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5 Reasons You Shouldn't Use Cleaning Software

You see the ads everywhere - PC cleaning software that promises to fix all of your slow PC issues and fragmented files. Don't use them - here's why

 

5 Reasons You Shouldn't Use Cleaning Software

 

PC cleaning software is a booming market, and it feels like everywhere you look there are ads purporting to cure your gaming PC of all its woes.

Sluggish computer? Click here!

Think you've got a virus? Click here!

Whether unscrupulous companies are trying to fleece you with fake virus popups or telling you they can get rid of all your junk files with their "free" software, it is a complete minefield. Our top five reasons below will tell you why you should never use third party software to clean up your PC.

1: Windows Already Does It All

Of course, this is the simplest and most logical reason NOT to use a third party application. Windows comes packed with a bunch of tools you can run and clean up a PC that has loads of junk files.

Remove Unused Applications

Go to the Start Menu > Settings > Apps & features.

 

Add Remove Programs

Add Remove Programs

 

Scroll down your list of applications and remove any that you no longer use:

 

Removing programs you no longer use

Removing programs you no longer use

 

Disk Clean-up

Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Disk Clean-up

 

Disk clean up

Disk clean up

 

Windows will automatically check how much space can be freed up.

 

Disk clean-up options

Disk clean-up options

 

Select all of the types of data you wish to clean up, and hit OK.

Defragment Your Hard Drive

If you have an SSD, you won't need to do this. If you have a hard drive, however, it is recommended to run Disk Defragment regularly.

In Administrative Tools, select Defragment and Optimise Drives.

 

Defragment and Optimise Drives

Defragment and Optimise Drives

 

Select the drive you want to defragment, and hit Optimise.

This will remove any files that are left over from uninstalls, or partial temporary files that are generated during tasks.

2. Use Windows Antivirus and Firewall

Windows comes with Windows Defender firewall, which also acts as a defence against viruses and malware. Windows Defender is one of the most trusted and up to date technologies, which sets the standard in finding new virus definitions.

In your Start Menu, search for "Windows Security".

 

Windows Security

Windows Security

 

You can click on any of these options and customise the security levels on your PC. If any of the above do not have a green check mark, you can activate the security by clicking on it and activating it.

3. They Do More Harm Than Good

Most of the security and PC clean up applications that pop up as an advertisement can be ignored totally, and are actually recognised by Microsoft as a virus. One such software is "MyCleanPC", which has an extremely poor reputation for being a scamware application.

MyCleanPC is a potentially unwanted program and scam that infects your computer by installing unwanted computer optimization software. Be very careful when installing free software or any software that is recommended to you through online advertising as in many cases this software such as MyCleanPC comes installed with bundled software and all sorts of other unwanted programs. Publishers get paid to distribute unwanted software through such methods in order to make money. Make sure to always read the full terms of service and privacy policy and always opt-out of unwanted scamware. Also, download software from the publishers web site directly and stay away from unreputable download portals or online adverts telling you to "upgrade" Flash or Java.

  • StopScamware.com

Installing one of these applications can result in your PC running much worse than it did before, your browser being hijacked to show you yet more scam websites, and worse still - installation of ransomware locking your PC down altogether and demanding a fee to unlock your files.

Because of the proliferation of these scam applications, it is recommended that you do NOT install anything that you see on a pop-up, in an email or anywhere else without doing your due diligence.

4. They Don't Actually Work

This is a critical point: a lot of this software doesn't work at all, and will often miss the files you actually need scanning for viruses, cleaning up or deleting. Sometimes, they will only remove a partial amount of the file or registry entry, and can cause more damage by doing so.

When it comes to antivirus software, you can rely on Windows Defender, or you can use a dedicated application like BullGuard, Avast, Comodo or any others that appear on AV-Test's website as being reputable and reliable. AV-Test is an independent company that tests antivirus software for Android, MacOS and Windows, ranking them by protection, performance and usability.

 

AV-Test antivirus tests

AV-Test antivirus tests

 

By using independent websites such as AV-Test, you can make informed decisions about antivirus apps.

5. Scam Applications Are Linked To Organised Crime

As much as we don't like to think about it, organised crime makes a LOT of money from these scam applications. In recent years, one of the most prolific scams were revealed to be making over $120 million from unsuspecting computer users.

 

FTC shuts down massive PC cleaner scam - GigaOM.com

FTC shuts down massive “PC cleaner” scam - GigaOM.com

 

Whilst this was an incredibly well-planned sting, there are still many investigations ongoing into groups just like the ones behind the above story. There are many thousand of scam applications just waiting to be downloaded, and organised crime is usually at the heart of it, funding and growing the enterprise. The recent pandemic enabled scammers to take their activities up a gear, and every crime agency in the world did their level best to warn the public. The National Crime Agency recommends the following in relation to computer service fraud:

 

National Crime Agency warning

National Crime Agency warning

 

Last Word

Cleaning up your PC and getting rid of junk should not be a major chore, and Windows 10 and Windows 11 do their best to make the process very simple and thorough. The built-in tools you get with Windows are actually just as in-depth and take roughly the same amount of time to run, so there is virtually no benefit to having another application to do it.

Of course, there are legitimate applications out there. CCleaner is a reputable software that doesn't just deal with junk files and applications, but also cleans out your registry after backing it up. If you prefer to have this kind of PC cleaning at your disposal, there is a free version, and also a paid version.

Whenever you see one of those pop-ups again, keep all of the above in mind. Not only will it save you money, but it might also save your PC from damage that can't be undone!