April 7, 2006
Most tune-up programs are overratted. As a network admin, I generally rely on just a few things. In the past I swore by Norton Utilities. Over the years however it has become a bloated cow known as Norton SystemWorks. About the only part of that I use anymore is the Windoctor...essentially a registry cleaner/tuner. You should have and use the following things:
1) A good, reliable anti-virus program.
2) An anti-spyware program. Currently, Microsoft Defender is in beta, but it's free. Most of the "free" anti-spyware programs on the web are thinly disquised spyware promoters. They block several things, but allow 10 times more. Be careful.
3) Regular defragmentation. Also overrated at times, it doesn't "cure" anything, but it's necessary once a month or so to keep files contiguous.
4) Keep your Windows Updates up-to-date. As much as I hate it, it's still a necessary evil.
5) Find a good, well known registry cleaner. Look at lots of reviews from reputable sites.
6) I've always avoided special uninstaller or clean-sweep type utilities...never seen any good come from those.
7) Get a good video card and lots of ram. There is no substitute for raw video power and ram, especially ram (memory).
Use MSCONFIG (Start > Run > msconfig) to manage your startup items. There's a lot of junk loading that doesn't need to be. By the same token, be careful. If you aren't sure what it is, doen't turn it off until you Google it.
That's a good start anyway.