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2,862 Tutorials

How to clean up your Windows PC

Undo the damage caused by everyday computing

However fast your PC when you first buy it, over time its performance will only deteriorate. We look at how to undo the damage done by everyday computing use and claw back valuable disk space and processor cycles.

Useful third-party choices

Although you'll find plenty of useful third-party tools out there, don't go near anything called a 'Registry-cleaning tool'. The Windows Registry is an insanely complex database and no Registry cleaner can know every Registry key that an application may touch. We've had to help users who have run Registry cleaners that have rendered their applications unusable and unable to reinstall. That said, some Registry-related tools are useful.

Soluto
Soluto's main claim to fame is that it can shorten the time Windows takes to boot, sometimes by a substantial amount. You can download Soluto for free from soluto's website.

If you have a lot of startup apps, Soluto can help.The utility contains a database of known boot applications, and gives you advice on whether they're safe to remove from the bootup process. But Soluto doesn't just put boot items into 'run' and 'don't run' categories; it can also defer certain items that you may want to run at Startup but can afford to run a little after the desktop becomes responsive.

Soluto will show you just how much time you can save when booting up. The program depends on users to help develop the database of items that are safe to delay or pause. One malicious person's vote won't count for much, so it's not as if you'll see Soluto recommend that you pause an essential Windows service. By the same token, if you have as many items loading as we often do, you'll see a lot of entries for which Soluto doesn't have any advice to give.

Revo Uninstaller Pro
This handy utility is a little more complex than Soluto. Revo Uninstaller tries to be a more complete uninstaller. It generally works pretty well for that purpose. It also has an autorun (Startup) manager, but Soluto is probably better for that task. Similarly, Revo Uninstaller can act as a backup manager, browser cleaner and evidence remover, but I'll focus here on its main use.

Revo Uninstaller lets you purge every last trace of an old app.From a user perspective, Revo Uninstaller behaves pretty much the same way as the Windows uninstaller does. You just double-click on what you need to remove. Revo gives you the option of a safe, moderate, or advanced uninstall. After the process, you can scan for leftover files or Registry items specific to the application.

For uninstalling one or two apps, you can download Revo Uninstaller for free, but the full version costs $40 (£25) for a single licence or $80 (£50) for four computers. Revo Uninstaller helped us with a pesky iTunes 10 installation problem but we still experienced errors that prevented iTunes from completely installing. Revo Uninstaller managed to remove all the Apple residue and a complete iTunes install was possible after that.

NEXT PAGE: Maintaining a clean system

  1. Undo the damage caused by everyday computing
  2. Windows entropy explained
  3. Diagnostic tools: tracking down the junk
  4. More cleanup options
  5. Useful third party choices
  6. Maintaining a clean system

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