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January 1, 2020 at 5:01 am #83101Participant@tobi
If you’ve been on the internet in the past decade, you’ve likely seen your fair share of PC cleaning ads. The internet is crowded with ads claiming to “speed up your PC!”. Most claim to have scanned your PC with a fictional number of issues found. Don’t be fooled! PC cleaning apps are a complete waste of time and money. A clean PC is always something great to have. But, for less savvy folks, it seems too technical to do on your own.
If you want to clean your PC, it takes a few minutes to open the appropriate Windows apps created by Microsoft. Moreover, all you need is already installed by default on your computer.
How PC Cleaning Apps really work
So, they are bad. But how? To prove this, we downloaded MyCleanPC (which we do not recommend). MyCleanPC is a heavily advertised paid service and it is presented as the best solution for speeding up slower PCs. Lets put it to the test.
On the MyCleanPC website, these are the functions listed:
- Clean Registry Issues
- Prevent Crashes and Freezes
- Start-Up Manager
- Automatic & Scheduled Scanning
- Super Easy Installation
Now, every function listed here can be done by Windows. Registry cleaning is not as important as it seems. But, if it is necessary, it is more effective with CCleaner which is a free service specifically made for that function. Note that registry cleaning does not speed up your PC. Microsoft does not support the use of registry cleaners due to the high risk of malware, spyware, and potential viruses.
The other functions can be done by Windows, or they are too vague to have any substantial meaning. MyCleanPC also offers a “free diagnosis” which is actually a ruse to bait users into thinking their PC has a myriad of issues. MyCleanPC presents these issues through alarming prompts that imply an imminent danger to your computer. After the sudden scare, they offer a solution for $20 for activation and a subsequent $20 for a monthly subscription.
We scanned a computer for issues and as might be expected, we had over 20,000 issues scanned. Even more deceiving, the 20,000+ issues scanned actually contain a lot of fake issues. What are the issues?
- Every browser cookie is counted as a single issue. It’s a “Privacy trace” in some apps to make it seem like a huge problem
- Every single temporary file on your PC is considered as an issue
- Invalid registries, which don’t slow down computers are counted as issues
- Every fragmented file is an issue. Even if in actuality, you only have 3% fragmentation, MyCleanPC presents it as a much larger figure.
After presenting all these problems, you’ll be presented with the “solution” which is behind a $40 initial paywall.
Don’t Be Fooled by the RED text
Every visited page or typed URL is considered an issue on this app. Because of this, we can tell that MyCleanPC considers any prior use of your computer as an issue by counting caches, browser history, and cookies. Microsoft does not even have a registry cleaner app anymore because of the potential danger it poses to your PC. They have heavily advised against using registry cleaners.
It is possible for your computer to slow down because of fragmentation. But Windows offers an easy fix through the Disk Defragmenter tool that is installed by default on your PC. This tool automatically runs on schedule, so defragmenting your hard drive should not be a worry.
The REAL Scam of paid cleaning apps
From the landing page of MyCleanPC, you’ll see testimonies from users that are giving the app rave reviews. If you look closely, you’ll see that all these testimonies are from elderly people. MyCleanPC has targeted that audience due to their likelihood to fall for scare tactics on viruses and malware. This predatory behavior is fundamental to their business model.
Even worse, their support services are almost exclusively available through phone calls. These phone calls will connect the user to a telemarketer that will sweet talk these elderly people to bait them into purchasing the app.
If it couldn’t get worse, the Terms of Service on its website state that “RealDefense does not make any warranty that your data will be stored safely or securely”. Additionally, it states “RealDefense expressly disclaims all liability for the Software, including any loss or liability resulting from lost or compromised data caused by the Software”. This means that after all the marketing for the product, there is no guarantee for anything to work. Even if the software causes damage, they exempt themselves from all liability.
MyCleanPC is not the only app with this issue, it’s an entire business model for companies to do this, and most of the time they get away with it.
How to Clean your PC
If you want to clean your PC as these apps promise, here’s what to do:
- Use the pre-installed Windows Disk Cleanup tool. This tool is used to free up space on your hard drive by deleting temporary files and determining the files that are useless. It is more trustworthy than third-party cleanup apps because of its development by Windows. To use the program, simply tap the Windows key and type Disk Cleanup then press Enter to run it. Even better, you can schedule the Disk Cleanup if you want to do this automatically and regularly.
- Clear your browser history regularly. If you want to free up space, clearing your browser history is a good solution. However, this might work negatively in the long run because the caches of previously visited pages exist to make those pages load faster when you access websites in subsequent visits. You can also set this to run automatically when you close your search engine.
- Run the Windows Disk Defragmenter tool included in your PC. Disk Defragmentation aims to improve your system performance. When files are saved on your computer, it is saved in fragments with pieces in different locations on the hard drive. Disk Defragmentation puts the file fragments together and frees the space in your hard drive.
As we said earlier, a registry cleaner is not necessary and can be dangerous for your computer. If you need to use one, CCleaner is the best-tested registry cleaner available, and it’s for free.
According to tests with the Disk Cleanup tool versus MyCleanPC, the results are unsurprisingly just as good as paid PC cleaning apps. Even more intriguing is the fact that MyCleanPC fixes “registry issues” while achieving no difference in results from the Disk Cleanup tool.
How to actually Speed Up your Computer
No matter the approach, there are just some things apps cannot effectively do for you. Speeding up your computer actually requires more effort and attention from you.
- Uninstall the software that you don’t use anymore. Usually, the worst of these are browser plugins and extensions. Some include theme extensions, cookie editors, etc.
- In the same boat, startup programs are the usual suspects in slowing down a PC. Either uninstall or disable apps that don’t have to run at startup. For example, Skype isn’t the first thing you open when you start your PC, so why does it need to run at startup?
- If your computer is regularly plagued with errors, Google the error message and there will surely be a guide on how to fix it.
- Alternatively, you can install an antivirus or antimalware program to scan your computer for any malware induced error messages.
- To have full surety, use this option as a last resort. Reinstall Windows to have a fully clean slate. On Windows 8, you can run the Refresh Your PC feature.
- If problems persist after the reinstallation, you should check for hardware problems.
From what we’ve shown you, PC cleaning apps are a complete scam and total waste of resources. Everything that can be done to safely speed up your computer is already available with Windows or can easily be done with free and helpful guides online.
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