Modern PCs are more durable and stable than ever before, but as software stability and utility have increased, so too have the number and types of errors, infections, and general difficulties users encounter daily. Infected websites are an ever-present threat, conflicts between old and new versions of software can slow a system to a crawl, and more generally, computers slow down and begin to malfunction as more and more programs compete for active memory. Fortunately, all is not lost! Thanks to the internet revolution and the growing online security concerns it has brought with it, the cleanup software industry is booming. Many excellent programs are available free of charge on the web, and a working knowledge of which to use for what purpose can help to promote security and efficiency on any system or network.
CCleaner is truly an all-in-one solution! This software offers many of the features of common PC cleanup programs in one convenient package, with many more features to boot! CCleaner can perform useful administrative functions such as clearing the depths of a user’s browser history (including for such things as AutoComplete in Internet Explorer,) along with more general cleanup functions such as a registry sweeper. CCleaner is a great addition to any system, and can significantly decrease load times and instability if used properly.
Malwarebytes is without a doubt one of the easiest cleanup programs on the web! Malwarebytes, as its name implies, removes malware, viruses, tracking cookies, and other threats from the user’s computer system. The leading feature this program offers is simplicity and convenience. The free version includes detailed scanning of a computer’s hard disk drive (including the registry) and will detect and remove nearly all common, lower-level infections. While not necessarily an all-in-one solution for computer security, Malwarebytes provides excellent protection at no cost, provided that users are diligent in its use.
Unlike many of the other programs on this list, Eraser does nothing to detect or remove infections or spyware. Instead, Eraser contains a group of deletion algorithms which securely erase files and folders which have been marked for deletion. The concept of secure eraser is not widely understood. When a user deletes a file, the file does not disappear from the disk. Instead, the space the file takes up on the drive is thought of as “usable” by the operating system, which will overwrite it when new files are written to the drive. This process is somewhat random, however, and files that have not been overwritten are easy to recover from the disk. Users who are concerned with high levels of data security can use Eraser to overwrite deleted files with massive amounts of random data, rendering the file impossible to recover by outsiders. Eraser can also be set to automatically delete the contents of certain folders for maximum security.
While many of these tools offer simplicity of function and an appealing graphical user interface, ComboFix is a different kind of program altogether. The interface appears primitive and somewhat intimidating, and there are no multifunction menus that promise to optimize everything about the host PC. Instead, ComboFix offers raw power. It is highly recommended that users consult, read, and fully comprehend a tutorial or FAQ before attempting to use ComboFix, but for experienced users, it is a vital program. ComboFix can remove nearly any infection from most machines, although if it is used incautiously it may also remove vital system components. With great power comes great responsibility.
5. AVG Free
No list of the web’s best cleanup tools would be complete without a mention of one of the best free anti-virus solutions available: AVG Free. AVG is a respected name in the anti-virus business, and the free edition lives up to the company’s standard. Boasting impressive always-on protection against nearly all modern viruses, AVG Free is a cost-effective way to clean up nasty infections and prevent future problems from occurring. Every computer with a network connection should have a rudimentary virus protection suite at minimum, and AVG Free is far more than rudimentary. Well worth the download!
While it sometimes seems that there are countless options for protection and PC cleaning available on the web, picking the right program can help to save time and energy for users doing system maintenance. The above programs are time-tested and proven safe and effective. They are definitive entry in the list of essential software for your system. An intelligent combination of security and cleanup programs will keep any computer clean and trouble-free. A clean and efficient system is a happy system!