PC Tune-Up Software: Does it Really Work?
If you’re looking at speeding up the operation of your computer, then you may already have come across a category of software known as PC tune-up tools—sometimes known as system optimizers or junk cleaners. These products are commonly offered both as standalone software and as components of internet security and antivirus tools. In this article we’ll look at what PC tune-up software commonly does, provide an answer to the all-important question of whether it works, and we’ll also recommend 2 products for you to consider if you’re on a mission to get your PC running as fast and efficiently as possible.
What Does PC Tune-Up Software Do?
PC tune-up tools tend to take a multifaceted approach to cleaning up the system they run on—and we’ll look at what those tools do in just a moment. What devices can you clean up using them? Commercial tools are available for Windows and MacOS—for Linux the open source Bleach Bit is the most popular application but no major paid products currently exist. For smartphone users, both free and paid Android and iOS cleanup tools are available. In this overview, however, we’ll just be looking at the typical capabilities of Windows tools.
What do they do to breathe life into cluttered bogged down systems?
Some of the most common features of PC cleanup tools include:
Junk removal is one of the key features that most PC tune-up tools include in their arsenal of utilities. Junk removers exist in order to scoop up all the unnecessary files that you may have floating around your computer. Types of files that might be taking up space on your system drive for no good reason might include:
- Temporary internet files and caches. These are commonly generated by web browsers. They are used to improve the speed of websites that you frequently access. However, your computer can end up storing caches for many websites that you do not frequently access. Cumulatively, this can add up to hundreds of megabytes worth of data.
- Leftover installation and system files from programs that have since been removed from the computer. Even though uninstalling programs gets rid of the program launcher, there can still be residual configuration files and data archives that are left over. Again, these can end up taking up unnecessary space on your local drives.
Other browser files that tune-up tools can typically remove include:
- Temporary internet files
- Super cookies
- Form histories
- Download histories
If you’ve ever ground your teeth because your PC took minutes to spring to life, then startup bloat may have been to blame. Windows gives users the ability to edit the list of programs and background processes that have the ability to automatically start when the system boots up, but this can be more easily accessed from an optimization tool. Preventing startup programs you don’t need from running when the computer does can make an appreciable difference to how quickly the computer starts up when turned on. Tune-up tools are typically able to provide an easily understandable interface allowing users to select what startup programs they wish to keep enabled. They might even recommend which programs could be potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) that users probably don’t want running every time the system does.
The Windows Registry could be thought of as the beating heart of the Windows Operating System. It’s where a lot of the program configuration changes are stored in key files that are not typically readable by humans. If you’ve ever made some complex custom configurations to your Windows machine then you know how bewildering editing Registry files can get. That’s why it’s best to use an automated program like a cleanup tool for the job. Registry cleaners can automatically detect configuration changes and files that are no longer required and wipe them away in order to save space.
Specific files that Registry Cleanup tools can remove include:
- Shared DLLs
- Applications paths
- Unused icons
- Invalid shortcuts
Even though it sounds like something from the MS DOS era, defragmentation is still relevant in today’s age of Windows 10. Sometimes, particularly when SSDs and hard drives reach their capacity, the system will create disk fragments noting where a block of data has been stored. The problem is that the process leaves an empty gap in the drive which cannot be used to store data—thereby wasting capacity. Moving these data fragments together therefore increases available disk space.
Does PC Tune-Up Software Really Work?
You may be wondering whether all these features achieve what they set out to do. The answer, thankfully, is an unequivocal yes. Using tune-up solutions can liberate vast amounts of data on your PC—potentially saving you from having to upgrade your hardware prematurely. Our tests routinely yield junk removal of 200MB-1GB on our test systems. Additionally, PC tune-up tools allow users to “set it and forget it” when it comes to optimizing their computer’s performance. Even though many of the tools that these programs offer can often be found scattered throughout Windows systems, knowing where to find them can be another matter entirely. For that reason, it’s best to have all the tune-up features together in one place. Finally, many tune-up programs allow you to not only initiate cleanups with one click but also to automate and schedule them. Cleaning up the file system regularly is preferential to doing it only on occasion and also minimizes the amount of system resources that the cleanup processes take to run. Do cleanup programs work? Yes!
Top 3 PC Cleaner Recommendations
Of course, the cleanup market is full of tools—so to guide you through the maze we’ve whittled down our top recommendations to just 3 tools. We recommend going for standalone cleanup tools so that you can focus on getting the best antivirus/internet security package and not have to consider how well it does cleanup. Sometimes a few specialist tools are better than just one.
Reimage offers separate tools for MacOS and for Windows PCs. Its main focus is on freeing up system resources and space—and the tool features fast setup and user friendly features so that it can be installed quickly. In order to improve system stability, it can also report on which programs and applications crash the most frequently and draw from an online database with over 25,000,000 components in order to repair corrupted parts of the system.
- MacOS and Windows
- Fast setup
- System repair from database
Restoro is a multifaceted tool for optimizing computer performance and freeing up disk space. Its tools include boosting system efficiency, identifying potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), and optimizing the system registry. In the event that the system files are corrupted Restoro is able to remotely apply fixes.
- Detects unwanted applications
- Repairs damage
- Clears up faulty files and enhances stability
Norton features tune-up utilities in its standalone product Norton Computer Tuneup. This tool is also accessible through other Norton product suites. The tool works on Mac OS X 10.05 or above as well as Windows XP SP3 or higher as well as all Windows 10 editions except Windows 10 S.
- Restores performance on older computers
- Provides easy to understand service reports
- 24/7 access to Norton technical service