Best Free Tune-Up Utilities Kit

 

Introduction

All-in-one packages are an option, but many people find the lack of control frustrating, and it's more likely that you'll be attracted to the use of several specialized packages which offer more settings and better user control. This approach is less convenient than a one-click package that "does it all", but it's more customizable, offers more powerful cleaning functions and most importantly, it's also less dangerous, as it will encourage you to stop and think.

Bear in mind fragmented drives, unnecessary startup entries and so on are not the only causes for a slow computer. I suggest you also follow the Spyware Removal Guide instructions to verify if your computer is clean from malware, which can also slow your computer.

 

In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 

Discussion

There are many different tune-up utility combinations that can be used. Many of you are using some of these utilities already, but for those who aren't, here's my "freeware clean-up kit" suggestion:

Autoruns to disable unnecessary startup items. You can check entries with Bleeping Computer's Startup Programs Database.

CCleaner for disk cleaning and to uninstall programs you don't use.

Defraggler as your disk-defragmenter.

These are suggestions only. There are some splendid alternatives in each category, which you can find in the appropriate software categories at this site.

I recommend that you run the cleaning and defragging programs monthly. After each monthly Windows update is an excellent time to run a clean up. If you install and uninstall a lot of products, you may want to increase this frequency to weekly or even daily.

If you have never tuned up your PC, then you should see a real improvement in speed and responsiveness the first time you run these programs. However, on subsequent runs the improvement may be much less noticeable.

Caution

Registry cleaning is potentially dangerous and generally should not be used, and definitely not as a regular maintenance tool. There is no evidence that registry cleaning improves system performance, but there have been many users who have had application and/or system errors after running a registry cleaner. Registry defragging does not have any adverse side effects but I also have not seen any performance gains from it.

Do check the settings for each program before you run it, particularly CCleaner, which can be aggressive.

Remember that cleaning your PC always involves a small element of risk, so create an image backup and have copy of your data before you start.

 

Related Products and Links

Related Tune Up Utilities Articles

Articles on other Sites

 

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Quick Selection Guide

Autoruns
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Disable unecessary startup items
12.0
500 KB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
Windows XP and higher
CCleaner
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Clean disks and uninstall programs.
http://www.ccleaner.com/
4.13.4693
3.53 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Feature limited freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP to 8.1
Defraggler
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
http://www.defraggler.com/
2.18.945
4.2 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
This product is portable.
Windows XP to 8.1

 

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tune up utilities, tuneup utilities

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Comments

by Anonymous on 19. August 2008 - 22:44  (6306)

Hi, thanks for the list. Here are my current favorites. These are all Vista compatible and haven't caused me any problems. I also like to minimize the number of programs I use, so some programs are in multiple categories.

Disk and Privacy Cleaner:
(1a) CCleaner
(2a) Advanced WindowsCare 3 Beta (AWC 3)
(2b) AWC 3 AutoCare (but I don't use it now since it is poorly designed; I hope they improve it)
(2c) AWC 3 Disk Cleaner (in its system utilities) or/and Windows' Disk Cleaner
(3a) Zsoft Uninstaller's Disk Cleaner; Revo Uninstaller has one too.

Disk Defragmenter:
(4) JkDefrag
(5) Auslogics Registry Defrag

See Jeroan Kessel's JKdefrag manual for my pagedefrag method (I manually set it up by following the directions under "How do I defragment "c:\pagefile.sys"?")
http://www.kessels.com/Jkdefrag/

Registry Cleaner:
(1b) CCleaner
(2d) AWC 3 Beta (new and improved deep scan)
(6a) Spybot S&D (a mini reg cleaner that searches for a few things that most others do not search for)

I have also tried Eusing and Easy Cleaner, but I also want to stay away from tampering too much with the Vista registry.

Preventative Measures (Prevent the Need for Cleaning, as much):
(1c) CCleaner set to NSA Secure Delete (or so): sometimes things that you clean come back automatically unless they get shredded.
(2e) AWC 3 set to DOD Secure Delete
(3b) Zsoft Uninstaller or Revo Uninstaller or both
(6b) Spybot S&D File Shredder

Suggestions:
*Run the PC Decrapifier at least once, even if you installed Windows from scratch because it cleans a couple wasteful windows programs. It will also give you the option of removing just about any program too, but I prefer to use an uninstaller like Zsoft.
http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/home
* Remember to turn off Windows features you don't want. Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn windows features on or off.
* You could also clean the start menus and desktop by deleting unneeded clutter. Some programs help clean the desktop, but I like to do it myself.
* SUPERantispyware comes with a BootSafe program that allows you to simply restart in safe mode. Safe mode allows you to defrag more files since running files will not be defragged. Or you could press F8 before windows loads and select safe mode.
* Use a startup Manager. The Spybot S&D Startup Manager is pretty good. Also the Ccleaner Startup Manager is pretty good. Also the various AWC 3 Beta system utilities are pretty good.
* Read Gizmo's guides on safe-surfing (whether for at home or in public) since programs like Sandboxie will help automatically delete your web tracks after you are done (this is a good complement to the privacy cleaners at the top).
http://www.techsupportalert.com/safe-surfing.php
http://www.techsupportalert.com/improving-public-terminal-security.htm
*** Only if you like risk taking! If so, then you can clean your system services manually. There is a guide by briard that has a section on cleaning windows services. You may not need to do this at all, because AWC 3 Beta optimizes system services by turning off several.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/make-vista-run-faster.htm

References, Possibilities, and Other Alternatives

For Ccleaner, Defraggler, and other stuff:
http://www.piriform.com/

For AWC Personal, AWC 3, SmartDefrag, and other stuff:
http://www.iobit.com/

For Auslogics' Disk Defrag and Registry Defrag:
http://www.auslogics.com/en/software

For Spybot Search and Destroy:
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

Zsoft Uninstaller:
http://www.download.com/ZSoft-Uninstaller/3000-2096_4-10409090.html?hhTe...

Revo Uninstaller (if you want more than Zsoft):
http://majorgeeks.com/Revo_Uninstaller_d5706.html

by JonathanT on 20. August 2008 - 8:09  (6324)

Hi

Thanks for sharing your information!

Autoruns is also a very comprehensive startup manager.

by Anonymous on 20. August 2008 - 10:37  (6328)

Personaly I use only Ntregopt. Erunt does not compact the registry like you state in the review. I would also say if he uses JKD he doesn't need Defraggler. SSD is completely outdated.

by JonathanT on 20. August 2008 - 11:31  (6329)

Hi

I thought ERUNT bundles Nregopt with it?

Thanks

by Anonymous on 20. August 2008 - 20:23  (6352)

Thank you for your response. I tried out Defraggler, noticing that its out of Beta testing now and it looks pretty good. I'm not sure what the defrag freespace function is all about, though. I actually think that it is best to stick with just one main defrag program (excepting a registry defrag and/or pagedefragger) and not to use more than one for optimizing and sorting, at least not at the same time and certainly not in different sorting or optimizing modes. So if you know what you are doing then it will probably be fine, but most other users should choose only one main defragger (and that includes not selecting AWC 3's smartdefrag option, but I do allow it to defrag regularly when it cleans). For example, you need to verify that they optimize or sort using similar methods, such as by name or by last access or just whatever. Otherwise you might get the two working against each other and the files just going back and forth, creating more wear and tear.

Though, it should be noted that I don't use Defraggler anymore, and that I just wanted to post the website for the company that makes Ccleaner (it just happens that they also make Defraggler). I personally like to mix and match, taking the best programs from different types of companies/programmers. But I like to know something about the people who make any program I rely on regularly.

SSD is actually up-to-date in a number of ways: it regularly updates, it improves its interface and programming (for example, look at its immunizations now), and it has greatly increased its list of things to search for. That said, most find that it is not nearly as good as SAS and MBA combined at combating spyware. But I rarely get spyware. SAS alone is fine for me unless it find something (but I use AWC 3 and SSD for second opinions), and then I would go looking for a full spyware removal guide. So, I look more at the extras and decide to use a second anti-spyware by what other goodies it has. SSD has a lot of tools that I like, and I am used to using it.

The AWC Automated Care function is now a little improved in the new Beta release on the 19th, but it still displays a large report that does not automatically go away like a lot of other pop up messages. I dislike that because it prevents me from allowing AWC 3 to autostart on other computers I maintain for novice users, who get a little panicky or confused about any pop up message boxes. But I use it now on my computer and it is pretty good.

original poster

by Anonymous on 20. August 2008 - 20:26  (6353)

They are two independent programs, erunt for backup, ntregopt for defrag and compress. Yes, you have a bundle @ larshederer, but you can also do independent downloads, or you can install one and not the other. There are also portable versions of both programs available.

PS: Nice to know your current ID is 'JonathanT' !, I was wondering where 'James Smith' was !

by JonathanT on 21. August 2008 - 8:31  (6713)

Hi

The link I provided (Snapfiles) downloads a bundled package, so I guess it's OK.

Yes, JamesSmith was a pseudonym and this is my real name.

by Anonymous on 26. October 2008 - 14:44  (9670)

No problem, I'm always looking to play around with freeware. I think this sort of article is helpful at providing strategy, and it has the advantage of being resource friendly.

Since I wrote before I have become less interested in Advanced SystemCare since they now disable features in their newest Beta version.

Disk and Privacy Cleaner:
1. Ccleaner;
2. Revo Uninstaller file cleaner, Windows Disk Cleaner;
* PC Decrapifier (run at least once).

Disk Defragmenter:
3. JkDefrag;
4. Auslogics Registry Defrag.

Registry Cleaner and Registry Backup:
5. Comodo Registry Cleaner.

For the Extras:
6. Glary Utilities (my favorite all-in-one, for when I'm too busy to mess around with all the other programs, and the context manager, shortcut fixer, and other accessories help).

Preventative Measures (Prevent the Need for Cleaning, as much):
* CCleaner set to NSA Secure Delete (or so): sometimes things that you clean come back automatically unless they get shredded;
* Revo Uninstaller.

Save Space/Resources:
1. Autoruns startup manager;
2. Press F8 before windows loads and select safe mode, then run defrag and it will defrag better;
3. Follow this guide: http://www.techsupportalert.com/make-vista-run-faster.htm;
4. Remember to turn off Windows features you don't want. Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn windows features on or off. Clean the start menus and desktop by deleting unneeded clutter.

by JonathanT on 27. October 2008 - 13:29  (9726)

Does Windows Disk Cleaner clean anything which CCleaner doesnt? It seems redundant to me...

Personally I like the Advanced SystemCare beta over Glary, cause even though it's restricted, it's got a disk defragmenter which Glary doesn't have.

by Anonymous on 25. November 2008 - 18:31  (11005)

Yeah, ASC is pretty good. I was very annoyed at IObit, though, for turning off the automated features, making it useless for a long term solution on computer setups for lazy people or the computer illiterate that I only maintain every once in awhile (but Glary isn't helpful here either). Basically for such computers Ccleaner is great, JKdefrag screensaver, Comodo Registry Cleaner (it also has an automated feature on startup); along with Avira/ Sunbelt-Kerio Firewall/Windows Defender/Spybot S&D autoscan so that the computers do not get trashed before I use the better software and get a chance to clean them up.

Actually, ASC has an excellent file cleaner that does make the windows cleaner just superfluous, but Ccleaner would have to be specially setup to find everything that Windows' file cleaner/ASC file cleaner/Revo file cleaner/or EasyClean tends to find from my experience.

But I've been pretty impressed with Comodo registry cleaner and I'm still in the process of testing out its features.

by Anonymous on 17. January 2009 - 0:01  (14036)

Hi, I'm having problems running PageDefrag for some reason. Not sure why though. I have been trying to find out what my issue is but for some reason can't. Anyway, there doesn't seem to be an install, it's just an exe. So now I am wondering if I need to put it into a certain folder or anything. I just extracted it right where it was, on my second hard drive (used mostly for videos and music). Do I need to put it on my main drive? System32 folder? Any ideas? Should I just use Auslogics registry defrag? I'm running Windows 7 beta, and already I have found that a few programs are starting to open slower then they were before. Mostly Opera for some reason. And iTunes. Is there anything else I can do?

by JonathanT on 17. January 2009 - 0:39  (14042)

I don't think PageDefrag runs in Windows 7 beta.

by Anonymous on 17. January 2009 - 15:40  (14086)

No worries. Had to check it out. Most stuff does work with Win 7 but there have been a few exceptions.

by Anonymous on 17. January 2009 - 15:50  (14089)

PageDefrag doesn't even work with Vista, it's XP only. Try Ntregopt.

by Bob on 3. May 2009 - 18:38  (21000)

Hi JT
Do you think defragging the registry has any conceivable benefits?
I mean, should we really be bothering?
Thanks
Bob

by JonathanT on 4. May 2009 - 7:34  (21031)

Actually I've never experienced any performance benefits after running it. In fact I think I'll remove this, thanks for the tip! I had included it before because it doesn't have any adverse side effects unlike registry cleaners and it's bundled with ERUNT but I guess it's not really necessary.

by Bob on 4. May 2009 - 7:39  (21034)

Thanks JT

by JonathanT on 5. May 2009 - 6:51  (21071)

Glad to be of some help.

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