5 Best Apps to Clean Up Your Computer
By Ben Lingenfelter
Cleaning your computer regularly extends its lifespan and cuts down on the irritation and expense of having to hire someone else to maintain the machine. Many "antivirus" and optimization programs are available. In fact, there are so many that it often becomes a daunting task to choose which are dependable, and which are actually spyware themselves.
Malwarebytes (malwarebytes.org) is a tool that will scan your computer for spyware, Trojans, hijackers and most nasty problems. You can buy commercial version or just use the free option. The free version takes care of most problems, and Malwarebytes provides a free trial of their paid-program. The download and "full scan" together takes almost two hours to complete, but the lost time is worth it.
CCleaner (piriform.com/ccleaner) is one of the best free tools you can download and use on your PC. It cleans the registry, optimizes your system and protects your privacy by erasing traces of your online activity and browsing history. It speeds up your computer by freeing up valuable hard drive space and gets rid of registry items that build up over time.
SuperAntiSpyware works like Malwarebytes, but they often catch and destroy slightly different files. Used in conjunction, few spyware files survive. SuperAntiSpyware detects spyware, rootkits, Trojans, keyloggers, adware, worms, hijackers, dialers, parasites and even rogue security products -- those bad programs posing and anti-spyware products.
Defraggler (piriform.com/defraggler) is a product used to defragment a file, folder or entire hard drive. It even lets you defragment the empty space to prevent further fragmentation. "Defragging" your computer brings better performance, so it's worth doing every few months.
CleanMyPC (macpaw.com/cleanmypc), originally for Mac but adapted for Windows, is a registry cleaner much like CCleaner, but with more options. Unlike CCleaner, CleanMyPC comes with a pricetag of about $30. The advantage of CleanMyPC over CCleaner is its maintenance feature. It will continue to run in the background, watching for problems and taking care of any that should appear. CCleaner will not do that. It will also intuitively check external drives for problems, without prompting. It's well worth the $30.
Ben Lingenfelter is a teacher and writer. A graduate of Calvin College, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and has completed graduate work in leadership. Lingenfelter has taught English, computer applications, Web design and graphic design since 1996.