Saturday, July 05, 2008

Claus’s Five Best Windows Maintenance Utilities

Lifehacker started it this time round: Hive Five: Five Best Windows Maintenance Tools

Todd Ogasawara picked it up and offered his choices: My Alternative Recommendations to: LifeHacker’s Five Best Windows Maintenance Tools

Being as I like a good and useful utility and know more than a few, I thought I would offer my own take.

I set the following self-imposed conditions; it must be free, portable (on USB), be XP/Vista compatible, and otherwise provide a capability above and beyond that which Windows can (within its common features) provide.

Claus's Fave-Five:

1) CCleaner - Great for very thorough cleaning of temp files, registry items, and other gunk and buildup that accrues in a Windows system.  Take the defaults for a painless cleaning or go into the advanced items for deep spa-cleansing and rehabilitation.

2) Glary Utilities – Since we are focusing on “maintenance” tools only, this is a no-brainer choice.  It does have some CCleaner-like tools, but also includes a short-cut fixer, uninstall manager, memory optimizer, context-menu item manager, file shredder, file undeleter, disk-space  analyzer, and empty-folders finder.  So many tools in a single package!

3) AutoRuns for Windows – This Microsoft Sysinternals tools should help with some major cleanup work for Windows auto-run items.  It covers many, many more areas than the msconfig tool by default.  That’s why it makes the cut.  Granted, removing an incorrect entry here can tank your system, so I always disable, reboot and recheck before finally removing (deleting) an entry. Not for noobies but oh-so-powerful!  With some surgical removals, it can really improve startup-performance on many systems; shedding unneeded items.

4) Spybot-S&D 1.6, Release Candidate 2 – 1.6 RC2 now supporting Opera 9.5 and Firefox 3.0 builds.  There are lots of other anti-malware cleaners. Many now do a more detailed job.  However the fact that this latest build can handle the newest generation of browsers means you can do some effective cookie-cleaning.  It runs much faster than previous versions as well.

5) XdN Tweaker – Because maintaining a Windows system means more than just deleting files and folders.  I selected this system-tweaking tool as it supports both XP and Vista systems in a single package. It does require the host machine have .NET installed. Other than that it provides a wealth of system adjustments and fine-tuning options  Definitely needed in the professional system maintainer’s toolbox of applications.

What is missing from this list?

No dedicated uninstaller was listed…by default Windows has one in Add/Remove programs.

Likewise, no defragger listed…by default Windows has one. 

Honorable Mentions:

These utilities provide similar (though magnitudes better) features than Windows default tools and/or require local system installation to function properly.

Revo Uninstaller or MyUninstaller – Revo is awesome in that it has advanced features that really make it easy and complete to remove everything when removing applications.  NirSoft''s uninstaller is just so tiny and fast it is 1000x's better than Window's own method.

JkDefrag Option GUI - In my mind, the best interface for the JkDefrag drive defragging tool.

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware or Spyware Terminator - two very aggressive and very deep-cleaning anti-malware removal tools.  Only drawbacks is that they must be installed on the host system to perform properly.  Like two Dobermans.  

Process Explorer - Microsoft Sysinternals utility.  Not really useful for cleaning and maintenance in-of-itself.  However, it can provide an incredible level of detail as to what processes are running on your system and what they are doing.  Great for assessing just what is happening.  Might allow advanced geeks to hone in on problem areas with certain applications.

xpy or Vispa - Two handy tools for XP or Vista systems (respectively).  Allow a fine number of system tweaks and restoration.  Nice, small and useful.

Related Posts:

PC Housecleaning - Grand Stream Dreams blog

A BIG List of 34 Free XP and Vista Tweaking Apps - Grand Stream Dreams Blog

Anyone have any "my fave-five" favorites they would recommend?  Feel free to leave-em in the comments!



Xenomorph said...

The bottom of this page states "No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission", but I wish to use your review of my application (XdN Tweaker) on my web site.

How do I contact you for permission? :(

Claus Valca said...

@ Xenomorph - No problem. Consider permission granted to quote what you need. Linkback to original post is appreciated but not required.

Thank you for asking. And I do really like your app a lot!