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.
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 are my "freeware clean-up kit" suggestions, of which tools and utilities have been reviewed alongside some splendid alternatives in each category at our site.
Autoruns to disable unnecessary startup items. From more than 20,000 startup entries at Bleeping Computer's Startup Programs Database, you can find top undesirable entries, top unnecessary entries, top keep entries and more. See also other alternatives reviewed at Best Free Startup Manager.
CCleaner for disk cleaning and to uninstall programs you don't use. See this product reviewed in each of the categories below.
- CCleaner reviewed in Best Free PC Cleaner
- CCleaner reviewed in Best Free Hard Drive Eraser
- CCleaner reviewed in Best Free Browser Scrubber
- CCleaner reviewed in Best Free Registry Cleaner
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 software 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.
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
- Best Free PC Tune-Up Utility
- Best Free File Cleaner
- Best Free Browser Scrubber
- Best Free Duplicate File Finder
- Best Free Disk De-fragmenter
- Best Free Registry Cleaner
- Best Free Startup Manager
- Best Free Program Uninstaller
Articles on other Sites
- Super Tweaks for Windows XP by Black Viper
- Super Tweaks for Windows Vista by Black Viper
- Tweak Windows XP
- Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
- Why I don't use registry cleaners
- Registry Cleaners and System Tweaking Tools
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