Test-driving ‘free scan’ tune-up suites

Fred Langa

Even on well-maintained systems, free system scanners might find hundreds of “problems,” as I discovered from a test of three products from well-known companies.

These suites typically offer to fix system problems — for a fee — but are these problems real or just scare tactics to drum up sales?

Long-time LangaList Plus readers know I’m a firm believer in PC maintenance. I regularly use various tune-up/cleanup tools on my PCs, and I know the good ones really do help keep systems clean, fast, and stable.

But some tune-up/cleanup tools seem to raise more questions than they answer. Consider this note from Windows Secrets paid subscriber Norman C. Freitas:

  • “I recently installed Corel’s WinZip System Utilities. Its free PC scan reported:

    “‘2,447 privacy traces detected, 529 registry issues found, 32 junk items detected, 6 outdated drivers found, and Registry Optimization recommended.’

    “I am hesitant to pay to activate the software to ‘fix’ the reported problems without additional information. Help!”

I don’t blame Norman — I’d want more information, too.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2012-08-09:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.