Clean your PC and your wallet

How many of our neighbors, parents, friends complain that their computers are running slow or giving them strange error messages, etc. Those are the kind of people, those who know enough to be dangerous, who fall for this overly simplistic solution and get themselves into bigger trouble by installing crap software that promises to fix everything.

Yes, that PC cleanup app you saw on TV at 3am is a waste | Ars Technica.

Maybe you’ve seen the ads on the Internet or on TV in the wee hours of the morning. They make lofty promises: get rid of blue screens and error messages! Increase your speed! Clean up your system! But even when these PC cleanup apps aren’t just malware in disguise, the things they’re doing for your PC are often dubious. Many either replicate tasks that can be handled by built-in utilities or do things that could cause more problems than they solve.

Informercials LOOK impressive and easy. The people look SO satisfied at the end. They are chock full of testimonials (paid actors) and they seem like a good deal. They paint a false picture for you in order to grab your cash. This article takes a more in-depth look at what these PC cleaners do. If you don’t know what you are looking it, all these charts and tables with strange words that this program delivers won’t help you fix the problem or keep it from happening again. Most of these issues can be solved by convincing your Mom that that 10 year old Windows machine WON’T run that software no matter what. And regular maintenance can be done with tools you already have or can get for free. These companies prey on those who don’t know enough to know they’re being scammed.

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  6 comments for “Clean your PC and your wallet

  1. January 31, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    It took me years to explain to my mother why her Mac Performa couldn’t display most web pages. Computer illiterate people in past sixty have a hard time understanding why computers have a three to four year life span. In their day, things built lasted for decades and could be fixed with a hammer or screwdriver. They also seem to be the same crowd that believes whatever a commercial tells them because they think “False Advertising” is a federal law punishable by death.

  2. Brian
    January 31, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    I’ll be honest: the only way to get rid of your windows woes is to go Linux or Mac. Or, just go Linux. Mac has….. well, it has it’s big name woes, too- but not as many. There are compatibility issues, of course, but there’s also workarounds for the more advanced. I have had all sorts of ‘fun’ with windows- Linux has been amazingly stable (but some stuff doesnt work with it), Mac is almost as stable (but again.. compatibility), and the stuff’s just too damned expensive. And you can no longer easily repair them.

    The way computers are these days just makes a user wanna go back to paper and pencil!

  3. J
    January 31, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    By ‘cleaning’ they tend to just mean reinstalling Windows and maybe saving some of the personal data, or simply putting in a new hard drive and making like the computer is now ‘new’ because of it.
    Trying to explain security certificates and encryption is certainly harder, but why make someone feel old and obsolete when you can just give them a quick fix?
    At least now with cloud storage you don’t necessarily have to lose personal data if you get an entirely new computer, although coming to realize that whatever you put online will likely be accessible for the rest of your life can be a bit humbling.

  4. AmSci
    January 31, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    Do you guys now any good sites where I can download more RAM?

    • Geoff Offermann
      February 4, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      You’d need some hella bandwidth to squeeze the horns through.

  5. Richard Smith
    February 1, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    As a programmer, I find that there are times when a hammer still feels like the right tool to fix a stubborn computer…

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