Wednesday, February 13, 2013

PC Cleaners- Do they really clean?

I was on a weather site this evening to see if was going to snow tomorrow and saw this ad:
Now, I have to say that I did not click on it to see what program this former employee from Intel discovered that can scan and fix all the errors in your computer. It may work, but then again, his discovery may just be what I am going to tell you.

My experience with PC cleaners, is they do more harm than good. At the very best, you are paying for something that you already have for free. At worst you have downloaded your worst nightmare. Mostly they just don't do anything or do the function of programs you already have on your computer. I, personally, do not have any PC cleaners on my computer and I remove them from all computers I work on.

All the programs that you need to keep your computer cleaned up are all on your computer. They have always been there. Not necessarily accessible and easy to get to or use, especially if no one has told you how to get there, but they have been there.

Let's talk about a few things that slow your computer down. The first is programs that you have downloaded and use. Every single program out there feels that they need to be at the ready for your instantaneous use. So they set themselves up to be running in the background while you use your computer.

There are only two programs that should be running all the time. The first is Windows, because, after all, that is your operating system (yes, yes, I know there are those of you running a Linux system. Just insert your OS whenever I mention Windows :P) and your anti-virus. When you start your computer, Windows starts, in order for you to use your computer, and your anti-virus needs to start so that it is there protecting your computer.

All other programs do not need to start when you turn your computer on. Well, let me throw something in here. There are lots of services that need to run for your computer to work. There are services that allow your computer to talk to the Internet, services that allow you to print, services that allow you to use your email. And all these start at the proper time they are supposed to. These are the programs we are talking about here.** The programs we are talking about are the programs that were added at the time you bought your computer, or that you have added to your computer since then.

Programs like Adobe Reader, iTunes, Google Talk, DropBox, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Steam, all want to be running as soon as you turn your computer on. Which is great if you are going to Skype the very instant you turn your computer on, every time you turn your computer on, without fail. Or you want to have Yahoo Messenger on so that your friend can send you a message when they get on their computer.

But here is what is happening. You turn on your computer, it gets all the things turned on that it needs to run, and then all these other programs jump in and get themselves started and running. What are you doing at this time? Waiting, and waiting, and waiting. And you can't do anything at all until all these programs are done setting themselves up. Now I listed seven programs, but on an average computer there are probably 15-20. And every time you download, or update, a program, most put themselves back on the start up list and you wait....and wait....and wait. Each time it takes longer to start your computer.

Can we stop these programs from starting when you start your computer? Yes. Is is going to prevent you from using these programs? No. Let's look at Adobe Reader. Everyone uses Adobe Reader. We all end up needing to read a document that is in pdf format and we need Adobe Reader to access those documents. So, if Adobe Reader is not running when you start your computer, and you need to read a pdf, what can you do? Well click on the pdf and read it. Adobe Reader will open at that time and you can use it. Now, I have to be perfectly honest with you, it will take 1-10 seconds longer to open that pdf if Adobe Reader is not already running. It is the same for all the other programs too.

So how to you keep these programs from starting up the same time Windows does? It is not hard.

  • Click on Start 
  • Type msconfig.exe in the search box. (XP users need to click on Run.. and then type msconfig.exe in the box).
  • You will open a window called System Configuration with 5 tabs: General, Boot, Services, Startup, and Tools. 
  • Click on the tab that says Startup.

Please note that the other tabs have very important info in them that you should not be changing. Especially the Services tab (remember when we talked about the services your computer does use? Look for the paragraph with **). Do not change anything in any other tab. You may end up being very frustrated.

  • You will see a list of all the items that start when you turn on your computer. Under the list is two buttons, one says Disable all.
  • Click Disable all.
Another note here. It is okay to stop all these programs. Remember that you are not stopping the program from working, just from running in the background of your computer, taking up resources and slowing down the start up of your computer. They will all eventually be back on this list again.
  • Then click OK.
  • You will be asked to to restart your computer. Click Exit without restart. Do not check the box that says Don't show this message again, we want to see this dialog box every time so we can choose Exit without restart.
  • The windows will close and the next time you start your computer, it will be somewhat faster.
If you are ever unsure about what you are doing, press the Escape key (Esc) on your keyboard to abort or click cancel. If you need more help, comment and I will give you more information.

Questions? Right you are. This is only one way to get your computer cleaned up. But let's talk about those later. This is a lot to take in for one sitting.

Feel free to ask any other questions you have in the comments section. Yes you will have to sign in to leave comments. Its okay, you can do it. You will not be getting a flood of email and the new surveillance drone has much more important places to check out than you and your computer!

You can also find me on Facebook, ask to be my friend, I will not turn anyone away.

Keep the BugOff!

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