If you use Google Search or visit any other website that has ads, which is hard to avoid, you’ve probably seen ads for products that claim to speed up your computer.
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to manually clean up your computer, you may be tempted to throw some money at the problem, just not enough to buy a new one. The question is, do any of these products work?
I’ve had several colleagues try System Mechanic by iolo. They have reported seeing noticeable speed improvements on older laptops they had laying around. One of them even told me “I love it.” And I’ll tell you, it’s not often I hear that. I’ll warn you that although System Mechanic has a solidly designed user interface, the sheer mass of the technical language it tosses around can be intimidating to a non-technical person. On the bright side, if you take the time to learn what it’s saying, you aren’t left in the dark with what it’s doing. I haven’t done extensive testing on the security components, so I can’t make a recommendation for that. System Mechanic is priced as a premium solution, but it has a trial version if you want to kick the tires.
Another tool that has gotten some good press is Glary Utilities from Glarysoft. Glary Utilities advertises features to clean and repair your system, optimize startup and memory, permanently delete or recover accidentally deleted files and more. I have not tested the pro version, but the slim version had promising results. Glarysoft does try to monetize the free version with a toolbar, but instructions to remove it aren’t hard to find.
I remember testing CCleaner a few years ago. While CCleaner doesn’t make explicit claims about speeding up your PC, it can help it the long run. Standing by its name, CCleaner helps remove disused programs and unnecessary files on your machine. A recent release of CCleaner added support for Windows 8.1 and cleanup options for a bunch of new programs. This one has a free version and it won’t try to install anything extra, say an unwanted browser toolbar, like some of the other options. This tool has a lot of respect in the IT community. It gets my highest recommendation as a tool to try.
It’s important to note that there have been reports of some of these system cleaners causing conflicts with certain antivirus programs and even the installation of normal windows updates. Take the time to do some research of your own before making a commitment. I also highly recommend doing a full-system backup before installing any potentially invasive program.
Next column we’ll look at some options for cleaning your PC on your own.
Jon Reid is an IT professional working in Corner Brook. His column appears every other Tuesday in The Western Star.