WARNING, there are many articles on the web that will tell you how to clean up your pc. Many offer free cleaners for malware, spyware, bloatware, and junk files that are helpful and safe, but some will just recommend more software that is full of adware, viruses, & malicious software. Some will install and do absolutely nothing until activated with cash or until you agree to install some other unwanted junk. So watch out for SCAM-WARE, investigate the freeware, and the paid for PC Cleaner Apps!
Word of caution, after investigating and before installing any software you might consider doing a registry backup and a system backup ti be safe, just in case you run into any problems. Understand that the programs you use are done at your own risk. Otherwise here is a list of programs that I found helpful in cleaning up my computer.
VirusTotal is a free ONLINE service, (owned by Google), that scans and analyzes suspicious files and URLs with multiple antivirus programs, it renders quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware. Tens of thousands of users in Norton’s community have used this program and rate it as safe.
Malwarebytes is a well known free anti-malware software uses advanced technology to scan, detect, and remove worms, trojans, spyware, rootkits, dialers, rogues, and other junkware.
CCleaner is a free junk cleaner software utility that helps you to keep your PC system clean and optimized. CCleaner provides useful tools for flushing out your temporary files, cleaning up the PC registry, and removing unused cookies from your browser. This handy little program will clear out junk that the windows system cleaner does not find. Proceed with caution, the registry cleaner will give you the option to do a registry backup prior to scanning, this is highly advisable! You should also save it to a location where you can easily access it should you run into difficulties. You could save the file as “registry-backup” directly on your “C” drive for easily locating, (just a suggestion).
Autoruns is a startup configuration utility that will scan your system for programs that are run and loaded during your PC’s system bootup cycle process. It gives you options as to what programs you might not wish to include during your computers startup cycle. This can be helpful in speeding up your laptop or pc by avoiding autoloading programs such as Reader. Many of these boot up programs take up start up time and system resources to run. Proceed with caution, after the first initial scan, click on options from the menu bar and then click on hide Microsoft entries, then rescan. One recommendation would be to only change or otherwise remove start up function options one at a time, just to be safe. In this manner you can test to be sure you have made safe adjustments.
Once you have completed using Autoruns for your computers start up procedure, you might consider running the registry cleaner aspect one more time just to back up your registry again with your safe and preferred boot time configuration
Spybot Search & Destroy, install and run only after you have done any registry cleaning with CCleaner and/or computer startup program choices with Autoruns, as Spybot will protect your system from registry changes which CCleaner registry cleaner and Autoruns will do.
I will address antivirus programs, both free and paid for in another article. Until then, hope your computing is safe!