10 Types of System Tools and Optimization Programs You Don’t Need on Windows

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by MrBrian, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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  2. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    I disagree with a LOT in that article. OP no offense if you wrote it. And I looked 1st before saying the following & I couldn't find the authors name.

    The suggestion that if you have to use a registry cleaner use ccleaner. Bffffpt.

    "don’t bother installing updated drivers at all unless they arrive via Windows Update". STUPID advice.

    "Windows has a built-in defragmentation tool that’s more than good enough"
    WRONG

    "Third-Party Uninstallers....The few files left over generally won’t slow anything down or take up too much space. Unless you install and uninstall a large amount of programs each day, you don’t need a third-party uninstaller. Just uninstall the programs normally and move on with your life."
    NO wrong again.

    Those are just the standout examples after a 1st swift reading that made my head want to explode.
     
  3. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    I didn't write it.
     
  4. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    I am so glad of that MrBrian. Whew!
     
  5. Dave0291

    Dave0291 Registered Member

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    You do understand the article is geared towards casual, non-geeky/non-wannabe "expert" users, right? Your opinions are your opinions, but the list is fairly spot-on, save for drivers and updating programs. CCleaner is about as safe as you're going to get for automatic registry cleaning, and that's because it barely touches anything..which is exactly what a casual user should be doing. The driver advice is very stupid, I'll give you that one. Windows Update drivers are usually already outdated by the time they show up for installation. Third-Party uninstallers? Since when was that really necessary unless it's a persistent and annoying driver left running? What the program uninstaller doesn't remove, you can simply by hand in Program Files/other folders. It isn't a big deal unless it's adware or something, in which case you have bigger problems.

    As far as defragging goes, who even does that anymore more than once a month or ever? The built-in does just fine unless you're some performance freak or have serious special needs. If I'm worried about performance, defragging is the last option I'll use. I'm surprised "memory cleaners" are even listed. What idiot still thinks those things are necessary or even work anymore? No expert worth his or her salt is even going to entertain recommending them.
     
  6. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Each to their own I guess, but I agree with a lot of what is said.

    Apart from the cleaning of empty software keys, the registry cleaner is safe to use, which is more than can be said about 99% if registry cleaners. While others are often more thorough, it usually doesn't matter, as for the most part cleaning the registry is pointless.

    While I use multiple driver updaters to keep my drivers up to to date, I do see the point of not updating them, as you'll avoid the problems you get from installing incompatible drivers. For example in the last few days, two different driver updaters install incompatible touchpad drivers on a laptop causing BSODs in both cases.

    Sure, 3rd party tool work better, but included deframenter works quite well, so it's not that important to replace it.

    Quite simply for the most part, left over files and registry keys do no matter at all. A notable exception is for security software, where they leftovers can cause problems if they still get loaded into RAM. But, other than that, the leftovers cause no problems or impact on system performance.
     
  7. Night_Raven

    Night_Raven Registered Member

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    The only small remark I have is that driver cleaners aren't completely useless and when updating a really old driver with a really new one or if a driver is suspected of causing problems and is being updated/reinstalled to attempt to fix the issue, then it is a really good idea to clean the driver in Safe Mode. And there are free and proven driver cleaning programs, not talking about snake oil crap.

    But those are more specific scenarios. Apart from that the article is very spot on as far as the casual PC user is concerned.
     
  8. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Remember the word "need" in the title, that is they are not essential.

    The article is quite careful in stating things such as:

    "there are some scenarios where a registry cleaner could theoretically fix a problem"
    "Not all third-party system tools are worthless."

    I thought generally the article makes a good case of saying in general you just don't need third party tools. There are specific cases where you might.
    My personal experience agrees with this.

    zapjb, can you please explain why you disagree ? Without explanation its hard to have a meaningful discussion.
     
  9. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    This is hilarious: the article tells you that you don't need an outbound firewall to control programs from phoning home; the reason? All programs phone home, so why bother? Even worse, it seems that "Average Windows users shouldn’t have to decide which applications can and can’t connect to the Internet".

    So, instead of encouraging average users to learn more about how a firewall works and then let them decide for themselves if they need one, the article just tells you that you shouldn't use one. Great advice, indeed! :rolleyes:
     
  10. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Yes that is a bad explanation !

    I suspect it is beyond the average user to understand not only how a firewall works (and a basic knowledge of TCP/IP and network ports) and know how to work out when their applications should or should not be making out bound connections.

    Download trusted software from trusted locations and outbound filtering should not be needed generally.
     
  11. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Very true. It's all to easy to click on block when a legitimate application wants to access the internet, or to allow a malicious application to access the internet, because it is being installed alongside some legitimate application. Of course these are mistakes are more experienced used wouldn't make, but for the average user it's best to keep things as simple as possible and only alert them when something bad is found.
     
  12. safeguy

    safeguy Registered Member

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    It's pretty obvious that the author focuses on generalization in order to deliver the message in simple words to reach its target audience. Notably, it made concessions and exceptions for corner cases and expert use at the end of the article.
     
  13. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    I wouldn't be so harsh with the average users... Most of the time they lack motivation rather than intelligence to learn technical stuff. But generally, yes, you are correct in assuming they will not learn.
     
  14. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    I usually find myself in agreement with most of what I read from most of HTG's articles, including this one. I do use an update checker, but that's because I don't allow anything to update automatically (not recommended for the casual user though). I do use a 3rd-party uninstaller (Geek Uninstaller) mainly for the purpose of reclaiming disk space, not because I think it will speed up the computer (with a few exceptions). I don't use registry cleaners anymore. I use CCleaner+CCEnhancer for reclaiming disk space, not because I think it will make the computer faster. I don't use a memory optimizer. I don't use a driver cleaner. I use the built-in Windows 7 defragmenter. I don't monitor outbound connections anymore. I use realtime AV but not a security suite.
     
  15. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    My points from my experiences.

    1. The suggestion that if you have to use a registry cleaner use ccleaner. Bffffpt.
    My experience cc caused more BSODs than any other registry cleaner besides system mechanic.

    2. "don’t bother installing updated drivers at all unless they arrive via Windows Update". STUPID advice.
    I've worked on many PCs that WU drivers borked. And I've worked on many PCs with problems that correct driver updates solved those problems.

    3. "Windows has a built-in defragmentation tool that’s more than good enough" WRONG
    Again I've worked on many PCs where the final process is a HDD defrag & the Windows program did nothing, wouldn't end or made it worse. And a 3rd party defrag program worked.

    4. "Third-Party Uninstallers....The few files left over generally won’t slow anything down or take up too much space. Unless you install and uninstall a large amount of programs each day, you don’t need a third-party uninstaller. Just uninstall the programs normally and move on with your life."
    NO wrong again.
    And AGAIN I've worked on many PCs that have crap programs & regular uninstalls don't work. I then need to force uninstall with a 3rd party uninstaller. And these crap programs nigglings need to be removed or one day or another they'll bork the OS.


    @Nebulus thank you for post #9. That made me laugh. I'd QFT but its there in post #9.
     
  16. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Cheers zapjb.
     
  17. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    Proper optimization (defragment *and* file placement) of conventional hard drive volumes... mainly those that are fairly full and/or in cases where the pagefile was increased/moved... can result in a significant performance improvement. Someone who has never done that may also have not done a serious "cleaning" of their system, which would be done before hand and also help to arrive at better optimization. I'm not aware of any tool that comes with Windows and does this well.

    We know outbound firewalls may have limitations and even be adversely affected by malware that has successfully made it onto the machine. However, in an age where even mainstream software is frequently a privacy/security threat and few if any (other) anti-malware tools do a good job of warning users, it is extremely foolish to disregard outbound firewalls. The typical user who does use their device(s) to store and process some personal/sensitive information *must* address the "outbound threat" somehow. Otherwise, they are just flying blind and computing in a fundamentally insecure fashion.
     
  18. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    That article is mostly correct, but Revo Uninstaller saved me from a reformat when I could not remove O&O DiskImage and as such could not install another backup product. The fully functional trial was nice and would have been enough to solve my problem, but I bought licenses anyway because it did save me a lot of work.
     
  19. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    I agree 100% with the original article.
     
  20. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    Going with a strict definition of "need", I would agree with this article. Based on my personal habits, I even follow quite a bit of the advice. The exceptions would be that I do use PC cleaners (BleachBit and Privazer), 3rd-party uninstallers (Geek Uninstaller) and a 3rd-party defragmenter if only rarely (UltraDefrag). Also if I had an SSD, I would probably use an optimizer software but only from the manufacturer (like Intel's SSD Toolbox).
     
  21. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    A non-geeky "expert" user? One or the other makes sense. I can't visualize this user, unless it's some self proclaimed expert who really doesn't know squat. Can't tell one of those anything since they know it all anyway.

    That list might apply to people who put no value on internet privacy, who don't care if their system has logged their every move and don't care who gets that information.
     
  22. Dave0291

    Dave0291 Registered Member

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    What I meant was that is was geared towards people who weren't geeky and didn't want to become a "pro" (meaning they thought using these tools made them know more than they do..they are out there). It was a weird way to put it now that I read back over it, but the point remains that it isn't geared towards tinkerers and hobbyists. Nothing on that list is going to make a hell of a lot of difference when it comes to privacy, unless you're the type that will spend two hours or more running something like Eraser on your free space every night. Even then it won't make too much difference if "they" get your ISP logs or any other data stored online. I get your point though.
     
  23. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    I wouldn't dismiss them from the start... For instance, a third party uninstaller can be a good privacy tool because it can remove the leftovers from an uninstalled program. Also, the outbound firewall is also a great privacy tool because it can prevent programs to phone home. Also, in some limited situations a defragmenter or a registry cleaner can act as privacy tools. But I agree that a good personal privacy policy requires a lot more than the listed tools.
     
  24. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    * Registry Cleaner: not really needed
    * PC Cleaner: not really needed either
    * Memory Optimizer: this ain't the days of Win 95 anymore
    * Driver Cleaner : more bloat
    * Game Booster: not needed
    * Separate Defragmentation Program: obsolete. Windows can do this.
    * SSD Optimizer: Windows 7 and 8 can handle this
    * Third-Party Uninstaller: not needed.
    * Update Checker: meh!
    * Outbound Firewall: Windows own Firewall can handle this as well.

    i'd have to say i agree with the article.
     
  25. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Not to go out of my way to disagree, but the following is based on many years experience in fixing computer issues:

    1. I've used many different registry cleaners, and have never seen one cause a BSOD. On occasion they can make a system unbootable, but no BSODs. In particular with CCleaner, the removal of empty software keys can cause problems in very rare situations, but other than that I have never seen it give a false positive.

    To prove my point I just installed CCleaner computer and did a registry scan, I was surprised to see that it gave a single false positive. However, while deleting this could potentially cause problems, it would not cause a BSOD.

    2. I've only seen drivers install via Windows Update cause problems literally once or twice. Windows Update is not the ideal place to get driver updates as they are usually not the most recent drivers, but I have not seen the same problems you have. Recently a driver update program installed an incompatible sound driver on a computer I was working on, leading to no sound. Delete the audio drivers in Device Manager and then letting Windows Update install audio drivers fixed the problem.

    3. I've never seen the built in defrag not finish or cause problems.

    4. Yes, 3rd party uninstallers come in handy when the included installer don't work, but otherwise there's not much to gained from using them.
     
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