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Habits. We all have them. But are they good or bad?

Do you have the habit of NOT saving your files in multiple places or cleaning out all the old stuff? What about those update reminders, do you have the habit of ignoring them?

Good habits can sound like common sense, but when it comes down to actually doing them, we opt not to. Most of the time it isn’t because we don’t care, but rather we think it’s too much work or maybe we don’t understand the importance of the task.

I’ve laid out the essential habits you need for having the best Windows experience possible. And with Windows 10 coming out soon When Does Windows 10 Come Out, How Can You Get It & What Happens to the Technical Preview? When Does Windows 10 Come Out, How Can You Get It & What Happens to the Technical Preview? Windows 10 is coming soon. Still confused about how the upgrade will work and wondering about the timeline? We have some answers, although more questions remain. Read More , this would be a great time to create new ones and brush up on things you may have become a little lax in.

Update, Update, Update

Windows Update

First and foremost, let’s get the most basic of habits out of the way. We’re all guilty of not updating. Whether it’s Windows updates, driver updates, or software updates, they can seem like a nuisance–”I have to update again? But I just did that the other day!”

1.1 check for updates

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You might face a few different scenarios. One is that you are completely oblivious to the need to update 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates The code that makes up the Windows operating system contains security loop holes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements. In short, Windows isn't perfect, we all know that. Security patches and updates fix the vulnerabilities... Read More or how to update. Another is that you are unaware that updates are present and need your assistance to be completed. And lastly, you are apathetic and don’t care since your computer has been working “just fine” so far without them.

This last scenario can often be triggered by a failed update When Windows Update Fails, This Is How You Fix It When Windows Update Fails, This Is How You Fix It Did a Windows Update crash your system? Here's a quick list of troubleshooting steps that will help you restore Windows to a functional state. Read More that you have been unable to successfully troubleshoot. This is perhaps the most frustrating one because you want to solve the issue, but can’t. There are, however, many things you can do to make Windows Update less annoying Fix Windows Update & Make It Less Annoying Without Compromising Security Fix Windows Update & Make It Less Annoying Without Compromising Security Windows Update can be a nuisance. Here is how you can protect yourself from its annoyances without compromising security. Read More .

We aren’t going to get super in depth here because we’ve covered much of this already (see our article on everything you need to know about Windows Update Windows Update: Everything You Need to Know Windows Update: Everything You Need to Know Is Windows Update enabled on your PC? Windows Update protects you from security vulnerabilities by keeping Windows, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Office up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes. Read More ). If you aren’t sure how your computer is updating, just search “Windows Update”, launch it and see if there are any new important or optional updates. If you aren’t certain whether you should ever install an update, do a quick search online to see if there are any repercussions by installing that update.

1.2 search windows update

Note that in Windows 10, you won’t have much control over Windows Update and updates won’t be optional Windows 10 Upgrade - Free Doesn't Mean It Won't Cost Anything Windows 10 Upgrade - Free Doesn't Mean It Won't Cost Anything There's a catch to the free Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft understands its audience all too well; they are more likely to pay for the freedom of control, rather than for extra features. Read More . On the bright side, this means your system will always be up to date Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Updates will change in Windows 10. Right now you can pick and choose. Windows 10, however, will force updates onto you. It has advantages, like improved security, but it can also go wrong. What's more... Read More .

Driver Update

Updating drivers isn’t an every day task, but it is something you should be in tune with. We’ve published a recent guide on finding and replacing outdated Windows drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? First, don't fix it if it ain't broke! If drivers do need updating, though, here are your options. Read More . It goes into how to use the tools on your computer and third-party software to ensure you have the most up-to-date drivers.

devicemanager2

Software Update

Software updates, specifically third-party software, is another big one that often goes unnoticed. Some software will automatically prompt you or at least have a function for you to check for new updates, though you still have to be mindful and attentive to updating them. Other software leaves it in your hands to search online for a recent update. It can be cumbersome updating so many programs manually though.

1.3 evernote - check for updates

One great option is Ninite.com. It is mostly viewed as a bulk software installation How To Install & Uninstall Windows Programs In Bulk How To Install & Uninstall Windows Programs In Bulk A mass installer or uninstaller can save you heaps of time. Remember the last time you set up a new computer? We are going to teach you how to do these tasks in a flash. Read More website, but can just as easily be used to update your currently installed software. Just check the boxes of the programs you know you have and run the installer. If any of those programs are out of date, the newest software version will overwrite the current one.

2015-06-23 15_18_20-Ninite

The method I most often use is FileHippo.com’s App Manager, which scans your computer for any outdated software. FileHippo has a vast database of free and commercial third-party software and should cover most of the programs you have installed.

1.5 filehippo update results

Setting reminders to check for updates using a conditional tool like IFTTT How To Make Sure You Never Forget A Task Ever Again How To Make Sure You Never Forget A Task Ever Again You're an organised person. You always add upcoming events to your calendar, and you have a decent labelling system in Gmail. But you need some automation to get them into your to-do list. Read More , a note app like Google Keep Google Keep For Chrome: Your In-Browser Solution To Quick Note-Taking Google Keep For Chrome: Your In-Browser Solution To Quick Note-Taking What are you expecting from Google Keep? Google Keep excels at being an exceptionally useful notepad that allows you to quickly add notes. Read More , the Windows Task Scheduler 4 Boring Tasks You Can Automate With the Windows Task Scheduler 4 Boring Tasks You Can Automate With the Windows Task Scheduler Your time is too valuable to be wasted with repetitive tasks. Let us show you how to automate and schedule tasks. We have a few great examples, too. Read More , or a task management app can help as well. Lastly, Secunia PSI is another free solution that we have recommended in the past.

Set Up Automatic Backups

We always hear about backing up. But has it become so constant that we ignore it? Ask yourself: “If my computer, phone, tablet and any other devices all were destroyed at once, would I still have everything?” Is it stored on external hard drives and in the cloud? Do you have multiple backups or just one backup of everything?

I ask these questions as someone who is guilty of not consistently backing up or putting it off for later. It can be easy to think you’re the exception, but when was the last time all your important files, videos, pictures, and other information was securely stored away?

The key to ensuring this happens regularly is setting up automatic backups, both to the cloud and to an external hard drive. With each new operating system, Windows has made strides in making backing up easier and quicker with features like automatic File History in Windows 8 Did You Know Windows 8 Has a Built-In Time Machine Backup? Did You Know Windows 8 Has a Built-In Time Machine Backup? We sometimes forget with all the focus on Windows 8's new "Modern" interface, but Windows 8 has a variety of great desktop improvements. One of them is File History, a built-in backup feature that functions... Read More , comparable to Apple’s Time Machine.

2.1 file history

In addition, OneDrive is a great tool How To Best Use Your 15GB Of Free OneDrive Storage How To Best Use Your 15GB Of Free OneDrive Storage OneDrive gives you a healthy dose of cloud storage for free. Let's take a look at what you can do with that. Read More and we’ve covered some ways you can customize and improve it in Windows 8.1 5 Smart Ways to Customize & Improve OneDrive in Windows 8.1 5 Smart Ways to Customize & Improve OneDrive in Windows 8.1 OneDrive can be a blessing or a curse. It's deeply integrated into Windows 8.1. You'll either want to get the most of it or disable it completely. We can help with both. Read More . You don’t need third-party software to back up your files as there are many free file sync and backup tricks available in Windows itself 4 Free File Sync & Backup Tricks Available In Windows 4 Free File Sync & Backup Tricks Available In Windows You've heard it a million times: backing up your files is important. Using cloud storage services like Dropbox or OneDrive, you can make a backup for free, without needing to purchase new hardware. Read More . However, if you do want want to use non-Microsoft tools, check out some of the free and paid programs we recommend in our guide for the 6 safest ways to backup and restore your files in Windows 7 and 8 6 Safest Ways to Backup & Restore Your Files in Windows 7 & 8 6 Safest Ways to Backup & Restore Your Files in Windows 7 & 8 By now, we're sure you've read the advice over and over: Everyone needs to back up their files. But deciding to back up your files is only part of the process. There are so many... Read More .

Watch What You Download

2.2 download ads

This isn’t a Windows-only tip. This applies no matter what operating system you use. Paid software doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good software on today’s Internet. And just because someone recommends a free program, doesn’t mean it’s clear of bloatware–we’ll get to that in a bit. Always be sure to do your own research on programs How To Do Your Research Before You Download Free Software How To Do Your Research Before You Download Free Software Before downloading a free program, you should be sure it's trustworthy. Determining whether a download is safe is a basic skill, but one everyone needs -- particularly on Windows. Use these tips to ensure you... Read More before downloading them.

Getting software from a trustworthy source is crucial. MakeUseOf has a large inventory of tested software we recommend The Best Windows Software The Best Windows Software Windows is swimming in a sea of free applications. Which ones can you trust and which ones are the best? If you're unsure or need to solve a specific task, consult this list. Read More . Other good places to download from are the aforementioned FileHippo.com and Ninite.com.

In addition, always be skeptical of email attachments How To Spot A Dangerous Email Attachment How To Spot A Dangerous Email Attachment Emails can be dangerous. Reading the contents of an email should be safe if you have the latest security patches, but email attachments can be harmful. Look for the common warning signs. Read More , ads, pop-ups, and other potentially harmful sources of malicious files Let's Put A Stop To Pop-Up Browser Ads Once And For All! Let's Put A Stop To Pop-Up Browser Ads Once And For All! Pop-ups can catch you off guard, and if you're not careful they can create problems. Learn how to avoid them and how to handle them if they do come up. Read More .

Pay Attention When Installing Software

Similar to watching what you download, it’s important not to continuously click Next while installing a program without regard to what you’re clicking “Next” to. By clicking Next, you are agreeing and saying “yes” to whatever is in that window. This is how you end up with random programs, browser toolbars, and other junk on your computer that you have no idea what it is or how it got there.

I’ve shared this practice in countless articles because it still is such a prevalent bad habit. For more information, please refer to the simple checklist to safely installing free software A Simple Checklist To Safely Installing Free Software Without All The Junk A Simple Checklist To Safely Installing Free Software Without All The Junk Picture this - you've just found this awesome free software that you are stoked about because of all that it can do for you, but when you install it, you discover that it is packed... Read More .

3.1 installing java

You may not have installed some of this junk software yourself though, and that is what we call bloatware. It gets packaged with your new computer and can be confusing whether you need it or not. You don’t. Refer to our guide on removing bloatware from your new computer How To Remove Bloatware & Avoid It On New Laptops How To Remove Bloatware & Avoid It On New Laptops Tired of software you never wanted consuming your laptop's resources? Your computer isn't free ad space. Here's how to get rid of bloatware. Read More . A great takeaway from that article is to “read the sales pitch” and spend a bit more money.

For uninstalling software we highly recommend the free third-party tools, GeekUninstaller (our GeekUninstaller review) GeekUninstaller Will Uninstall Programs You Thought You Couldn't [Windows] GeekUninstaller Will Uninstall Programs You Thought You Couldn't [Windows] When it comes to third-party uninstallation software, everyone knows of Revo. It's often considered to be the top of that class. However, many alternatives exists and it's great to offer the MUO audience a choice.... Read More  and Should I Remove It? (our Should I Remove It? review Know What Software To Uninstall With Should I Remove It? Know What Software To Uninstall With Should I Remove It? Here at MakeUseOf, we've put out many articles reviewing and highlighting software that allows you to completely and cleanly uninstall applications from your system. One issue many of you run into is not knowing which... Read More ).

Set Restore Points

4.1 system restore

Restore points are essential for any time you install new updates, programs, or make system changes to your computer. Should something go wrong, being able to revert back to the last known working state is extremely useful. And the sooner that restore point has been made, the better.

We have published a thorough guide on everything you need to know about restore points What You Need To Know About Windows System Restore What You Need To Know About Windows System Restore Imagine the trouble you could find yourself in, if your system failed! The Windows System Restore feature could save your butt. This article explains how to create and use Windows restore points. Read More –what they are, how to make them, and why you should use them. For those of you using Windows 8, it’s not a bad idea to know the difference between a system refresh, reset and restore Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows? Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows? Ever wanted to reset Windows 7 without losing personal data? Between a factory reset and a reinstall, it was tough. Since Windows 8, we have two new options: Refresh and Reset. Which one is right... Read More .

Use a Non-Admin User Account for Daily Tasks

5.1 user accounts

This is something I have been guilty of not doing. As a “tech guy”, I want the most control over my system and perhaps you feel the same way. But using your main account with elevated administrative privileges can result in significant damage should your system’s security become compromised.

This security measure is even relevant with the new Microsoft accounts 5 Security Tips To Consider When Using a Microsoft Account 5 Security Tips To Consider When Using a Microsoft Account You can't use much of the new Windows 8 user interface without a Microsoft account. The account you for logging into into your computer is now an online account. This raises security concerns. Read More . It’s better to be safe than sorry. Create a second user account Fix Windows Issues by Creating a New User Account Fix Windows Issues by Creating a New User Account Have you been troubleshooting a Windows issue to no avail? Creating a new user account could be your last resort. It's tricky, but we'll show you how to do it right. Read More with admin privileges and reduce your primary account to a standard account. Now you can have the best of both worlds, with better Windows security Five Tips For Managing Your Security In Windows 8.1 Five Tips For Managing Your Security In Windows 8.1 Read More without giving up control.

Dump Unnecessary Maintenance Tools

Registry Cleaners

6.1 registry cleaner

I feel like we are finally starting to overcome the way of thinking that we need to clean the Registry and defrag hard drives. We’re our own enemy in this one as many of us who first recommended tools for registry cleaning have now been saying for years that they aren’t as good as we originally thought Using Registry Cleaner: Does Is It Really Make a Difference? Using Registry Cleaner: Does Is It Really Make a Difference? Advertisements for registry cleaners are all over the Web. There’s an entire industry out there bent on convincing inexperienced computer users that their registry needs fixing, and that, for ten easy payments of $29.95, their... Read More . So please stop buying into their hype Don't Believe The Hype: Registry Cleaners Don't Make Windows Faster Don't Believe The Hype: Registry Cleaners Don't Make Windows Faster Much advice has been given on how to keep your computer running smoothly, as well as how to fix it when it has become slow. We have even published a Windows on Speed guide, written... Read More and refrain from using them altogether–they’re a myth.

I recommend researching what the Registry really is What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] The Windows registry can be scary at first glance. It’s a place where power users can change a wide variety of settings that aren’t exposed elsewhere. If you’re searching for how to change something in... Read More , which is a scary place. I think after you discover that, you’ll be a bit more hesitant to just let any program access your computer’s brain.

6.2 disk defrag

Disk Defragmenters

You don’t need third-party disk defragmenters either, especially if you’re running Windows 7 or higher. The default disk defrag tool works just fine. Also, all Windows operating systems from 7 on up defragment automatically, so you shouldn’t even worry.

If you do happen to notice that fragmentation is exceeding 10%, you can run a manual scan. Defragging too often 7 Common Computer Mistakes You Can Avoid 7 Common Computer Mistakes You Can Avoid Nobody is perfect. Despite all the advice available online, many of us make silly mistakes. Don't want to be caught acting like a computer noob? Consult this list of usual slip-ups to avoid. Read More , however, definitely falls into one of the many ways we can overzealously clean our computers 5 Ways Overzealous Cleaning Can Break Windows 5 Ways Overzealous Cleaning Can Break Windows It's easy to go overboard with cleaning your PC. When you're cleaning your PC, be sure you know what you're getting into -- it's easy to break something. Read More , ultimately breaking them.

Note that solid state drives (SSDs) should not be defragged Top Tools for Managing and Maintaining Your SSD Top Tools for Managing and Maintaining Your SSD Did your SSD start out Usain Bolt fast, but now limps along? You can whip your drive back into shape using a handful of toolkits and optimization software, but caveat emptor: Some SSD optimization software... Read More !

Clean Up Old, Irrelevant, and Temp Files

7.1 ccleaner

What does help keep your computer running smoothly Use This PC Cleaner Software To Keep Windows Running Smoothly Use This PC Cleaner Software To Keep Windows Running Smoothly Overzealous PC cleaning can break things, but some cleaning will help you free up space and keep your system running quickly. Read More is removing old, useless files. These can be duplicates, temporary, or just files you no longer need. Using a program like CCleaner (our CCleaner review The Best Windows Cleaning Tool Gets A Disk Analyzer The Best Windows Cleaning Tool Gets A Disk Analyzer You can now clean crap more efficiently with CCleaner v5. The new disk analyzer feature reveals what files are hogging space. See how it complements CCleaner's proven junk removing tools. Read More ) to scan for these can be useful. In addition, finding what on your hard drive is taking up the most space, 6 Ways to Free Up Space on Your Windows Computer 6 Ways to Free Up Space on Your Windows Computer Clutter can be a big downer on productivity. Over time, files get lost, programs go unused, and suddenly, your once spacious hard drive is packed with useless things and you have to clean it up.... Read More  so that you can slim down those areas, can be done with a tool called WinDirStat (our WinDirStat review Need A Disk Cleanup? Visualize What Takes Up Space On Your Windows PC Need A Disk Cleanup? Visualize What Takes Up Space On Your Windows PC Oh the pressure when you run out of disk space. What to delete? The fastest way to locate junk files is to use a tool that helps you visualize your system's file structure. Read More ).

7.2 winderstat

This may seem overwhelming, but many of the things you can do to clean up your hard drive can take 10 minutes or less Go Clean Your Hard Drive: 5 Things You Can Do in 10 Minutes or Less Go Clean Your Hard Drive: 5 Things You Can Do in 10 Minutes or Less Cleaning your hard drive is about as much fun as it sounds, but what if you could make a real difference in as little as ten minutes? Read More .

SIDE NOTE: Clearing temporary files, such as cookies, too often can have adverse effects, since your computer utilizes those to speed up processes. But in general, if you’re noticing your computer being sluggish How To Really Speed Up Your Computer - Common Myths & What To Do Instead How To Really Speed Up Your Computer - Common Myths & What To Do Instead Suffering from a slow computer? You might not know why and maybe you're trying to fix it in all the wrong ways. Let us help you with tips for a real speed boost. Read More , check out how much space is left on your hard drive–you may need to do some weeding and reorganizing of files.

Start Managing Your Files Better

8.1 organized folders

Speaking of reorganizing files, start managing your files better! Stop spending time looking around for where you stowed away that document or picture.

8.2 messy desktop

Clean up your desktop How To Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once & For All How To Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once & For All Your desktop is a mess. Admit it. Just like a desk with papers all over, a messy computer desktop is far from productive. Plus, it just doesn’t look nice. If you’re having issues finding the... Read More , create a file management system Creating Order From Chaos: 9 Great Ideas For Managing Your Computer Files Creating Order From Chaos: 9 Great Ideas For Managing Your Computer Files It's frustrating isn’t it when you can’t find that file? When you’ve searched every folder imaginable on your computer, and somehow it got lost….or worse, deleted. Now, there are excellent search tools for Windows that... Read More , and start enjoying the perks of using a computer. After all, a computer is supposed to help you do things faster, but you can’t do that if you don’t know where anything is at!

Reboot Your Computer More Often

9.1 restart

It may seem like a hassle to restart or shut down your computer. We’re in an age of now and we don’t want to wait for it to boot up. But occasionally restarting it can fix many issues Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues? Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues? "Have you tried rebooting?" It's technical advice that gets thrown around a lot, but there's a reason: it works. Not just for PCs, but a wide range of devices. We explain why. Read More . Have you ever noticed after your computer has been on for days and weeks that it gets slower and slower? Not to mention those updates that require a system restart to install completely, which takes us right back to tip #1.

9.2 windows update - restart pc

Just try to be more mindful of restarting your computer more often–you may be surprised the difference it makes. A good compromise may be learning how to restart your computer like a pro 6 Tips for Rebooting Windows Like a Pro 6 Tips for Rebooting Windows Like a Pro Windows' strength is customization and it doesn't stop at shutting down. You can end your session or reboot your system in various ways, many offering more convenience and control than the Start menu. Read More to speed up the process and make it more accessible.

What Good Habits Do You Have?

I’m confident that if you dedicate yourself to integrating these habits into your daily workflow that you will have a much better Windows experience the rest of this year.

Now I’d like to hear from you: What other habits do you have when using Windows that make a world of difference and help you use it more productively? Please share in the comments!

Image Credits: Young sprout via Shutterstock

  1. Andrew Halpin
    August 17, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    There's a little program called 'unchecky', you'll never download an unwanted program, bloat ware or pup again.

  2. ????? ??????
    July 9, 2015 at 9:28 am

    I've used Disk Drill to back up all my files, pretty good freeware

  3. Alessandro Corezzola
    July 5, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    These were the same advices given when using windows 98...not much has improved since then has it?

    • Aaron Couch
      July 6, 2015 at 11:53 pm

      Considering these are staples for pretty much any operating system (with a few alterations here and there), no. These are great habits no matter what computer you use.

      How might you suggest an operating system manage your own files? (I want that say so) or remove the need for ever needing a backup? And as long as the Internet is around, I can't see how we'll ever be able to relinquish the need to watch what we download without giving up control.

  4. Arul Mani
    July 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    doing them right away after i read this ...

  5. mahaboob.smg
    July 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    iwant toreset my oasscode

  6. Leo A. Bolle.
    June 30, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Gave you ecer hurded of Privazer/ Really the best cleaner!

  7. icebird76
    June 30, 2015 at 3:05 am

    For downloading, I hover over the button and look at the link it will take me to. On chrome, it's in the bottom left or bottom right. If it's not the same as the site, I look for another button.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 6, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      An excellent and simple habit! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Yodi Collins
    June 30, 2015 at 2:57 am

    I never understood why people loaded their desktop with files. I don't keep anything on my desktop but applications, and always have. All those files on the desktop are visually chaotic, IMHO, and mitigate efficiency and productivity, rather than facilitate them.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 6, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      Completely agree. Making my desktop like that just for a screenshot drove me insane. Glad it's over.

  9. julian thibeault
    June 30, 2015 at 2:25 am

    A lot of great points on here for some more entry level users, and even some power users. I have been using some of here tools for a while and they work great. Backup is key!

    One disagreement is of you know what the registry is, how it works, and it's purpose, you actually realize that the cleaners are important. There is a myth about them being a myth. I agree that people should be more careful about running them and use discretion, and of course have a backup before running them. However, it is misleading to state they are never needed.

    I have indeed increased performance, or fixed issues after running them, so there is value there.

    Other than that, great article!

    • Bruce Epper
      July 3, 2015 at 2:09 am

      The ONLY people that should be messing around in the registry, even with a registry cleaner, are those that are experienced in managing the registry manually in the first place or those willing to look up ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING the cleaner wants to delete.

      As a technician I have seen the following results from average end-users using a registry cleaner:
      1. The system will no longer start.
      2. The system runs worse than it did before running the cleaner.
      3. The system runs at about the same speed as before but one or more applications will no longer run at all.
      4. The system runs at about the same speed as before but MOST of the installed applications either don't run at all or crash when starting.
      5. The system shows a significant improvement in boot speed, but other than that, performance is unaffected.

      All in all, registry cleaners tend to do the following beneficial things:
      1. Decrease the on-disk space used by a minimal amount which MIGHT impact boot speed by a few microseconds which wouldn't even be noticeable to a professional technician without the proper timing tools.
      2. Remove references to files that no longer exist on the system which is why there MAY be an improvement in boot speed.

      Problems with some popular registry cleaners:
      1. Deletion of some registry keys and values are not taking into account internal registry references to said key or value thereby breaking something. This is why multiple runs are generally necessary for proper cleaning.
      2. When applications are improperly removed by its own uninstall tool and users try to reset data under HKCR to fix file associations for another application that utilizes the same association, it may remove entries essential to the remaining application as well as the one that is no longer on the system.

      With the risks of using them balanced against the most common outcomes, it does not benefit Joe Average to attempt to do this themselves regardless of the registry cleaner they are using. For most people, if they are not intimately acquainted with the Windows Registry or willing to do the necessary research about the effects of what the cleaner is suggesting to do as a "repair", running a cleaner on it just isn't worth the risk.

      • julian thibeault
        July 3, 2015 at 2:18 am

        Some of those are great points, and sure, the regular user really shouldn't run a registry cleaner as they probably won't do a backup first. However, I personally have used Eusing registry cleaner for some time now, and never one time have I ever had any negative side-effects from using that program. I have probably run it at least a hundred times. It really depends on the reg cleaner you use, as some of them are pretty intrusive.

        It's like running Combofix. It is a great rootkit remover, but a few times out of the many times I have run it, the system failed to boot after clean.

        I can tell you that after running Eusing, along with other clean up tools, that the system has been MORE stable, and noticeably faster. I am not sure why others have had such bad experiences...

        • Bruce Epper
          July 3, 2015 at 2:42 am

          Even on my testing systems where I am constantly installing and uninstalling applications, I have never seen any kind of substantial speed improvement that would encourage me to recommend the use of registry cleaners no matter what cleaner I was using. Stability improvements are occasionally seen on these machines, but that is only with heavily used test systems where I have installed and uninstalled dozens of programs before cleaning it.

          When working in an IT department supporting several hundred desktops, whenever an end-user decided to take it upon themselves (against corporate policy) to run a portable registry cleaner on the system, it almost always resulted in a new support ticket being requested. This became less of an issue when most users got dumb terminals to connect to a Citrix server farm. All they needed to do after they messed up their session was to terminate it and reconnect so they would get a fresh desktop from our controlled configurations. Much less time than redeploying a fresh image to a hard drive and I no longer needed to try to find them emailing these renamed portable applications to bypass our rules.

          As far as "noticeably faster", after running a cleaner most people will claim to see a speed improvement, but running timing tools almost always proves these claims are false. They expect to see a speed improvement so they do. Before they even run the tool they have already programmed themselves that things will be better, so better is what they see.

          Before running the cleaner, take baseline measurements of performance then take the exact same measurements after running the cleaner making sure as many variables as possible remain constant. I did this a few years ago. End results clearly indicated that the speed improvements that were made were only noticeable during boot and even those could be described as "modest" at best (2-3 seconds during a 56 second boot). Yeah, I just looked up my results from that test using CCleaner, Wise, and TweakNow. I never had the chance to try Comodo System Utilities.

          I may need to re-run these tests with the latest versions, but I doubt they will show much of a difference from my previous run.

  10. l_mckeon
    June 29, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    filepuma.com by Glary Software is another place to download programs without unwanted crapware. Their home page also announces recent releases.

    If you must download from CNet's download.com, try keeping a copy of the Opera browser just for that purpose. Since most of the browser helper junk is meant for the IE browser, download.com just thinks for a moment then sends you the pure file with no downloader or other junk — try it.

    Ccleaner can be improved by downloading and running CCenhancer which adds information for many different application files. Go through the modified CCleaner and thick the boxes of the extra info you want cleaned, then go back to CCenhancer, click Advanced, then Trim winapp2.ini. This deletes unwanted options and greatly speeds up startup scan.

  11. Erlis Dhima
    June 29, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    This is one of the best articles I've read since a long time here on MUO.
    Even though I knew all of these tools, I still enjoyed reading it.
    Another tool similar to WinDirSat is TreeSize from Jam Software.

  12. scott mack
    June 27, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Whenever I get a computer or install an operating system, I create separate partitions. The operating system and applications are located on one partition. I use a separate partition to store files and other items, including my virtual machines. This way if the OS becomes corrupt, my files should still be intact. A separate hard drive would be better, but that option isn't always available for tablets and laptops.

  13. Davin Peterson
    June 27, 2015 at 12:47 am

    The desktop wasn't meant to store all your files.
    I keep my files organize in folders in the Documents, Music & Photos.

  14. Read and Share
    June 26, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    A question for those in the know...

    My user account is set to admin level and default notification (screen dimmed). So that means anything that normally requires admin approval is first stopped and the screen dimmed until I "ok" it -- correct? If so, then doesn't this provide similar protection as using a standard account and then "ok-ing" with a separate admin user account?

    I have a feeling they are not the same, but I wonder if the screen dimming / notification is already "good enough"??

  15. Purandar Kakde
    June 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks Nikki for the tip. I was reading the article for something like this, but found it in the comments :)

    Another way I do is have chrome extensions like adblock plus, uBlock, etc that blocks these advt. It also blocks some irrelevant advt while watching youtube videeos too :)

  16. Kamil Kozyra
    June 26, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I do not go on the Internet (meaning Internet Explorer Firefox or Chrome) without first updating my antivirus software - that way I know I am already up to date before I ever get on any browser.

  17. Nikhil Ghelani
    June 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    for downloading problem. avoid scam download. try dragging download icon or button. if you see a picture then it is a scam download button if not then it is mostly a genuine download button. works for me every time. worth trying.

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