Optimizing Programs, how many is too many and do they realy work?

Hello Experts,

First, I would like to start by saying I am a computer novice. 18 months ago I couldn't tell you how to turn on a computer. However, in that time, I've spent more hours than you could imagine teaching myself mostly through trial and error. It seems like there are conflicting answers to my question. I have several optimizing programs installed on both of my computers. The first one found over 1000 errors. Needless to say I purchased it and started running it once a week. Right after running it several months ago I ran across another one that offered a free scan of my computer. My god, it found 500+ errors that apparently the first one missed so of course I purchased it and started running both once a week. I came across one that didn't do the same thing the others did plus it gave me a score to go by. Naturally I had to get that one also. While researching a nagging problem I'm having with one, I came across this web site and went for the free trial offer. In one of the forums it mentioned a cleaning program and tried the free scan. Holy smokes, 427+ errors. I guess by now you already know my question. A computer Savoy friend of mine said they don't do any more than disc clean up and defrag do and they could actually do more harm than good. I asked this same question to 3 different computer techs and got 3 different answers. With all the experts here, I'm hoping I can get a straight answer. Do they really work? Is running more than one a bad thing? The ones I have are suppose to be the top rated programs. Now I wonder if they really are. The three I have on this computer are; RegCure, UniBlue Power Suite, and PC PitStop. Thank you for your time. I hope I haven't wasted it.

Rick Burton
redbeard55Asked:
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ded9Commented:
Hi,

All the software that give your info about 500 errors is all wrong info.

No O.S is perfect. There will be some errors in your computer. Thats normal.

You need to only worry when the computer is running very slow.

I wont recommend any third party software in the computer.

Just basic steps

If you thing computer running very slow do clean boot and identify which software is slowing down the computer.

If lot of problems try creating new user account and check in the new account.

Clean boot
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310353



Ded9
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William ElliottSr Tech GuruCommented:
i've never used any clean-up utility that i had to purchase.
the software i have to keep my computer clean is
mcafee firewall, mcafee viruscan, and i run a monthly free scan for spyware from this site.
http://www.spywareguide.com/onlinescan.php

windows firewall forks sufficient if you aren't aware how to use a more complex firewall.
there isn't any one viruscan program that will detect all virus's, but i am an EPO admin for mcafee, so i use theirs.
pay attention to what you're doing and you'll not get all these 'errors' you aparently have.

when in doubt, ask.. we're here to help.

some suggestions:

start- run - msconfig - startup tab
remove anything that you don't know the name of
or post the list here and we'll tell you what to remove.

give us a problem and we'll give you a fix.. it is a lot cheaper than buying a shiny new program.

here are some basic maintenance steps to familiarize yourself with
http://vlaurie.com/computers2/Articles/basics.htm
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redbeard55Author Commented:
Hi Ded9,
Thank you for your fast response. Neither on of my computers is running slow or giving me any real trouble. My thinking on the subject was preventative maintenance. So are you saying they don't do anything and I'm wasting my money? Are they doing any harm to my system and should I remove them? My first computer was a middle of the line hp and found out it wasn't what I wanted since I had nothing to compare it to. I put this one together from scratch and spent several thousand dollars on it buying top of the line hardware for it. The last thing I want is is a serious problem with it that could of been avoided.
Thanks, Rick.
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ded9Commented:
Hi,

These programs work like deleting temp files etc but that can be achieved by the disk clean up tool from microsoft.

I think these tools are waste of money. Yep if you have a free software like ccleaner which is recommended . You can use it.

I would recommend to do scan from microsoft websites.

http://safety.live.com

complete scan will do everything. The only thing is when its downloading tools it appears to be frozen but its not.

Whenever you do a scan do it from safe mode with networking.

Do the scan once in a month.


Ded9
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William ElliottSr Tech GuruCommented:
best piece of advice is backup your data often... a crash can occur at any time due to a hardware failure.
as long as you can reinstall software and access your files you will always be able to restore your system to a usable state.
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redbeard55Author Commented:
Hi weellio and Ded9,
That sounds like a straight answer to me. I thank both of you for your help and if I run into any problems down the road I'll know where to find the answers. I do back up everything often. One of those things I learned the hard way. Learning how to use a computer and taking advantage of all the bennifits it can offer don't always come easy to an old man in his 50's. Thanks again.
Rick
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orangutangCommented:
If you're looking for a good optimizing program, my personal favorite is TuneUp Utilities (http://www.tune-up.com/) And check:
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/SupportCD/XPMyths.html
if you're wondering if they really work. It says registry cleaners don't improve performance but I don't believe that's entirely true. I don't really like RegCure because it is way over advertised and the product is only average in my opinion. PC Pitstop is slightly below average and the UniBlue product is probably average. A popular free optimizing program here is CCleaner (http://www.ccleaner.com/)
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nobusCommented:
some notes :
The errors found by those programs, often refer to "leftovers" of sites you went to, programs you installed and deleted, etc.   They are no real errors;  Real errors would produce a kind of problem.
so my advise is : if you do NOT have problems, don't install cleaners or other software.
what you can do to keep your system running normally, is doing a bit of "housekeeping" on your disk drive, by running once every 2-3 months a disk scan for errors, and when it comes back clean, a defragmentation.

Also, if you have programs installed, and do not plan on using it anymore, just uninstall it. - Every installed program will take up startup time, and disk space
This, together with a good AV like AVG free, a spybot detector, and a adaware cleaner, should keep your system running well. Links :
     adaware :      http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
     Spybot :        http://www.download.com/3000-8022-10122137.html
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/                                                               online scan for trojans
http://www.spychecker.com/program/hijackthis.html                                   download
http://www.hijackthis.de/index.php?langselect=english                                check the log
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redbeard55Author Commented:
Wow, It looks like I found a gold mine of useful information. I realy appreciate all the help. I'm running Webroot Spy Sweeper with antivirus and I run a sweep once a week. Is this sufficiant for me? Should I uninstall any or all of the optimizing programs? Uniblue Registry Booster has a registry defrag that I have been running. Is this a good thing to do? Thanks
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nobusCommented:
if you do not need a program, don't install it; all programs take a bit of startup time, and disk space.
for the AV question, my favorite is AVG free, AVAST (also free) is also very good; i have no experience with Spy sweeper.  As for the weekly scan, i do that once, and then never again, since it should protect you.
what i do run is spybot and adaware; the frequency depends on your internet use, but i do it once in a month.
i suggest you keep the programs you like , in order to run them when needed
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orangutangCommented:
You can read a review for a registry defragger here:
http://www.download.com/Auslogics-Registry-Defrag/3000-2094_4-10678033.html?tag=lst-3#prod-ed-review
However,:
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/SupportCD/OptimizeXP.html
says PageDefrag is a good idea. Plus, I've heard plenty of stories where people swear that registry defraggers work.
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OsloveCommented:
I have used Registry Genius for a number of years with no hassles, does a good job of cleaning the registry & has a few handy option programs that does help keep the PC ticking over nicely.
Also the same goes for Advanced System Optimizer again used for a few years now.

It really is a personal choice on this subject, I went down this path when I had problems, having stayed with the two programs since.
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