As we talked about in an earlier post, you can’t afford technology slow-downs (let alone melt-downs) with the equipment you use for work. There are three tools that are superb for keeping it lean, mean, and screaming faster than the day you bought it. What all of these do is clean your registry which, if you’re a Windows user, was full of crap from the moment you got the PC, and has grown exponentially more crap-filled since then. Some of them clean other things which get just as junk-filled – like your temp folder. Some go farther, scouring your hard drive for the detritus of software installs and software baggage. The criteria for each of these is simple: in my experience, they have cleaned thoroughly and consistently without doing damage. I won’t swear by any piece of software, but my experience with these has been quite positive.
Ashampoo Winoptimizer: This is the Swiss army knife of system cleaners. Great value, and they frequently offer this for $10 if you watch for it, though it’s worth the original price of $50. Try a free demo – you won’t be disappointed. Advice: don’t get crazy with all the tweaks this thing will allow. They’re good if you understand what you’re doing. If not, use it to clean, clean, and clean. The best thing they ever did in these later versions is include a “one-click optimizer”. I keep it on my taskbar. If I think I’ve lost any speed, I click it once, and keep working. By the way, it’s fast!
PC Onpoint: This is a single-function utility and it does it singly well. It cleans the registry. It has always seemed rock solid, high-end, professional (what some of us might tongue-in-cheek refer to as “corporate grade” – except, honestly, have more respect for it than that – this is good technology!). It seems a little slower than Winoptimizer, but just a hair – a hair mind you – more thorough. Also, it has no tweak panels for you to hose your settings if you get click happy and aren’t geek savvy. My experience isn’t with the latest version, perhaps, but these comments were true as of a year ago.
Advanced System Care Free: This is a full-featured cleaner/optimizer that is also dead simple, once you get the interface. Follow the ‘bouncing ball’ around the dial, so to speak, and it more or less takes care of everything for you, without you having to know any terminology. I have this installed on a family member’s PC. As a single, comprehensive, cleaning solution – especially since there’s a free version – it’s quite impressive.
Incidentally, I’m not intentionally excluding any other tools. I’ve tried a lot of them. But frankly, these in particular have been the most thorough, without causing damage to anything of mine, that I’ve experienced. In my experience, they’re the best.
That’s it. This is not primarily a blog about business tools, but when I find tools I like, I relay the information because what this blog is actually about is caring about your work. A friend and I looked at each other one day when lamenting a horrendous software choice on the part of a corporation and said, “in our own businesses, we won’t do things like this”. It isn’t just because we have a doctrine of technology. We do, but that’s beside the point. It’s because our work is a vehicle of meaning, as I can be accused of saying too often, and that means that we approach it, from a technological standpoint, differently than if our meaning came from some part at the expense of a whole – one project budget at the expense of a company, or whatever. So, if you’re using a PC – nothing wrong with a PC – remember, Microsoft didn’t invent them – they just dominated them for a long time, and that day is fast ending, then tools like these can help make using it more like driving a Mazda 3 or a Minicooper, and less like sputtering along in a Kia Sephia (ooo, mercy).
The real question is how many of you are going to go rogue and slip these onto your crawling, corporate workstation for a quickening test drive. Careful, Wilbur – there are eyes in them thar hills.