Anyone that has used a PC for any length of time has experienced computer slow-downs, crashes, lack of disk space, and other annoying performance problems. While there are certain steps you should and can take to improve your computer's performance (see our article Computer Maintenance Tips)
some computer maintenance operations cannot be performed by other than computer maintenance/cleaning programs.
We were asked to evaluate a computer maintenance/speedup product developed by PC Cleaner Inc.called PC Cleaner. In addition to being a computer maintenance product, PC Cleaner is also a computer speedup product because it also optimizes your computer's Internet speed and system memory usage.
Getting Started. Before using the program for the first time you should setup the program to run efficiently on your computer.
Go to the Settings Tab and review the General settings which are some basic program startup and system tray choices. Next you should click on Tools Settings and set PC Optimizer, and Internet Tuner, to the settings which reflect your PC's characteristics. You can check out some of the other settings later as you become more familiar with PC CLeaner.
PC Cleaner performs the following computer maintenance tasks in automatic one-click mode; Windows Registry Cleaner, System Clutter Cleaner, Privacy Guard, ActiveX Cleaner, PC Optimizer, and Malware Cleaner.
Let's briefly discuss the functions of each module.
1. Windows Registry Cleaner. When programs install they make text entries to the Windows Registry. Unfortunately when programs uninstall or when Windows crashes, the Registry can contain improper, corrupt, or unneeded entries. As the Registry is used to boot your computer, it is important that this file does not contain errors.
Prior to correcting entries in your Registry, PC Cleaner backs up the Registry file with System Restore, so if any problems occur during the correction of the Registry, you can use System Restore to reboot your computer to its previous working state. This is an important safety feature that some other cleaning programs do not incorporate into their programs.
2. System Clutter Cleaner. This module cleans junk files from your system which include temp files, internet garbage, duplicate files etc. It is possible to specify what type of junk you want cleaned or your can just let PC Cleaner do it for you.
3. Privacy Guard. Gets rid of internet junk that is saved to your system by your browser including history files, cookies, the browser's cache, and other information that hostile programs can use against you.
4. ActiveX Cleaner. PC Cleaner will identify potentially harmful ActiveX files (ActiveX programs are programs that run in Internet Explorer). Windows ActiveX malware symptoms can include program lock-ups, slow PC performance, system freezes, shut down and startup problems, and installation errors.
5. PC Optimizer. This module attempts to tweak Internet speed, system settings, and system memory usage to make your computer faster. To get the most out of this module, you need to configure the PC Optimizer and Internet Tuner for your computer (see Getting Started above).
Whether or not you will notice large performance gains from this module depends on how badly your computer needs tuning. However, the plus side is if you run PC Cleaner regularly you should not have speed losses in these areas.
6. Malware Cleaner. A Malware and Spyware Protection Cleaner which scans your complete system for malicious threats including: viruses, spyware, rogue programs, trojans, adware, rootkit, dialers, worms, parasites and other potentially harmful programs that may be installed on your computer. (Note: This is a quick check of your system for malware programs. You should still use a full featured antivirus program like Ad Aware Pro, Panda AntiVirus Pro, BitDefender Total Security, or Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus on a daily basis.)
In addition to the one-click/automatic cleaning and optimizing modules above, PC Cleaner also includes additional tools, among them a robust program uninstaller, and a startup utility that allows you to limit which programs are allowed to run at startup.
A final nice feature is that with purchase of the program (around $40) you receive free customer support. So if you need help, it's just an email away.
Overall Assessment - PC Cleaner is a good toolset that everyone can benefit from and it is reasonably priced. It is aimed at the average PC user and does not require a lot of user involvement to derive major benefits. That being said, those that consider themselves major computer tweekers will probably want a program that gives them more user control.
However, for the typical PC user, this program will more than pay for itself in a very short time. The program can be downloaded and run for free, so you can get an idea of what it will clean on your system. You have to buy/register the program to clean and optimize your computer.
Email Question: My C drive has no more space and I want to make space but don't know what programs I should get ride of. Does PC Cleaner clean it automatically, keeping only the must keep programs?
InfoHQ.com Answer: PC Cleaner will only clean up junk files not in use by your system or programs. It does not delete program files, emails, documents or any other file you have created.
The program only cleans junk files from your system which include temp files, internet garbage, duplicate files etc.
You can see exactly what files will be cleaned by running PC Cleaner and then clicking on the edit button which will show you the files it will remove. You can also specify what types of files you want cleaned by going into Settings/Junk File Cleaner.
I have been steadily using the program for over 3 months and have not had any problems with PC Cleaner being too aggressive in its cleaning. I just use the automatic settings and let it clean up the junk (which just now was 542 junk files).
If you try this product, or would like to make a comment on this article, please use the comment form below.