Fix and Optimize Your PC with Free Glary Utilities
Many of my readers have recommended the free Glary Utilities suite of computer maintenance tools, so I decided a review was in order. Glary Utilities does all the maintenance chores that you'd expect to find in such a package, is free for personal use, and throws in some non-standard functions as well. Here's the scoop on what Glary does well, its limitations and some pointers to other 'one-click fix' tools...
Review: Glary Utilities
Glarysoft’s Glary Utilities is a popular system maintenance toolkit for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers. It is free for personal use, and CNET ranks it #1 in their Utilities category. Glary Utilities does all the maintenance chores that you’d expect to find in such a package, and throws in some non-standard functions as well.
The program’s user interface is nice and clean. The “1-Click Maintenance” screen lets you select the maintenance functions to be run each time you click the “Scan for issues” button. Functions include a registry cleaner, invalid shortcuts fixer, temporary files cleaner, spyware and adware remover, and a couple of unusual entries.
A “startup manager” option supposedly “cleans up dangerous startup entries.” It didn’t find any on my system. I cannot find any documentation that explains what “dangerous startup entries” are or how Glary Utilities’ 1-Click Maintenance detects and neutralizes them. It seems reasonable to assume these undesirable startup entries would be either adware, spyware or malware. But Glary Utilities doesn't claim to remove viruses and other forms of malware.
There is a "Startup Applications" section on Glary's community site, which lists a variety of potential startup entries, ranging from harmless, to useless, to necessary, to varying degrees of dangerous. This could be a nice resource for the curious tinkerer who wants to find out what all those startup items are supposed to be doing. Just be aware that all the program descriptions and security ratings are submitted by users, who may or not have a clue.
The “Tracks Eraser” option eradicates your history, cookies, and other traces of your computing and online activities. Other programs do the same, but Glary Utilities gives you unusually fine control over which tracks you wish to erase. On the downside, it works only with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. Given that the Google Chrome browser has eclipsed both IE and Firefox in popularity, it seems like a rather Glaring oversight.
Other PC Maintenance Tasks
The Modules tab provides access to all of Glary Utilities’ tools, organized into various categories.
“Clean Up & Repair” includes junk data deletion; registry cleanup; invalid shortcuts fixer; and an uninstall manager that provides more options than Windows’ Add/Remove Programs feature. (See also What's Hiding on Your Hard Drive?)
“Optimize & Improve” includes the startup program manager; a memory optimizer; registry defragmenter; and a context menu manager. The content menu manager lets you fine-tune which options are available when you right-click on a file or folder, a pretty neat feature.
“Privacy & Security” includes the Tracks Eraser; a file shredder; a file undelete utility; and a file encryption/decryption utility. (See also Free Tools to Recover Deleted Files.)
“Files & Folders” includes a disk space analyzer; a duplicate files finder; an empty folders finder; and file splitter/joiner utility.
“System Tools” include a process manager that monitors and optionally stops running processes; a system information tool; and an Internet Explorer add-on manager. This category also provides direct access to default Windows tools such as Check Disk, Disk Defragmenter, System Restore, System File Checker, and Backup.
A Free Lunch, But No Dinner...
The Glary Utilities freeware edition is for personal use, but does not include automatic background maintenance; you have to run the 1-Click Maintenance routine manually every time. When I downloaded the free version, the installer pre-checks several boxes that steer you in the direction of accepting a GlarySoft Toolbar, and funneling all your searches into Glary Search. My advice is to UNcheck all those boxes and just install the Glary Utilities without these options, which don't add any value. The Pro version ($27.95 as of this writing) runs automatically, comes with phone support, and is licensed for commercial use.
Glary has provided a nice set of free system maintenance tools, and many AskBob readers rave about this utility suite. I wouldn't rely on it as a general purpose anti-malware tool, but then it doesn't claim to fill that role. I'd recommend it without hesitation to anyone who wants to do the occasional tuneup on their PC. But there are similar tools you might want to try as well. See my related article Do Those 'Speed Up Your PC' Programs Really Work? for other options in the "speed up/clean up/system maintenance" genre.
Do you use Glary Utilities? Tell me about your experience with this or similar tools. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 2 Oct 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Fix and Optimize Your PC with Free Glary Utilities (Posted: 2 Oct 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved