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  #1    
Old March 20th, 2014 (03:13 PM).
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Of course, after time our computer starts to get clogged up with junk files and the like. Something that I want to ask is, what programs/techniques (don't know the word) do you use to make sure that your computer is running at it's best? Just thought I'd make this thread to get everyone's suggestions.
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  #2    
Old March 21st, 2014 (07:34 AM).
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Programs: CCleaner; Defraggler.
Techniques(?): chkdsk /r /f, I forget which flag does what (AFAIK one makes the other redundant) so I just enter both.

CCleaner's uninstall tool is actually a nice replacement for the usual add/remove programs menu in Windows since it doesn't take an age to load. I should probably see about a memory tester at some point, but I've never had any problems... and you know, with the way the human mind works, one tends only to start looking for solutions to a problem after it occurs.
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  #3    
Old March 21st, 2014 (07:54 AM).
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CCleaner is definitely a good program to use when it comes to cleaning unnecessary files from your computer, and it literally cleans everything such as your temporary files and temporary internet files. It's also a registry cleaner as well, and I definitely recommend CCleaner if you need need to clean some things out.
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  #4    
Old March 21st, 2014 (10:13 AM). Edited March 21st, 2014 by Twiggy.
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I don't really bother with any third-party cleaning applications and defragmenters. Most of the time, the tools that come with modern versions of Windows should more than suffice, and they might even do some extra things. (For example, Windows' own defragmenter knows about application prefetching and other things that Windows uses to keep track of application launches and data usage, and optimizes the drive layout with locality of data in mind. Take an application that reads file A, then a bit of file B, then file C, and then another part of file B as part of application startup. A really smart defragmenter would know how to lay out these files together... and intentionally fragment file B to make sure that a HDD reading data files for said application won't need to seek.)

Windows can also spot-fix NTFS volumes since Windows Vista (though it's significantly improved in 8), and NTFS is itself a journaling file system. Only in rare cases should a CHKDSK be necessary for file system consistency. (Note that a journaling file system will do nothing to any data loss caused by said file write being incomplete unless VSS/Transactional NTFS is being used. (Yes, NTFS has limited copy-on-write support. Not bad for an "old" file system, eh?)) (VSS also makes it possible to create a system image of a running system while it's in use.)

Long story short: you don't need to take much care of your PC these days. As long as you're running an up-to-date antimalware solution, you should be good.

Of course, having too many apps on startup can slow a PC down during boot - for that, I use Sysinternals' Autoruns. (Windows 8's own Task Manager also works.) (Also note that Sysinternals is technically under Microsoft.)
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  #5    
Old March 21st, 2014 (10:42 AM).
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+1 for CCleaner, it's a great application. I do have to do a defrag sometime soon though, but I try keeping it cleaned up so I don't encounter issues. I should look at tidying up my startup though.
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  #6    
Old March 21st, 2014 (03:17 PM).
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I thought I'd post my suggestion. There are 3 programs that I use for cleanup: CCleaner, Auslogics free disk defrag and Glary Utilities. CCleaner does it's job excellently; cleans a lot of the files like error logs and other things. I also use it's registry cleaner and never had any problems with it. The Disk defragger I use is quite fast, and I can also optimize the disk as well. Finally, Glary Utilities cleans out a lot more stuff, and also has a registry cleaner/defrag, and much much more.
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  #7    
Old March 21st, 2014 (11:24 PM).
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You can get through with the windows software. But other then that a trick I know to do is remove a lot of the temporary files which heaps of the downloadable software does anyway.

Windows + R > type in prefetch and hit enter.
Delete everything from that folder, ignore anything you can't.
Windows + R > type in %temp% and hit enter.
Delete everything from that folder.

Sometimes I'm deleting gigabytes of junk, but that's because I work with a lot software.
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  #8    
Old March 22nd, 2014 (12:33 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Brane:
You can get through with the windows software. But other then that a trick I know to do is remove a lot of the temporary files which heaps of the downloadable software does anyway.

Windows + R > type in prefetch and hit enter.
Delete everything from that folder, ignore anything you can't.
Windows + R > type in %temp% and hit enter.
Delete everything from that folder.

Sometimes I'm deleting gigabytes of junk, but that's because I work with a lot software.
DO NOT DELETE THE CONTENTS OF THE PREFETCH FOLDER.

You're just throwing out Windows' own effort at optimizing system startup and application launch times.

Windows will optimize the last 128 applications used, anyway. As you use the PC, less frequently used applications' prefetch data make way to more frequently used applications. There's no need to micromanage things here. Deleting the contents of the Prefetch folder will only slow down your system as Windows tries to recreate all Prefetch data. The Prefetch data is there for a reason - the OS can make smarter decisions about loading things so you don't have to wait as long.

If you want to delete temporary files, it's OK to do so, but usually you shouldn't need to manually delete temporary files. Just use Disk Cleanup.
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  #9    
Old March 22nd, 2014 (03:35 AM).
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That's strange, I've never really had any performance decrease by doing that. It is something I do very irregularly but I've never actually noticed any adverse effects to emptying that folder out. But that may just be me because I only actively use 3-5 different applications on a regular basis. But I guess that's good to know.

I've heard that you should stay away from using the default cleanup tools on an OS that is installed on an SSD? But I think that might just be related to Defragmenting?
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  #10    
Old March 22nd, 2014 (03:52 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Brane:
That's strange, I've never really had any performance decrease by doing that. It is something I do very irregularly but I've never actually noticed any adverse effects to emptying that folder out. But that may just be me because I only actively use 3-5 different applications on a regular basis. But I guess that's good to know.
If you rarely reboot your computer, it won't have too much of an effect. Same if you keep using the same few programs in the same session. Things are affected mostly on first launch.

Quote originally posted by Brane:
I've heard that you should stay away from using the default cleanup tools on an OS that is installed on an SSD? But I think that might just be related to Defragmenting?
You can use OS's own tools even if you have it installed on an SSD, as long as the OS is SSD-aware. (Windows 7 or newer for Windows.) Disk Cleanup still does its job on an SSD - cleaning up unnecessary files to free up disk space.

Disk Defragmenter? On Windows 7, it'll be disabled for SSDs, and scheduled defragmentation won't touch any SSDs. On Windows 8, if the SSD provides provisions for doing so, it might perform its own on-demand optimization that's not defragmentation. (There's a good reason why Disk Defragmenter is renamed to Drive Optimizer in Windows 8 - it can deal with more than standard HDDs.) (Keep in mind that this is all on top of TRIM being enabled by default in Windows 7 and newer.)

(Also, if you're using a single-unit hybrid drive and is also using Windows 8.1 or newer, Windows should be able to provide caching hints to the drive itself.)
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  #11    
Old March 22nd, 2014 (04:10 AM).
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Yeah that'd probably be why then, considering my desktop is already built for high-end uses, I probably just never notice the difference anyway.

I'm running Windows 7, but I've never really attempted it or found a time where I was noticing decrease in performance or drive speed etc to bother. I had just heard that it wasn't something you should do on an SSD, but I guess I was wrong.

Aside from disk cleanups, the only other thing I do to increase performance is turn off certain appearance settings (such as animations, window shadows etc).
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  #12    
Old March 22nd, 2014 (05:31 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Brane:
Aside from disk cleanups, the only other thing I do to increase performance is turn off certain appearance settings (such as animations, window shadows etc).
Most visual effects are offloaded to the GPU on modern PCs on modern versions of Windows (an overwhelming majority of PCs in use today have GPUs that are capable of DirectX 9.0a or above and have at least 64 MB of total video RAM, and Windows Vista or newer will offload graphical eye candy to the GPU.)

Turning off visual effects on a modern PC can be best described as "false economy". (As Raymond Chen of The Old New Thing put it best, "Adjust for best performance" should really be called "Adjust for crappiest appearance".) (Exception: when drivers go very wrong.)
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