Will Slimcleaner Optimize Your PC?
There has been a lot of buzz about Slimcleaner, a free system cleaning and optimization suite developed by Slimware Utilities. Slimcleaner has received editor's choice awards, five stars, and other high honors from a number of well-respected computer publications. But I really don't understand why. Here's my take on this free download...
What is SlimCleaner?
If nothing else, Slimcleaner is confusing. It's time-consuming. I have no idea what it does to my system, but it definitely hasn't speeded things up in the least. And users are complaining that flaws in the software are not being addressed. Some users are reporting that after using SlimCleaner, they have problems with Firefox, Google Chrome and Thunderbird.
I guess the reviewers' excitement is ignited by Slimcleaner's use of "the cloud" and "crowd-sourcing." You see, everyone who uses Slimcleaner has the option to tell you what should or should not be on your computer. Users' recommendations about specific programs found on their computers are uploaded to a database that is used to rate the programs as unnecessary, optional, or "good," meaning you should keep it.
It makes no difference whether the user doing the rating knows what he's talking about. For example, Slimcleaner tells me that I should keep Windows Live Essentials because, "it is a suite of productivity applications that simplifies everyday tasks." Never mind that I have never found any use for Windows Live Essentials!
If you search for "Slimcleaner problem" you'll get plenty of problem reports submitted on Slimware Utitilities' support forum. The usual response from the company is the equivalent of "thanks for telling us, we're working on it." I guess that's all you can expect of a program that's been in existence for less than a year.
The Wisdom of the Cloud Crowd?
Slimcleaner's options are a confusing mess of undocumented icons and buttons. What, exactly, does "Hijack Log" mean, for instance? Apparently, this option searches for Windows components that are loaded at startup and lists them. Should you remove a component? Ask the crowd about Adobe ARM and you get the odd advice to "keep Adobe ARM in startup if you don't know how to check for updates on your own. It's another waste of your computer resources." Hmm.
Recommendations are hit-or-miss. No one out there in the cloud crowd has an opinion on the Dolby Audio component. Yet it's rated "good" so I should keep it. I don't know whether a virus with no recommendations would also be rated "good" enough to keep. SlimCleaner's "crowd sourcing" feature reminds me of Web of Trust, another tool that I feel is less than useful, because it relies on uninformed users and nameless vigilantes to rate websites.
The "Optimizer" option simply lists every program installed on your machine and gives you the option to uninstall it. Here, too, the cloud-crowd offers unhelpful and unreliable advice.
You can review and delete browser extensions and add-ons from within Slimcleaner. Or you can do so from within your browser. "Windows Tools" gives you a look at some of the most commonly used Windows utilities, such as Task Manager, Device Manager, and so on. Big deal... so does the Windows Control Panel.
Slimcleaner includes a "shredder" that will overwrite any file multiple times, supposedly ensuring that it can never be recovered. The user must navigate Windows file system to the exact file that is to be shredded. There is no option to shred batches of files that meet specified criteria. I could spend the rest of my life shredding files.
A feature called "Cloud AV" provides antivirus test results on any selected file. It relies on three antivirus programs hosted on Slimware's servers. If there are no stored results on a file, you can upload it for real-time testing. You can even run it through a staggering forty antivirus programs if you want to bother signing up for that service.
Alternatives That You Can Trust
On Slimware's Web site you'll find about 20 minutes' worth of video tutorials showing you how to use Slimcleaner. Personally, I'd prefer a big "Clean NOW" button such as you'll find in Advanced System Care, which I've mentioned in my articles Seven Free Downloads and Computer Repair Software.
Or just give me CCleaner, the tried-and-true free system cleaner that works. It's a mere 3.5 MB download, compared to Slimcleaner's 10 MB or so. It's easy to understand what CCleaner does; it erases temporary files and cleans your registry. It's not all clear whether Slimcleaner cleans the registry; some reviews say it does while others explicitly say it doesn't. The developer doesn't say.
I'm always suspicious of the ratings, reviews and accolades for software products in computer magazines. In this case, it just seems odd that a program with so many obvious flaws is rated so highly. Maybe those reviewers just didn't give it a good real-world test drive. Let's hope that's the reason.
SlimCleaner could evolve into a more useful tool over time. That will require some attention by the developers to the issues being raised here and in online forums, some changes to the interface to make it easier to understand what's happening under the hood, and some tweaking of the weight being given to the crowd-sourcing recommendations. For now, I'll continue to recommend the free CCleaner and Advanced System Care utilities.
Have you tried SlimCleaner? Let me know your experience with it. Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Will Slimcleaner Optimize Your PC? (Posted: 6 Mar 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved