Over time, a once-sprightly PC can begin to slow down under the weight of various programs, files, and downloads that could do with streamlining. These tasks can be attempted manually, but there are plenty of dedicated apps that will do the job for you instead. We’ve gathered together some of our favourite PC cleaning and optimisation apps that should be running on your system right now.
Ashampoo WinOptimizer 2018
Price: £19.99 / US$29.99 per year
WinOptimizer is an easy place to start, as not only does it offer plenty of features, but they're accessible via a 1-click optimisation button that scurries off and checks how your PC performance can be improved.
The app de-clutters your hard drive, removes junk files, repairs program shortcuts, fixes Registry errors, and clears out your browsing history and cache. There’s also the option to securely delete sensitive data, or add password protection and encryption instead.
For those who want to dig deeper there’s detailed analysis of the operating system and modules that can help improve things like boot times and internet connection speeds.
IOLO System Mechanic
Price: £30 / US$39.99 per year
IOLO has a number of optimisation products available for Windows PCs, including security apps, drive scrubbers, password managers, and System Mechanic. The latter is a great piece of software that provides a quick way to get your machine back in tip-top condition.
This app employs something it calls LiveBoost technology, which aims to ensure that the CPU, RAM, and hard drive are not overused by aggressive programs. This can give PCs a decent performance improvement, especially if you have resource-hogging software.
DriveSense is there to monitor the physical attributes of your HD, and can predict if a crash is on the horizon, while the Core Data Recalibrator searches for any potential operating system issues that could become a problem.
The app also has an All-in-one PC Cleanup PowerTool that automatically removes anything cluttering up your browsers, chat programs, or hard drives.
System Mechanic is a comprehensive suite, with too many features to mention here.
Price: Free (£23 / US$29.97 per year for Premium version)
If you don’t want to shell out for optimisation software, then SlimCleaner Plus has a free tier that can still help boost performance on your PC. Admittedly the features are minimal, with it sticking mainly to speeding up startup times by restricting the apps that are loaded when you first turn on your machine.
With the paid-for version you’ll have access to tools such as an SSD optimiser that defrags the drive to keep it sharp, and the 1-click scan which searches your entire machine for issues, then provides easy ways to remove them.
The free version can tidy things up a little, but you’ll want Premium to see significant gains in speed.
Price: £34.99 / US$49.99
Many of us are familiar with AVG and its excellent anti-virus software, but the company also has a well respected suite of performance enhancing apps. TuneUp, does exactly as its name suggests, with tools that can get the most out of a PCs struggling engine.
Its ‘Programs-On-Demand’ feature puts resource hungry programs to sleep when they’re not in use, thus increasing general speed as well as extending a laptop’s battery life.
There’s an automatic software updater, which ensures that all your apps are running the latest versions, alongside a system cleaner that removes duplicate files, data left behind after apps are uninstalled, plus hidden files from programs like Microsoft Office, iTunes, Skype, and Steam.
These are accompanied by analysis software that warns of hardware or software issues, various security enhancements such as a file shredder, and a few Registry tools to keep Windows ticking along nicely.
AVG also includes its Cleaner for Android app in the package, so you can keep your Android smartphone up to speed as well.
Advanced SystemCare 11 Free
Price: Free (£15 / US$19.99 per year for Pro)
Finally, we come to another app that offers a free version, and that is Advanced SystemCare 11. This can clean up unwanted programs, Registry files, and other ephemera that might cause your system to slow down. There’s also a Startup optimiser and browser security monitor that looks for malicious software trying to hijack your Homepage.
Moving up to the Pro version brings a deeper Registry cleaner, browser optimisation that can improve speed online, automatic RAM cleaning, scheduled maintenance, and a defragger for the drive.
Both are useful apps, but it's no surprise that the Pro tier is the one you really want.
Here are 5 free ways to clean up Windows.