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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Will Slimcleaner Optimize Your PC? (Posted: 6 Mar 2012)
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Most recent comments on "Will Slimcleaner Optimize Your PC?"(See all 27 comments for this article.)
06 Mar 2012
Thanks, once again, for the great advices.
06 Mar 2012
I have used SlimCleaner and it's ok but I prefer Advanced System Care or CCleaner. Have you tried their SlimDrivers program also? Would like your opinion of that. I have used it to update drivers on several computers/laptops and it did update the drivers but on one computer the new driver caused my computer (granted it was a really OLD computer) to crash and I had to use their recovery program to make it work again. Otherwise, I have been pleased with SlimDrivers. Thanks!
06 Mar 2012
I Love CCleaner (or Crap-Cleaner as its Original name) because it simply works!!!
I looked over SlimCleaner in the past but Never downloaded the software because its documentation basically did NOT Make any sense to me as it led me to ask questions about the product with answers that were not forthcoming from the developer!
(As Judge Judy has said: If It Doesn't Make Sense Then . . . It's Probably NOT True!)
@Glenn S . . . The Heck with Windows 8 when it comes out . . . I'm going to Linux Land!
I plan to use Linux (& MINT) as my next FREE Operating System when my current Windows 7 laptop goes kaput (for whatever reason).
I installed Ubuntu over my neighbor's Windows XP desktop about Four months ago - - AND NOT once has she called me down to troubleshoot said computer. She is Spectacularly Happy with Linux!
Bob Rankin . . . We LOVE YOU!!!
Guys Don't Forget to donate to the www.askbobrankin.com website which is Invaluable!
Gary In KC
07 Mar 2012
I am glad to see you shed some light on Slimcleaner. I saw its high rating in a PC magazine and had intended to give it a try. I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. You saved me some time and trouble. I have used CCleaner for several years without problems and run it on my family's computers. Thanks for a good and timely article.
07 Mar 2012
Can't speak for Slimcleaner, but I have used ASC for a couple of years (paid version recently - look for deals), and have found it to be very dependable. I have it set to run a normal "clean" every night, and deep clean once every two weeks. I used their customer service once and found them to be very helpful - a pleasant surprise.
08 Mar 2012
I love CCleaner, it's quick and easy to use, and it doea clean out the gunk, plus it's free.
I also love Tune-up Utilities. It has that wonderful one click maintenance. It keeps your registry nice and tight, and does it all by itself. It just runs in the backround and keeps things running smooth. It also has many other features that you can use.
09 Mar 2012
Hands down ... CCleaner is the best! What more can you ask for, it's simple to use, it cleans excellently and it's FREE!!!
After using CCleaner, I use 2 more software products, that just happen to be FREE, too. Glary Utilities and Glary Disk SpeedUp. Glary Utilities catches the little stuff, left behind by CCleaner, is all. Not a lot, just more or less 'tidies' things up.
While, Glary Disk SpeedUp is one of the best Defraggers, that I have personally used, in the past 15 years. It's fast and there are the options of either Defrag or Optimize. I usually, prefer Optimize. Oh, Disk SpeedUp can also, be scheduled, rare with FREE products.
I like to have control, over what is going on with my computer. Yes, I do automated scheduling, but want the manual control, when needed. I have scheduled Anti-Virus Scans and after, I will Defrag, at least once a week. But, when your computer simply get 'sluggish', from mainly too much Internet usage, temporary Internet files, too many cookies, so on and so forth ... I want the ability to manually, clean things up, so I can get on with my computing. That is when I use CCleaner and because, it works quickly, I can get back to the business, at hand.
10 Mar 2012
SlimCleaner? No Thanks. Bob turned me on to ASC a year ago. I use it at work too. In fact, my IT guy asked where I heard about it because he really likes it. Never had the need to check into CCleaner....but I'll keep it in mind.
12 Mar 2012
Bob, why do you promote a Chinese counterfeit software operation called advanced system care? If they steal all of their code, what is to stop them from stealing users private info? Is it because you don't know any better? Please see:
http://antivirus.about.com/b/2009/11/03/iobit-steals-malwarebytes-intellectual-property.htm for starters.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For "starters" the article you mention says "the program MAY be derived entirely from stolen property" -- without any credible evidence -- and then makes some other dubious claims. If they stole MBAM's virus signature database in 2009, that's bad. But that alone doesn't imply that any other intellectual property was stolen. The anti-malware component of ASC is one of many features. BTW, later reports show that IObit did remove all of MBAM's info from their database.
14 Mar 2012
I installed Advanced SystemCare 5 on my Dell laptop after Bob's recommendation. After running 'Deep Clean', my laptop crashed twice with the BSOD. Multiple System Restores would not complete successfully. I uninstalled ASC 5 in safe mode and the laptop returned to normal. I am sticking with SlimCleaner!!
15 Mar 2012
Bob, all someone has to do is google "iobit steals" and they can find thousands of articles on the matter from any legitimate source, so pick which ever source you like. They all say the same thing. Secondly, how did "later reports show that IObit did remove all of MBAM's info from their database" if they didn't steal it in the first place? I appreciate your website and what you are doing, but a US citizen who is obviously in the know should not be recommending counterfeit Chinese software to unsuspecting victims who rely on your advice IMO.
28 Oct 2012
Thanks Bob. I thought "too good to be true" when I read CNET's review and others. Who do you trust anymore?
24 Dec 2013
Thanks, Bob, for your personal test-based warning on SlimCleaner. I have never wanted to download it, as using CCleaner and PrivaZer has kept my Windows 7 running smoothly and problem-free.
I had problems with Wise Disk Cleaner's over-zealous "cleaning" when I first began using Windows 7 and uninstalled it.
I run PrivaZer once or twice a week as it can take some time to finish its job when one first uses it, but becomes quite fast enough when used frequently.
But CCleaner is an absolute gem! Best regards to you.
01 Jan 2014
This "free offer" posting looked interesting. It implied that it was free and came with Microsoft endorsements. I downloaded it and before I could activate the free (Ha Ha!)software I had to contact an on line representative.
To activate it it required $ 39.95 in cash right now. So much for the free lead come on! Ok so I followed along. they charged my Visa immediately and then a rep. connected to my computer on-line rep. and went through the installation process. Of course they found I had many other problems and that was going to cost a lot more money. Like $250 now and $19.95 a month for ever!
I did not go the whole route and after about an hour and saying good buy, I find that the Icon of the basic program would not boot. They wanted more money.
My personal opinion is this is a big rip off. I have delete the no-working program that I paid $39.95 for and requested a refund. I paid immediately, but they want three weeks to give me a refund. Am I angry? You bet! Stay away for this!
06 Feb 2014
Very disappointed in this product. I purchased the Slimcleaner Plus on December 31, 2013 along with their "Driver Update Program. After my experience with Slimcleaner Plus, I won't even try the "Driver Update Program", just chalk it up to a bad experience. Just over 30 days later Slimcleaner stopped working property. It would start then run for a few seconds and get stuck and not go any further. I called their technician who took over my computer and looked at the system history log and pointed out the numerous errors in the log. He said I needed a "Tune Up" and tried to "HIGH PRESSURE" me into purchasing their Tune up for $250 + an ongoing $19.95 per month, or I could purchase a "one time Tune UP" for $350. I declined. He advised me the Slimcleaner Plus program "WOULD NOT WORK UNLESS I HAD MY SYSTEM TUNED UP".
It is my opinion Slimcleaner is another company ripping off consumers and they should think twice before purchasing this product. I wish I would have checked it out more thoroughly before purchasing.
I am going to add this website to my favorites for future reference!
12 Oct 2014
I'm especially concerned about SlimCleanerPlus, as I came home one day and it was installed on our home PC. My wife and kids know not to install anything until I look at it, so I'm assuming this utility surreptitiously installed itself. If that isn't malware tactics, I don't know what is. The date/timestamp was early morning on a weekday so it had to have been while my wife was on the PC. This is just plain scam/malware. Here's how to kill it (who knows what it actually does if you try to uninstall it):
Go to task manager. Make sure you are viewing all process by all users. Kill the three items starting with SLIM... Then rename the install folder at 'C:\Program Files\SlimCleaner Plus', just add .BAD to the end of it. Reboot, then go back and delete the folder. You'll need to disable the Slimware service launcher to eliminate startup errors. Then run Malwarebytes or Spybot and CCleaner to remove the last dregs.
24 Nov 2014
I was taken in by a magazine review that said Slimcleaner was the best product, so I downloaded it. Of course I found that it would not fix anything unless I purchased the subscription which I didn't do. I then uninstalled the program. After a few weeks my computer was very slow starting programs, saving files from within programs and working with Windows Explorer. After some searching and I found that my start-up programs list contained an entry for Slimcleaner - I disabled it as a start-up program and my problems disappeared.
It appears to be an attempt to encourage me to re-install Slimcleaner and purchase the subscription to fix a problem that it created.
11 Feb 2015
I could not get by the first scan's recommendations. I do not know how I ended up with this program installed on my Windows 7 Pro. There it was with the results of a scan that I did not request. Twenty drivers were out of date. I went to the device manager and told it to search online for a replacement for each of them. Nineteen, I'm told, were up-to-date and did not need an update. One of them did and the update carried the same version number as the one it replaced.
I connected with the support folk via chat. Reported to them about the above results and asked them, "What is up?" Anybody want to see the transcript of the chat session? Bottom line - I see the entire experience as a scare tactic. Twenty bad drivers? To fix them I need to buy the product for thirty bucks. Truth? None of the drivers needed updating.
All I got was a sales pitch that ended with assurances that if I dropped the thirty bucks and their efforts to help me failed they would give me my thirty bucks back. Wow! To fix the problem all they would have to do is turn off the flag in their software that enables twenty bad drivers to be found and the problem is fixed. Who knows?
Additionally: Their report lists the bad drivers and their locations in the device manager. Several of the locations were wrong.
20 Feb 2015
SlimCleaner Plus seems to be working for me but I'm not really up on computers so I depend on others to help me keep my computer clean and working. So just because this seems to be working for me can it still be Malware and destructive?
16 Mar 2015
Interesting article, Bob. I maybe subscribing to your page here pretty soon--enjoyed your writing style.
I'm a computer bench technician in West Texas. I've seen more and more systems coming in with this program installed. I remove infections regularly in the course of my job and perhaps what I am seeing is another program posing as this one and duplicating the publisher signature.
In removing the SlimCleaner utility and it's associated registry entries, there is a noticeable difference in system performance--for the better. I fully intend to install the program on one of my virtual machines and see just what comes in with the program when it installs--just curiousity.
For the consumer at large, all I can tell you is to be careful. And certainly question ANYONE, legitimate or not, if they are displaying "Microsoft Certified" or "Microsoft Gold Certified" or Microsoft Partnership status seals on their website. ANYONE can find them and attach them to their website. In most cases, it probably isn't legitimate.