Beware Of PC “Tune-Up” Software

There are numerous PC “tune-up” software on the market that claim to improve your computer’s performance, help tighten its security, and keep your installed software up-to-date.  Are they effective?  In short, no.  At best, these tools are a gateway to expensive on-line consulting/repair services; at worst, these tools seem to be a lesser version of the “scare-ware” virus attacks that are currently so prevalent.

Tools like Corel’s WinZip System Utilities Suite, Norton’s PC Checkup, AVG’s PC-TuneUp, and Iolo’s System Mechanic Pro typically catalog hundreds of system errors and security/privacy violations.  These “errors” are usually innocuous registry entries or web browsing cookies.  Hardware drivers are often incorrectly reported as out-of-date, which can lead to serious problems if replaced by the wrong version.  In addition, these tools often list individual temporary files as potential issues, even though there are hundreds of these files created during the normal operation of any computer.  Norton and Iolo also use these software as a way to engage customers in expensive (and dubiously effective) on-line repairs.

Experienced users have a suite of effective, free tools such as Piriform’s CCleaner, Secunia’s PSI, and MalwareBytes Anti-Malware to keep their computers tidy, up-to-date and malware free.  Users who are not comfortable running tools such as these should consult with a technician on a regular basis for a system tune-up (but should try the above software first — they really are quite easy to use!).

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