Ditch the Cleaners in Windows 10

Ditch the Cleaners in Windows 10Still getting ads in email and social media for PC ‘cleaner’ software? Truth is, you don’t need them. It’s time to ditch the cleaners in Windows 10.

It’s well-known that Microsoft Windows Swiss-Army-knife versatility is also it’s weakness when OEM’s and applications software case havoc, spraying files and registry entries willy and indeed nilly across the entire machine. Sometimes installing and uninstalling programs breaks your Windows version and eats disk space.

There is a whole class of software applications for analysing, cleaning and optimising PC’s that have become cluttered, slow and unreliable. That about describes every PC I’ve ever owned. On every version of Windows. These programs offer to auto-magically ‘fix’ every problem and speed up the machine.

It’s a multi-million dollar market that even Microsoft has entered with Microsoft Total PC Cleaner. Thanks, Redmond; you gave me a Windows version so fragile, any programmer can break it with crapware, now you charge me all over again to come along and fix it.

There’s a huge array of ‘cleaner’ applications from the venerable CCleaner, Ashampoo, and Norton Utilities to System Mechanic, CleanMyPC and Restoro.

Most of these are themselves a Swiss-Army suite of tools for getting stones out of Windows’ hooves and a tiny little hacksaw that won’t cut cardboard.

They are at best unnecessary, at worst a con, a scam, a protection racket. Many of the most useful housekeeping tools are built into Windows itself – you have them already.

The Cleaner apps fall into two broad categories:

  • Registry Cleaners
  • Hard drive cleaners

Registry cleaners don’t improve the performance of Windows. At all.

The hard drive cleaners only replicate what you can do with Windows’ inbuilt tools; remove junk files, clear Internet browsing history, caches, and defragment your hard drive. All without installing additional software.

They scare you with the diagnosis of thousands of ‘issues’ and over-hype the benefits of running their tools every five minutes. In the process their startup and background applications can actually cause more damage and slow down your PC worse than the incidental and accidental garbage left behind by poorly behaved software.

The truth is:

  • Windows Disk Cleanup does as good a job as any of the others.
  • A good anti-virus and anti-malware app will keep out a lot of the software that slows and damages our machine.
  • Uninstalling unused, unwanted and old programs will save space and reduce your auto-startup on boot list that guzzles system resources.
  • You can disable auto-startup apps to speed up boot times.
  • You can get rid of manufacturers’ bloatware and sponsored crapware. If you didn’t ask for it, you probably don’t need it. How often do the OEM utilities deliver a new driver for graphics, audio, storage? Mostly they just try to sell you extended warranties and extended support plans.

If your PC is a complete mess, you probably need to do a factory reset or restore from a healthy backup. These are the Reset and Restore options in Windows itself.

The third party cleaner utilities are another brand of snake oil. Don’t fall for them. AJS

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