Fake CCleaner software and websites will try to waylay you and your money.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


A Windows 'fix-it' method that actually works

March 10, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

The Internet is ripe with bogus methods to fix the problems that affect Windows users. You can even go to a website that claims it will fix your PC online while you wait.

All this stuff is nonsense. I'm recommending a method that actually works.

First, let's look at why Windows needs serious repairs. Although the latest versions of Windows are safer and less fragile than earlier versions, Microsoft is still taking the easy way out. Instead of redesigning its operating system from the ground up, as Apple did with its Mac, Microsoft still saddles Windows with a creaky, error-prone database called the Windows Registry to manage everything that runs on the PC.

The Registry database updates itself many times a second, and errors accumulate constantly. I've run Registry fixers that found dozens of errors on new PCs that have been running for only a few minutes.

Other common Windows problems can arise from mismatched support files, many megabytes of temporary files that won't go away, a few gigabytes of Windows update files that are kept for no good reason after they've been used and, perhaps most annoying, a bloated collection of programs that all insist on starting up with Windows. I've cleaned out some PCs that had more than 3 dozen such self-starters, nearly all of them unnecessary.

These difficulties afflict all Windows PCs to some extent. They're not limited to PCs that are used heavily. So keeping your PC healthy by using a good fixup-and-cleanup program should be a high priority.

My top choice remains CCleaner, from www.piriform.com. CCleaner has grown up from a cute little utility called Crap Cleaner to a serious multifunction clean-and-fix program. It's still free to individuals, but businesses have to pay.

But listen up: Imitation is, on the Internet, the surest form of scammery. Fake CCleaner software and websites will try to waylay you and your money. Do not ever download and install CCleaner from any other site than the one listed here, and never pay anything when you are using the free version.

CCleaner cleans the Registry, of course, and also fixes the problems I listed above. I suggest a triple play approach -- run the Registry cleaning part of CCleaner three times in a row, every few weeks. Run the other functions, too, of course, but only once in a while. CCleaner usually finds more junk in the Registry once the preliminary crud is removed. And don't be surprised if you run it for the first time and see hundreds of errors listed.