Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autumn Cleanup

This is quite a departure from my normal ramblings but it came about because of computer problems I began having on the tool I use most often, my notebook computer. It seems that in the 2 ½ years that it has loyally served me, in my travels throughout several countries and continents, that the hardest thing for it to bear was its becoming cluttered. With all the program additions, removals and updates, as well as the leavings of thousands of websites, my trusty sidekick had become bogged down. Running a program had become, for it, like me attempting to navigate a huge junkyard in five inch stilettos.

I decided to take up an offer from Digeus Software to try their product 'System Optimizer' and unbiasedly report my experience on my blog. So, here it is.

I first used the suggested (via a program startup tip) Optimization Wizard which led me through ten steps.

1)                Process Manager – It identified 113 running processes with eleven of them having unknown digital signatures. It recommended that I research and disable these but did not provide any guidance on any of them. I noticed that in all cases but two that the company was known and the process itself was easily recognized. Take, for instance, the Google search box that I installed as the search provider for IE8. For a purchased product, I felt this tool could have included more knowledge about the processes than just what was provided within the operating system.
2)                Windows Update – This simply launched Windows Update in IE. This is probably appropriate for someone who does not regularly update her computer, however, it did nothing for assisting me.
3)                Adjust the Refresh Rate of CRT Monitor – Huh? How does that affect system performance? Besides, I have an LCD monitor.
4)                Optimize System Performance – This gave me the option to turn off things like the Indexing Service, Zip Compressed Folders, etc. If one does not know these features are enabled and does not receive a benefit from them, by all means disable them because each of these features may potentially reduce computer application speed.
5)                Smart Uninstall – This listed all installed programs. Potentially it might do a better job (than the control panel) uninstalling those applications you do not desire.
6)                Startup Manager – Let's you manage all startup programs.
7)                Service Manager – This did not work on my computer.
8)                Junk File Cleaner – Cleans out files that are no longer necessary on your computer. I normally use Ccleaner for this function.
9)                Registry Cleaner – This was by far the most useful function I found in the program. It located more invalid registry entries than the other program I use for this.
10)           Registry Defrag – the second most useful function for me.

Other features include: Analyze Disk Space Usage, Protect Your Privacy, and Clean Your Duplicates. All of these are useful tools to have in one's possession and it is nice to have them in one suite. If you like to do things on your own, there are various freeware programs that have similar functionality.

My system ran better following the cleanup and once I identified some real CPU hogs (Java for one) and I removed them, it ran nearly as fast as new.

If you are interested in System Optimizer, go to They also have created a number of other tools.