A ‘Cure all’ alternative..

What program cleans up all in the list below:

  1. Downloaded Program files
  2. Temporary Internet files
  3. Offline webpages
  4. Office setup files
  5. Recycle bin
  6. Setup Log files
  7. System Error Memory Dump files
  8. System error Minidump files
  9. Temporary files
  10. Thumbnails
  11. Per User archived Windows error reporting
  12. System Queued Windows error reporting
  13. Removes all but the last Restore Point
  14. Links to Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features

Answer: Windows Disk Cleanup

So why go looking for some third party crap cleaner which has dangerous additions like a registry cleaner? The majority of third party cleaning utilities will screw up your system. Some do it at the very next reboot, while others bide their time, slowly whittling away at the system. It is only a matter of time. It is all very well installing this and that, but you should think first. Do you really need it? You see, indiscriminate installing of junk which promises a great deal but in reality offers no deal is not a good long term plan. Running with the idea that there is a program which can remove all of the crap which you have installed and safely restore you computer back to fully working is a pipe dream. Windows Disk Cleanup can’t do it either, but at least it is a safe utility to use.

An example of one of the very worst utilities is the duplicate file finder. Installing one of these and following through with what it suggests will leave you with one screwed up computer which will do nothing but go through the boot loop. Another is the registry cleaner. You may think that it makes your computer run faster but what it is actually doing is chipping away at stuff in the registry until eventually your computer will maybe not update properly. When time comes to remove the beta service pack you installed just for fun, it will not uninstall. A whole host of problems can be building up in the wings when using these cure all’s. Blame XP/Vista? Sure, why not! XP/Vista made you do it, eh.. NOT.

It isn’t all third party crap that screws things up either. Manually removing folders which you don’t think should exist is always good for tears before bedtime. Getting all uptight about all of the folders in the Windows main folder and the space they take up is going to lead to tears too. If Windows or any application has deposited files and folders all over the place, there is a good reason.

So the system is screwed and the cure all’s have failed. Now it is time to finish the job using a Windows utility. Lets try System Restore, and just to make sure that we are successful, we will go back as far as we can. Maybe not the best decision and yet another wild grab at straws. System Restore will try to put things back the way they were for the date you pick, but it will only try to put system files the way they were. This does not include stuff which you have added. You can end up with more problems than you started with by doing this. I have also found that Vista System Restore does a better job and more often than the XP version.

If you place your pride on that pile of assorted CD’s which you didn’t put back in protective covers after you used them, we will discuss the biggest problem of all. Yes, that’s right: YOU made the decision to install junk, pressed the ‘install now’ button. If you had just used your computer to write the letter, do the artwork for the Scout Troop Jamboree, taken the redeye out of the last bunch of family pics, sorted your home finances out in Quicken etc, the computer would still be ok. You wouldn’t be running around like a scalded cat looking for the recovery set which was last seen being put in the box marked ‘Kitchen stuff’ last time you moved house..

A final note: I have covered this topic before but there are slow learners amongst you. To make it more interesting second time around, I changed some of the wording, but the overall message remains the same..

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it..


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