Question from Christopher B.: It seems like every time I turn on the TV they’re showing an ad for PC Matic, so I finally gave their free download a try.
It seems like PC Matic would be a good program, but I just can’t afford to spend $50 for it. Is there a free program out there that does the same thing?
Rick’s answer: I’m a huge fan of free software too Christopher, and there are plenty of free utilities that will remove the junk from your PC, optimize Windows, and keep your computer running smoothly.
I can’t give an opinion on PC Matic specifically, because I’ve never used it. For all I know it might the best thing for mankind since the invention of fire. But I can tell you that I have never used an all-in-one PC optimization suite that did as good a job as my favorite list of stand-alone tools. If you’re interested, here they are:
1 – CCleaner – If I had to choose just one tool for keeping my PC running fast and smooth, it would be CCleaner. This awesome program will clean the leftover junk from the nooks and crannies of your Windows installation in just a few minutes.
2 – Autoruns – Short of viruses and spyware, nothing slows down a computer more than a bunch of unnecessary programs that are running in the background. Autoruns makes it easy to see everything that loads automatically at Windows startup and prevent the ones you don’t need from automatically loading in the future.
3 – Startup Delayer – While Autoruns lets you stop programs that you don’t need from running automatically, Startup Delayer will instruct Windows to wait a while before loading some of the programs that you do need. This allows your system to boot up to a usable state a lot faster than it would if everything loaded into memory right away.
4 – Junkware Removal Tool – If you aren’t careful, downloading free programs and visiting certain websites can result in junk software being downloaded and installed without your knowledge or permission. Toolbars are the main culprits, but there are lots of other kinds of “junkware” out there as well. The free Junkware Removal Tool will clean it all out in no time flat.
5 – Geek Uninstaller – When you use the native Windows “Uninstall a program” utility to remove an unwanted program from your system, traces of the deleted program are left behind in the form of orphaned files, folders and Registry entries. Geek Uninstaller is a fantastic replacement that deletes programs entirely, then goes back and cleans up the mess.
6 – Recuva – Have you ever deleted a file and then changed your mind? Recuva makes it easy to get back virtually any deleted file as long as it hasn’t already been over-written with a new one.
7 – Defraggler – The native Windows Defrag utility does a pretty good job at putting all the pieces of your files back together again, but Defraggler does it faster and better.
8 – PC Decrapifier – This is the second program you should use on every new PC that you buy (the first program you should use is detailed in #9 below). Most new computers come from the factory pre-loaded with a ton of trialware that wastes valuable space on the hard drive and slows down the entire system. You could remove it all manually with the aforementioned Geek Uninstaller, but PC Decrapifier will get rid of all of it at once!
9 – Avast Antivirus Free – The first program that you should install on a new PC is a good anti-virus program, and Avast is one of the best. While there are several versions of Avast available, I use and recommend the free version because it works extremely well.
Christopher, I have used all of the great free utilities listed above for years, and in my opinion they are a lot more effective at cleaning the junk from a PC and keeping it running like a new one than any of the all-in-one solutions I have tried. I hope this helps. Good luck!
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