By Preston Gralla, PCWorldMar 28, 2011 4:22 am PDT
When you buy your shiny new PC, it’s in pristine shape and tip-top condition, free of any junk that might slow it down, right? Wrong. Not uncommonly, new PCs come filled with trialware, toolbars, and assorted junk so that even the first time you run it, it’s already wading through sludge. The free SlimComputer utility will help.
This program from Slimware Utilities (maker of SlimDrivers) looks through your system for toolbars, trialware, and other unneeded programs and files, shows you what it finds, and will delete them for you if you want them gone. And although SlimComputer help a system straight out of the manufacturer’s box, you don’t have to use it when your PC is new. You can keep using it to make sure junk isn’t added along with the software you actually want. My system is about five years old, and I work very hard to keep it free of unnecessary files, but it still found several I had not known about.
SlimComputer does more than find unneeded files . There’s also an uninstaller that offers advice on which software you might want to keep, and which to uninstall. It rates each program on your system as to whether you likely need it or not. You can then use that as part of your decision about whether to keep the program. The program itself doesn’t actually do the ratings; instead, everyone who uses SlimComputer can rate their own programs, and that crowdsourced information is then collated and presented by SlimComputer. I found the information variably useful. Don’t expect it to be definitive, but it will help you decide whether to keep each program.
There are other tools in SlimComputer, such as a startup manager, which uses the same technique as the uninstaller for rating startup programs. And there’s a mildly useful Windows Tools section that includes icons that when clicked upon launch a variety of tools built into Windows, such as the Device Manager, Windows Update, and so on. Essentially, this is an alternative to Control Panel.
While SlimComputer is useful, you should know that it doesn’t find all the junk on your PC. For example, my machine had the MyAshampoo Internet Explorer toolbar and Google Firefox toolbar installed, and SlimComputer didn’t detect either. So while SlimComputer is useful, keep in mind that it’s not perfect. You should use it in concert with another program such as PC Decrapifier, and regularly check Windows’s uninstallation tool, to see if there’s unnecessary software there. It’s more comprehensive than PC Decrapifier, because of the additional tools it offers. But it’s not quite as simple to use, either.
Note that when you install SlimComputer you have the option of also installing a portable version on a USB flash drive.