windows even without special software. PC cleaning can do little for the way your computer performs, once it starts.
Trial PC cleaning programs often try to scare users into buying their full versions by running scans and pointing to thousands of imaginary problems. It’s important not to fall for these scare tactics. Superfluous registry entries and browser cookies rarely slow computers down.