Do Those 'Speed Up Your PC' Programs Really Work?
I see commercials everywhere for products that promise to speed up my computer. Are they legit? If so, can you recommend any specific product?
Double Your Speed?
I’ve come across the same pitches online, on TV and on the radio. "Speed Up Your Computer," they say, or "Restore your computer to like new condition." One even promises to "double the speed of your computer." So do these magical, all-in-one, "click one button and speed up your computer" programs really work?
It depends on which programs you're talking about. There are scores of free and commercial programs that promise to speed up your PC. Some are built into your operating system. Some third-party programs are effective in limited ways; they eliminate some speed bumps but not others. Some of these programs are really malware in disguise; they install keyloggers and viruses while merely pretending to speed up your PC. And a few well-known third-party utilities do an excellent job of eliminating a wide range of speed barriers.
The basics of speeding up your PC are pretty simple. Defragmenting your hard drive helps data get read and written faster. Cleaning the registry prevents conflicts and wasted resources otherwise used in fruitless searches for shortcuts and other things that no longer exist. Deleting unnecessary temporary files cuts down on file management overhead. Shutting down unnecessary processes frees up CPU cycles for important tasks, and can slash your startup time. And perhaps most important, keeping your system free of viruses and spyware will make a dramatic difference in speed.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend a penny to accomplish these tasks. All of these housekeeping chores can be done manually, as I have described in these articles:
Some Speedup Programs That You Can Try
I understand how intimidating it may sound to do all of this tinkering. That's why all of these all-in-one speed boosting programs exist -- to make it easy.
Speed-up programs, like many other types of software, started out simply and have grown more complex over time. CCleaner, long a popular junk files cleaner, added registry cleaning and now features privacy tools; basically, it deletes unnecessary things. CCleaner is useful and free, but you'll need separate programs to defragment your hard drive, scan for viruses, etc.
My personal favorite is Advanced System Care Free because it does a lot for free with one click. ASC sniffs out and eliminates spyware; cleans the registry; defragments the hard drive and (optionally) the registry; tweaks Internet settings to maximize performance on different types of connections; optimizes the order of programs loaded at startup; and tweaks system settings to optimize for home, small office, or enterprise use. There's a PRO version of ASC that does even more, which costs $20.
One program I definitely did not like at first review was SlimCleaner. I spent more time trying (and failing) to figure out what this program does than it could ever save me. More importantly, I noticed no gains in performance after running its default mode. CNET's editors give it five stars, but their review is interesting. They gush about "community based" solutions, while noting that the program actually did nothing to speed up the computer on which they tested it. But there are plenty of good user reviews, and SlimCleaner is free, so your mileage may vary.
I should also address PC Matic, which may well have prompted your question. PC Matic advertises heavily on television, and promises to cure a host of computer ills, while speeding up your old computer. Maybe you've seen the "dumb husband / smart wife" version of this commercial, or the more recent "smart dad / dumb daughter" version. Aside from the fact that the commercials are kind of annoying, PCMatic is not a scam, and the $49 software does what it promises.
Let me repeat my earlier warning: there are many bogus "speed up your PC" programs out there. If you run across a Web site that offers to give you a "free analysis" of your system, be cautious. You could be giving the site permission to tamper with your machine. Another favorite scam is the free download that merely identifies (or claims to identify) performance bottlenecks, then hits you up for money in exchange for another program that will actually fix (or claim to fix) the problems. If you encounter such a thing, hit the Back button and try the solutions I've mentioned here.
Do you have any speed up tips to share? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 14 May 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Do Those 'Speed Up Your PC' Programs Really Work? (Posted: 14 May 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved