First things first after purchase of a Windows computer :
PC Decrapifier :
Buy a Windows PC and remove all the useless crap that is installed with it. This tool slims down a PC from the software that is typically installed to promote third parties. At installation, this tool will ask if you use it on a PC-out-of-the-box or not. It will also propose (and help you) to make a system recovery point. Than you can select the craplets that you want to remove. Simple and easy.
Similar software, that scans not only for software but also for toolbars and cluttering links on the desktop. When set in aggressive modus, it allows to remove a whole bunch of software (as you choose) to lighten-up your computer. In novice mode, trust it’s judgment, based on reviews of other users. It includes a tool to recover a previous cleaning-action.
This piece of software also includes a startup manager and 15 (links to) the most important Windows tools.
Once you have your computer up and running :
This is (since many years) your best, lightest on resources and most trustworthy maid for a daily cleaning. There are many simple ways to set ‘er up. Work with her in confidence ‘cos she does a really handy job. But observe during installation not to include the Yahoo toolbar or any other additional crap (oops, sorry). Crap Cleaner is verrrrry often updated. It cleans leftovers but also is able to clean up your registry and even more. Try ‘er out. (Read also about System Ninja CC Enhancer).
Community Powered PC maintenance. It’s major function is similar to Crap Cleaner. In fact they are additional. But it does more,... it also Optimizes your computer, helps you how and what program to uninstall. It also gives direct access to your PC’s most important functions and it does a hijack check. So, while I use Crap Cleaner on a daily basis,... I use Slimcleaner once a week.
System Ninja (included Crap Cleaner Enhancer)
System Ninja (Junk Cleaner): The best additional piece of software is System Ninja, that does a different cleaning job. it does not clean as much as Crap Cleaner, but it uses a technique where it searches for specific junk files in your entire disk, not only removes junk files in specific folders, like Crap Cleaner does. It also contains a Startup manager and a Process manager.
CC Enhancer : Find under the header “More Tools” this Crap Cleaner plug. It ads additional locations to clean in the Crap Cleaner engine.
Tweak Now :
These freeware developers offer a Powerpack to tweak Windows, a complete system information overview tool, a registry cleaner, a registry defragmenter, a startup-manager, a disk usage analyzer, a track cleaner, a Windows secrets explorer and a Secure Delete tool. Tweak Now is around since,.. well,.. forever. It is a good additional or second tool alongside Crap Cleaner. I use is once a week, while I use crap Cleaner every day. To check all the possibilities, you’ll need an hour, but everything is kept simple to understand. Discover also in their “Miscellaneous Tools” a RAM optimizer, auto shutdown, process manager and even a virtual desktop that offers multiple desktop screens.
Finally again a good software update utility that checks what software can be upgraded. A must have. Always check if the update is relevant because your computer could be updating for the rest of the day ;-)
Malware Bytes Anti Malware:
This is today supposed to be one of the best free malware scanner. It comes in a free version that cannot realtime protect but for a free tool,... who complaints. It does the job in minutes and gives little false positives
Another tool from Malware Bytes: RegASSASSIN (Advanced users)
A (carefully to use) portable application that allows you to remove registry keys placd by malware by resetting the keys permissions and then deleting it. Please use with caution as deleting critical registry keys may cause system errors.(Quote)
Another tool from Malware Bytes: FileASSASSIN (Advanced users)
An (carefully to use) application that can delete any type of locked files that are on your computer. Whether the files are from a malware infection or just a particular file that will not delete - FileASSASSIN can remove it. (Quote)
Lavasoft Ad Aware:
One of the ancient giants of malware removal tools. Still a “Must have” in your struggle to keep a clean system. They also have payware versions with additional tools but their basic version is still free.
Spybot Search & Destroy:
Sorry, I no longer use it. I believe that it had it’s time and should now be remembered as the first really good malware scanner and remover. I realize that it has been several years since I last used it.
This is one promising piece of technology. While tested in it’s early years, I was not impressed about the stability. Today it is one of the leading spyware detectors and removers. If you like, give it a try because it offers more potential than most of it’s competitors. As it monitors the registry, I would not install this along with Spybot’s Teatimer or Win Patrol’s Scotty the watchdog. They simply DO NOT work together well.
Hitman Pro (Scanner free, removal 30 days trial):
Hitman Pro 3+ is a behavioral scanner that partially works in the cloud. If ever you need a second opinion, this is the free tool to use. When something is detected, they offer a 30 days free license to remove malwares, trojans, virusses and rootkits. In fact, the Dutch guy who build the original Hitman now works in the company named Surfright, and gave the name Hitman Pro to a totally new tool that has nothing to do with the original Hitman Pro versions 1 and 2. I’ve learned to trust the builder of Hitman to build a fair and solid product.
Microsoft Windows Defender :
Of course, this was originally not build by Microsoft. Bill Gates buys a brilliant piece of software and than renames it (like he did composing his first DOS version). So, Windows Defender is a fairly good piece of software. In fact,... it’s a Must Have! when you use an official Windows copy. It will not work on an illegal version of Windows. One of many good reasons to use a genuine version of Windows - or else buy a Mac.
Not the best Spyware killer, but good for a second opinion. During installation, choose not to install the additional CLAM antivirus module. Use only the spyware scanner / remover.
- One of the ancient spyware killers that I still cherish.
It does a good job as an additional scanner.
- Hijack free : Emsisoft also offers a free tool to help (for personal use) system admins to remove hijackers, malware, spyware, adware, trojans and worms. (Advanced users)
Soluto, the anti-frustration boot-up software.
Soluto, the anti-frustration boot-up software.
OK, this brilliant piece of software delays your startup with an extra 2 seconds,... but what you get in return is awesome. It analyses the apps and services that slow down the boot-up of your Windows computer. You choose to accept, stop or else delay the start-up of an application or service. Soluto gives the information you need to make the best choice. The boot-up of a professionally used 2 years old laptop running Windows Vista, dual core T3200 and 4 Gigs of DDR2 Ram, is reduced to 1:09 without closing down any security apps. Can you dig that? One lousy minute! I’d have to open my Mac to do better.
Find and remove Rootkits: (Advanced users)
Not only scans for (an removes) tracking cookies in multiple browsers.
It also removes the Flash cookies (aka Local Shared Opjects - LSO), that are often forgotten when you use the command to remove cookies in your browser.
Mozilla Firefox users can install an add-on named BetterPrivacy, that avoids the LSO Super Cookies to infiltrate the system.
Does exactly what it says, and nothing more, nothing less.
If ever you get a message: “Cannot delete : Being used by another program.” or “Access denied”, “Sharing Violation”, “Write protect”... or a similar message. Download unlocker. It installs an extra right button tool to unlock the program or file.
Iobit advance system care:
A complete tool to clean your registry, protect, clean and optimize your computer. It cleans up the computer like Crap Cleaner does, has a performant/rapid Disk Defragmenter, It does a safe job though their spy- and adware cleaner is not the most performant. A good tool to have.
Partition Wizzard - Home Edition:
A free partition manager that does it all without any angles or hick-ups. A must have tool if you need to partition, recover a lost partition, format a partition,...
Windows Sysinternals suite:
(Quote Technet) The Sysinternals Troubleshooting Utilities have been rolled up into a single Suite of tools. This file contains the individual troubleshooting tools and help files.
Trend Micro Hijack This
- An old tool, but a great tool to remove spyware.
It’s specialized in helping remove spyware by hand.
Would you like to poke around Windows configuration?
Once you have some expertise, feel free to poke around your Windows configuration & services. (Advanced users)
You can reach tools through your Run Box (start > run):
The Windows Taskmanager
Accessible through ctrl-alt-del. You can see your system performances, give more or less priority to a process, stop a process, check network activity, cpu-usage and more.
Rogue Software information:
Rogue software is a piece of sh.. (oops) soft that does not do what is says it will. Sometimes harmless, but mostly dangerous system altering junk. Don’t be fooled. So before installing new software, always check if it is not know as rogue software in one of the following trustworthy lists :
- Lavasoft Rogue Gallery
How to recognize rogueware?
Rogueware has many faces. They try to persuade you to buy their product by presenting themselves as trustworthy software, by manipulation or more straightforward by blackmailing you after you installed a test version.
A good article with visual content how to recognize rogueware can be found on The Spyware analytics forum:
- Tools to find rogueware (advanced users)
More tools by experts :
Repair Windows (advanced users) :
WinFix (by Windows Club) : Once you have detected a problem, this Windows Vista & Windows 7 tool can fix i. It does not detect the problem. As long as Windows runs smooth, you do not need this tool. Once Windows is corrupt,... you’ll be glad to have this tool. It can restore the recycle bin icon on your desktop, fix folder view settings, repair game explorer, enable folder options, fix show hidden files, restore the Windows sidebar, restart explore.exe at boot, restore the recognition of the dvd drive, restore the function of thumbnails in Windows Explorer.
AVG rescue disk : A free downloadable toolkit that runs on Linux and not only contains AVG’s anti-virus but also a two panel file manager (remember Norton Commander?), a Windows registry editor, a hard drive recovery tool, a network recovery tool and several linux tools. If you have several computers, you can always download & burn the latest version once you need it.
Update drivers in Windows :
The easy way is DeviceDoctor.com that scans for old drivers and links to the latest drivers. Piece of cake. Install with care.
Find more websites with drivers on the “Download More” page.
Recover deleted files :
Recuva (Piriform) : Recover all accidentally deleted files from the HD, flash disk, MP3 player,....
Permanently delete Facebook :
Facebook only allows you to deactivate your account. However, one facebook member claims that it is possible. Check out the Facebook account at your own jugement.