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PC Cleaning Software: Is It Worth It?

The online world is littered with advertisements for applications promising to clean your PC and make it feel brand new again. But is this software really beneficial? Or are they just digital snake oil? In this comprehensive guide, we will go over the facts and false promises of PC cleaning software.

Table of Contents

  • What is PC Cleaning Software

  • How They Work

  • False Claims

  • Being Aware of the Risks

  • The built-in PC Cleaning Tools in Windows

  • Tips to Clean Up your PC Yourself

  • The Verdict: Do You Really Need PC Cleaning Software?

What Is PC Cleaning Software

PC cleaning software are applications that claim to improve your computer's performance by removing junk files, deleting outdated registry entries, and disabling unnecessary tasks. They can either be free, monthly payments, or just one up front cost. These applications promise to solve a multitude of PC issues and promise improved performance, faster boot times, and sometimes even enhanced privacy.

How They Work

The main function of PC cleaning apps is scanning your system for any unused and unnecessary files or data and marking it for deletion. Sometimes this will be cache, which is leftover junk from programs and system processes, and sometimes this will just be old forgotten files. Some of them will also check for background processes and startup items and disable them if they are not needed, to free up memory and improve performance.

False Claims

A lot of PC cleaning apps offer a "free diagnosis," which is an attempt to scare users into thinking their computers have thousands of "issues" that can be fixed for an easy payment. After running a scan, they present an alarming count of issues on your computer. However, these issues often include every browser cookie, history entry, temporary file, invalid registry entry, etc. The intention is to scare users who do not know what all these mean into purchasing their service.

Being Aware of the Risks

While there are many legitimate PC cleaning applications out there, some may end up doing more harm than good. Given that PC cleaning software is most commonly targeted towards less savvy users, they are a lot more likely to be malicious than other programs. Some programs can deliver other apps onto your system, creating bloat and doing the opposite of what you wanted in the first place, while in the worst case scenario they can spy on your activities and steal your data. 

The built-in PC Cleaning Tools in Windows

Windows includes built-in PC cleaning tools that are arguably just as good as any third-party software. Tools like the Disk Cleanup utility can help free up some additional space on your hard drive, while the Disk Defragmenter utility can be used to improve your computer's performance. 

Tests have shown that in the majority of cases the Windows in-house cleaning tools were equally as effective as third-party programs.

Tips to Clean Up Your PC Yourself

If you want to clean up your PC manually, here are some steps you can take:

  • Run the Disk Cleanup tool included with Windows.

  • Clear your browser cookies.

  • Run the Disk Defragmenter included with Windows.

  • Uninstall software you no longer use, especially those running at startup and browser plug-ins.

  • Regularly update your OS and all installed software to the latest versions.

The Verdict: Do You Really Need PC Cleaning Software?

At their best, PC cleaning apps do a few marginally useful things that you can’t do with tools included with Windows. They do not significantly improve system performance or hasten boot times. More than often, they are unnecessary and present a risk to your device. 

If you’re concerned about the state of your computer and would like to have it cleaned professionally, book an appointment with us through our site.

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