The Windows Maintenance Challenge: Part 1

Fred Langa

Can commercial software maintain your PC better than Windows’ built-in and free tools?

This article is the first in a series that will help you determine which tools — free or paid — yield the best results on your specific PC.

Personal-computer salvation? Or snake oil?

You’ve undoubtedly seen the ads; they state something similar to: “This software is guaranteed to make your PC run like new! Download it for free!”

The ads often promise a fix for every PC affliction: “It’s the only software that instantly speeds up your PC, prevents crashes, fixes system errors, boots Windows faster, deletes malware and junk files …” and so on, and so on.

For many PC users, that sounds great. Simply click a button and everything gets magically fixed. That’s certainly easier than trying to use all those tools already built into Windows — or the myriad of specialized, third-party maintenance tools.

But in truth, there never has been one application that fixes all Windows problems — and it’s doubtful there ever will be. Windows is simply too complex, and the range of PC configurations is virtually infinite. A suite of tools might do the trick, but then there’s the question of free versus paid.

Windows has built-in tools for nearly any problem — and they, along with many third-party tools, are completely free. Most of the do-it-all maintenance applications are paid. (These commercial products often offer a free scan; but to fix any system errors they might find, you have to accept a paid subscription.)

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2014-08-14:

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.