What is the best FREE deep clean software?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by The Flemster, Jun 22, 2010.

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  1. The Flemster Registered abuser Registered Senior Member

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    Howdy.

    You guys know your onions, so perhaps you can give me a few suggestions...
    My pc is starting to show signs of getting clogged up. I use CCleaner from time to time but I wondered if there was a better deep cleaner I should use.
    Any ideas or will CCleaner do just fine?

    Cheers.
     
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  3. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Cleaning programs are all well and good, but you should remember that there are a number of rogue ones out there that will do more harm to your computer than good.

    As for what actually causes a "clog" on a computer, it can be down to a mixture of things. (This is a brief write up on what to look at if you are looking for alternatives to running questionable cleaning programs)

    Startup and Shutdowns
    One reason is "Reboots and Shutdowns", while we've had a few threads like "Leaving the computer on vs Shutdown", shutting down a Windows operating system actually triggers a number of shutdown related tasks (as does starting up a computer that's been shutdown). It will clean out cached data and obviously reload any services/servers that exist (which can be handy for dealing with hung services).

    Not shutting down correctly (like pulling the power cable out of the back) will likely cause a hard drive failure which might require the Partition to be rewritten or at the very least a diskcheck done to make sure their are no errored or damaged segments.

    You just have to note that the computer *IS* doing things in the background during bootup or shutdown and causing a fault during these phases will cause greater faults eventually.

    The Registry
    On a Windows system you have the registry, you could have the analogy that the Registry is much like a Key box at a parking lot that has a parking attendant that takes keys for the various cars (programs) that exist in the parking lot. The keys can be used to identify that a car (program) is in the lot (system) and it can be used to help open doors or startup the car (Identifying variables and locations etc)

    The problem is with the Registry however is that when cars (programs) are not removed by they owners (uninstalled by the same program that installed them) for one reason or another, they can leave keys in the keybox. This means that when the parking attendants attempt to find a particular car key, they'll be left searching for a long period through a bunch of keys that potentially don't even have any cars in the parking lot for. (In computer terms the process that iterates the registry will "Seek" or be left "seeking" for missing locations or applications will hang, while trying to find locations that aren't there)

    The simplest method to keeping your registry clean is to make sure you only install what you want to use and make sure you uninstall the program correctly through the programs uninstall function. (rather than just deleting it's folder).

    This will only do some of the job, over time the registry can become huge and you can either manually attempt to remove keys (not for novices), use a program (remember their are rogue programs out there) or just reinstall/restore the system.

    Reinstall might sound tedious and it does require the disc's for the operating system or the image discs that came from the computers manufacturer. It will require potentially doing all updates and dealing with drivers etc and can seem a mammoth task. However reinstalling can remove anything rogue that might exist through previous installations that Restores and cleaners might not remove.

    (The Restore system can come in handy for this, since when you restore one of the many things being restored is the actual Registry, so you can actually roll back to a less cluttered restore point)

    Running Processes
    CTRL+ALT+DEL can be useful when you want to bring up the taskmanager, as you'll usually find you computer will run services in the background that are usually automatically set on when installed. For instance in you browse the web, you'll likely have a Javaupdater loaded in your process list, now this can be handy to get the latest version or security updates however at bootup or first connection to the internet you'll find that all these applications attempt to "phone home" to find out the new version available.

    This can cause network connection problems, it can cause a slowdown on the computer (since every process doing this is going to require CPU time). So it can be prudent to disable some of these auto-check features, however note that it means from the point they are disabled you will have to check for updates/patches Manually.

    Most of those programs will appear as an icon in your taskbar, some of them you'll be able to right click and express that you don't want them to automatically start up through a tickbox, others will require you to navigate into their preferences or settings to find something similar to that tickbox.

    Others still might require you to disable a computer "Service" to stop them loading up.

    If you are concerned and don't want to disable things from booting up, you can use the CTRL+ALT+DEL method to bring up taskmanager and manually terminate processes one by one. If one process is critical it will do one of two things, it will either popup a warning box and stop you from being able to terminate the task or it will cause your entire system to become unstable.... Now an unstable system could cause damage, however the chances are pretty slim, the point is though if it becomes unstable, just reboot the computer and remember not to terminate that process in the future.

    Terminating processes like this will only last as long as the computer is running, rebooting will mean that you will have to terminate those processes again if you want them to not be in memory or running.

    Anti-virus and other warez
    For the most part your computer only really needs one Resident (runs at bootup and monitors operations) anti-virus package, having more than one "Resident" can actually cause more problems than it stops, as one Resident might attempt to evict the other resident and vice versa, so they get locked in a constant battle for dominance. Both residents therefore will not be fully loaded correctly and therefore can actually generate security holes and stability issues.

    If you want two anti-virus programs, then you're best with one resident and one that only checks files when you manually run it.

    There are various other programs that can be used to, like anti-spyware, anti-malware, anti-adware etc. Again be careful if you install them as a Resident program as they can conflict with one another and other Resident programs.
     
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  5. The Flemster Registered abuser Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks for that comprehensive rundown, Stryder. I've managed to keep my pc running as bare as I can, using only the programs I need, and it seems to work okay. I just wondered if there was anything else I should be doing to keep it slim and happy but, from you say, it seems the safest bet is to keep calm and carry on!
    Cheers!
     
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