Junk and temporary files accumulate on the hard disk drive over time and if left, they could consume quite a bit of space. Even if you have a big hard disk, the quantity of files could cause the system to slow down slightly. The registry also grows as you install software and uninstallers fail to remove entries and this also slows down the system or can cause various problems. Web browsers store your history, cache web pages and save cookies, which you might not want others to see.
The solution is a cleanup tool. There are lots of utilities to choose from and many are free. Here are five that you might not have heard of. Some of them are very good.
JetClean is a free cleanup tool that works on all versions of Windows from 2000 to Windows 8. It uses a custom interface that is nicely designed and is easy to use. The 1-Click tab has all the cleaning functions and these include the registry, Windows, apps, shortcuts and RAM. The Apps Clean section includes web browser caches, history, passwords and other information and it supports all the major browsers.
A variety of other apps can be cleaned, such as Office, Acrobat, Photoshop, QuickTime Player, Flash and so on. Each section has many items and all of them have tick boxes. You tick the items you want to clean and click the big Scan Now button at the bottom. A list of items to be cleaned is displayed, again with tick boxes so you can choose the items you want. You can then clean them. Applications can be uninstalled, Windows startup items disabled and there is a performance booster. This stops unnecessary services and background tasks and there are settings for work, playing games and custom.
System Ninja is a simpler tool than JetClean and its cleanup functions are limited to the disk drive. It scans the disk for temporary files, torrent tags, thumbnail caches, internet cookies, caches and history, Windows logs, memory dumps, recent files and miscellaneous junk. Each of the categories of junk can be included or excluded from the scan. When the scan is complete, a list of files is displayed and clicking the Delete button removes them.
The PC Analysis tab provides information about the computer and it is quite detailed. It describes the processor's capabilities, lists the motherboard, shows the disk drives and so on. The System Tools tab has a Startup Manager, but it's not really any better than msconfig though. Process Manager shows what's running and lets you terminate process, but Task Manager can do that. It's free, there's a portable version that doesn't need installing, and it cleans up junk files on the disk.
App Cleaner is another utility that is available in a portable version and this means it doesn't add to the clutter you're trying to clean up! The interface is clean and simple. There are two rows of tabs and the top one consists of Cleaner, Tools and Options. Select Cleaner and the second row of tabs lets you select the apps, browsers, registry and Windows system items to be cleaned. Everything has tick boxes, so you can clean as much or as little as you want. After scanning the PC, a list of item categories is displayed. It's not obvous, but each can be right clicked to view the items in the category. You can also right click each category and clean it individually.
The Tools tab displays Uninstall, Startup and System Restore sub-tabs. The first is like Add or Remove Programs/Programs and features and you can uninstall software. An added extra is the option to delete an uninstaller entry - sometimes they get stuck. The Startup tab is like msconfig and System Restore lists the restore points Windows has created and lets you delete any you don't want. This is a nice app that works well and the only thing missing are tick boxes in the scan results so you can select/deselect individual items.
ToolWiz Care is unusual in several ways. For a start, when you double click the downloaded file it asks whether you want to install it or run it without installing. If you choose the latter then a small number of features aren't available, but the majority are. The other tools on test have extra functions apart from cleaning the system, but ToolWiz Care takes this to another level and there are lots of extra tools. On the home screen there is the upload and download speed, CPU temperature, disk access speed, CPU and memory usage. There are also links to 10 different tools.
The one-click Checkup button on the home screen analyses the computer and discovers security problems, registry errors, junk files on the disk drive, internet caches and history, and so on. Clicking the Cleanup icon displays the results on tabs and you can select or deselect items for removal using tick boxes. Your PC is given a score according to how bad it is and 90+ is fine, but less than 90 means it can be improved. On the Tools tab are 18 different tools including Disk Doctor, File Shredder, Duplicate File Finder, Game Turbo Boost, Registry Defrag and others. It's surprising how many utilities are in this small program. It's not the best cleanup tool, but if you want more than just cleanup functions then it's a good bundle of apps.
ToolWiz Care offers two modes of operating when it starts up and you can choose to run it in safe or advanced modes. Safe mode is basically a one-click cleanup of the most common junk files on the disk drive, whereas advanced mode lists the items to be scanned and tick boxes enable you to select or deselect them. This is purely a disk cleanup tool and it doesn't scan the registry like most of the others on test. This makes it less powerful than some tools. However, it does have a scheduler and you can run it automatically every day, week, month and so on, which is useful.
There is a Startup Manager that lists the programs that start with Windows, but it's no better than msconfig. A Favorites manager sorts Internet Explorer Favorites and Start menu items into alphabetical order. The program has a Windows XP-style interface, which is OK, but it doesn't really look right in Windows 7. Zapit System Cleaner is a simple utility, but the competition is stiff and all these utilities are free. You are better off with one of the others.
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