Clean and learn..

Published on: Author: Mike Hall 1 Comment

Remember ‘First Aid’, ‘RegClean’, or ‘CleanSweep’, ‘Norton System Doctor’, or ‘Nuts n Bolts’? If you were a Windows 9x tinkerer, you might. The idea behind them was to aid the computer user in case of problems, and boy did some people have problems!!


First Aid promised to fix lots of things, and it did as long as it knew about everything. Unfortunately, anything it didn’t know was flagged as a fault, and countless hours could be spent tracking down a fault that ‘wasn’t!!


CleanSweep promised a great deal too. As long as it was installed, it could track installation files as something was loaded, and could then remove all tracked files in the event that the user wanted to uninstall a program or two. That part worked. The removal of duplicate files didn’t always work so well, especially in the case of ‘CTL3.DLL’.


CTL3.DLL came in many guises and was installed numerous times on a computer which had more than just Windows running. Removal of duplicate CTL3 files spelled disaster. It appeared numerous times because it was needed, but CleanSweep didn’t know that and neither did many computer users.


Norton System Doctor and Nuts n Bolts watched over systems on the fly, all of which sounded good in principle, but anything that ran in the Windows 9x background also ate resources. Nuts N Bolts had gauges displayed in a ‘flyout’ bar, and one could successfully predict when Windows would crash through a lack of resources. Great stuff eh, but if one shut down or uninstalled Norton SD or Nuts, the system would keep running way longer.


Windows 9x was ok as long as it wasn’t connected to the Internet. It didn’t matter how many icons were on the desktop or even if Norton SD and Nuts were running, but as soon as a firewall, anti-virus, Messenger and IE were started up, down went the resources. The solution for many was to turn off the firewall and A-V, the only protection that they had, and leave the real culprits running!!


Regclean worked because it didn’t clean in the true sense. It removed only what was absolutely safe to remove. This wasn’t a bad thing because registry bloat could bring Windows 9x to its knees, but it never cleaned like some thought it did. A quick foray and search in Regedit often showed bits and pieces left over.


If any of the above utilities had been as good as claimed, I would not have called this piece ‘Clean and learn’, but that is how it was: ‘Clean’ your system and ‘Learn’ how to re-install all of it.


It was akin to tending an ornamental garden with a 17 HP brush and field mower.


It still is!!


Forget about snake oil. Forget the old ways. Forget about registry cleaners. And quit using Isopropryl Alcohol to clean the case, because when you pass a cloth soaked in this stuff over your Windows COA sticker, it removes the key code.


If you don’t want a messed up computer, quit loading crap onto it and using it as a drinks and TV dinner tray.

One Response to Clean and learn.. Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. Hi Mike,
    Just found this discussion at Microsoft. File my response under the FYI Folder. No criticism intended as I’m a virtual beginner with PCs.

    While trying to restore my audio, I’ve been experiencing the same problem, but my Motherboard(a Gigabyte GA-P35_DS3L [Rev.2]) is designed for High Def onboard audio and still pops up with “Install Realtek HD Audio Driver Failure !!”. When I try to use any Audio processing programs the popup says “A device ID has been used that is out of range for your system”. My Driver source is the Gigabyte utility disc that came with the board. I know it’s something I did.

    My difficulties began when tried to install a professional style Sound card(an Echo Mia). Maybe I should have known better. I may have to go to a pro service person soon.

    Larry Forsyth
    Norwalk, IA
    USA
    forsythlarry@hotmail.com

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