Windows systems get cluttered and become slow over time. This is a known problem that many companies and products have been trying to fix for years. There are a bunch of established players in the field, such as Soluto and CCleaner, but today I’m here to tell you about a small, free utility that you’ve probably never heard of before, called DrivePurge.
This is a relative newcomer, only at version 1.0, released just a few weeks ago. It’s free, tiny, and pretty easy to understand.
The Language Menu
Unless you speak German, this is where you’re going to want to head first. The app starts in German by default, but English comes preinstalled, and it takes just a single click to change over to it (the app doesn’t even need to restart). Once you’ve done that, it’s time to look at the rest of the interface.
DrivePurge is sensibly divided into four tabs, which we’ll be looking at in order. The first tab is System Cleanup. At first, the details pane is blank, because DrivePurge doesn’t have any recommendations. You need to check the menu entries you want DrivePurge to analyze (all entries, for me), and then click Analyze. You’ll get a progress bar, and at the end of the process, DrivePurge shows a list of recommendations similar to the one you get with CCleaner and just about every other system cleaner:
Again, nothing special, but it’s sensibly laid out and you can see how much space everything takes. The only thing really missing is a way to sort the list by size. Once you’re done, click Cleanup, and get one last prompt:
It would have been nice if the app showed what exactly it intends to clean up and let you confirm or deny on an individual basis. As it is, it just cleans everything the scan found. The “selected files” refers to your initial selection before scanning. Once the scan is done, anything that came up is cleaned. This is a bit of a gotcha; still, I was brave, bit the bullet and had DrivePurge clean my drive. The computer did not explode, nor did it BSOD or did anything weird (I tested this on my “real” computer, not on a VM).
As always, you need to be careful with system cleaning applications, and make sure you really know what you’re doing before you go around deleting stuff with abandon. You can easily damage your system when trying to clean it up.
This app is called DrivePurge, so it would only make sense if it had a feature for cleaning up the hard drive. So:
You select a drive, select a bunch of file types that are usually not needed, and then analyze it. This part takes some time, particularly if you have lots of files. Let’s see what it finds on my C drive.
Not so much, really. Just 71MB of crud, but that’s still something. And of course, this is really computer-dependent – on some systems you may find considerably more junk files. Again, be careful with this one. I deleted one too many temporary files when testing the app, and messed up this very post (which I’m writing in Windows Live Writer), as well as the spell checker. Not the app’s fault, but you need to really think about whether or not you want to delete something (and the app can definitely be a bit more granular).
User Tracks Cleanup
This tab gives you a long list of apps that the program can check for traces. These are mainly things like lists of recently used files, Flash cookies, and so on. Here, the fact that the analysis is not detailed does get in the way. For example, I might want to delete some Flash cookies, but not all. I found no way of selectively doing that with DrivePurge, at least not in this early version.
This tab is basically good for a sense of accomplishment. It looks like this:
So you can see exactly what the app has been cleaning, and when.
DrivePurge may not be as comprehensive as CCleaner or as pretty as Soluto, but it’s lightweight, portable, and free. I think this is an app that’s starting out on the right foot, and has a bright future ahead of it. What do you think?