An interesting article here: Windows secrets. When I was less knowledgeable about PC's than I like to think I am now I to used these programs,even bought one once, many years ago, System Mechanic, if memory serves. Now I would not touch then with the proverbial barge pole. I have had to sort far to many PC's that have come my way because the owner used one of these programs. They can and do cause more problems than they cure in my opinion and most make over the top assertions on how much better your PC will run if you use their software.
Chronus - I agree with all of your comments regarding so called tune up programs. I too used System Mechanic many, many years ago now and it made an absolute mess of my PC. Like you I had very little knowledge of computers in those days and therefore put my trust in this program because I thought it was going to make big improvements. To put it mildly, it caused problems it was supposed to put right! I have never used any of these type of programs since.
Couldn't agree more. The number of times I've had "Slow" computers brought to me as a final resort and found not one, but multiple "Speed Up" applications installed or registry boosters and the like ....
The actual problems were basic things like Windows Updates not installing, a Java, Adobe or HP Assist program being ignored and because the computer was running slow their owners turned it off and when rebooted the process started all over again.
In the worst cases a complete re-install was required because the registry was beyond a simple fix.
A rival mag has in its latest edition given a luke-warm review of tune-up utilities. They included SM and concluded that registry cleaning is largely futile because it didn't make any difference in performance.
I find it irritating that magazines like this include versions on their free cds often with a free trial and the option to buy. These programs are then put on computers by inexperienced people who do not understand the possible consequences.