FREE PC management Software

Discussion in 'Computers, Electronics, IT & Gaming' started by odibrom, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Dear computer warlords.

    I am here by humbly asking for your advice on cleaning my computer.

    The thing is, I thinking my computer is getting slow, and I'd like to have it working top speed. It is a 6/7 years old Intel i7 with 16GB RAM memory and a nVidia GT550M Graphic card ASUS laptop.

    I think I have it pretty clean but that's never enough, so what do you PC gurus suggest? I mainly use CCleaner (free and other Piriform stuff) and RevoUninstaller for PC management on installing and uninstalling software.

    I mainly use this computer for graphics and design, mostly Photoshop and Illustrator but also CAD and 3D work. Then, there's Reaper, Focusrite stuff (I have the onboard sound card disabled) and a few VSTs...

    I've recently upgraded my Autodesk software (AutoCAD and 3DS Max) to 2019 versions and I'm feeling the PC got slower.

    Also, I know anti-virus software may interfere with CAD software, making them work slower, I'm using AVAST... so far so good...

    Any suggestions on FREE PC management software besides those mentioned?
    Is defragmentation any good yet?
    Should I just format and re-install everything from scratch? (I'd rather not)...?
    What say you?
     
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I honestly don't trust "PC management" kinds of software. I find the easiest way to get a machine running relatively cleanly is to clear out the Run keys in the registry editor so that you're in control of what actually starts when your machine comes on, if you're comfortable with doing that. If the pc is far enough gone that uninstalling junk, turning off unused services, and cleaning up your startup doesn't help, then a reinstall would do it.

    It's possible that I'm a weirdo in this regard and someone else can suggest software that will do this for you. But I tend to be very distrusting of anything that's free and claims will "fix" my computer.
     
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  3. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    I appreciate very much your input and I kind of feel the same. These 2 software instances I've spoken of are, imo, great though somehow limited (free versions that is). As for the start up stuff, I can get to it through the Task Manager window and its Startup "folder", as well as with CCLeaner, which delivers the exact same results. CCleaner also helps to clear junk and temp files or cleaning the Registry (so it says). I'm not very secure using the Registry Editor, but I guess I'll give it a go... Care to do a Setp-by-setp?

    The Revo-Uninstaller is fantastic to remove completely any software, though it still has some limitation in the freeware format. Besides those, I'll use SyncBack from 2 Bright Sparks for Synchronization/Backup/Recovery (also free) which also works great and... that's it.
     
  4. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    A fresh in stall of windows can work miracles, if you have a factory refresh disk or thumbdrive.
     
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  5. Jonathan20022

    Jonathan20022 Engineer

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    Fresh install, set a few hours on your weekend aside for it. Take notes on what software you want to install and make a list, go through your settings and make sure you note all the information down (Display settings/mouse/etc so things feel relatively similar).

    I also recommend WinDirStat, it indexes all your harddrives and gives you a visual on what files are taking up the most space on your harddrives. Organizes them by extension/last changed/size/etc, this is more or less to filter through my drives and get rid of any offending files that are cluttering my drives. Sometimes I leave my screen capture on and when I turn on my computer the next day notice my D: drive is missing hundreds of gigs. Happened to me twice before, so if there's any software to help you manage your storage and identify clutter it's that.

    Another thing I recommend, and it's something I do every year now. Is once I do a system wipe, I create an image of my OS right after a fresh install and after I've installed all my core software/drivers/settings. So if I ever need to restore my C: drive back to it's original state it's a lot easier than doing a fresh Windows install. You generally do this if you have a smaller C: Drive that you don't install or save a ton of things to once it's installed. I'm running my OS off of a Samsung M.2 256gb drive, so I only keep any important software and 1-2 of my favorite games I play regularly for faster loading times. I install everything else to my other SSD's and music/pictures/video to a regular 7200rpm drive. This helps in the sense that if I ever have to wipe my C: drive, I don't need to worry about my Steam library, or Sessions in my DAW, Lightroom/Premiere, from getting erased. It's all contained on separate drives.

    If you're on Windows 10, Windows Defender does a great job of managing any malicious content. But you can always download Malware Bytes for virus protection. I wouldn't recommend Avast or any other paid anti virus when what comes packaged with Windows is finally becoming so robust.
     
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  6. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    I was trying to avoid a fresh install of windows, really. One thing I forgot to mention is that my HDD is 5500rpms, which contributes to some slower performance, but it has been manageable so far. Besides that I have the PC well organized, Software on C:, all documents on D: and external drives. I Had a major crash a year or so and lost about 20% of my files... now I have 2 identical external Hard drives to where I do my backups regularly, Redundancy is WORD. Only recent documents are stored in the PC, all the rest is on those external drives.

    Also, and as a consequence of the PC organization, I have no files on the desktop screen besides shortcuts.
     
  7. Jonathan20022

    Jonathan20022 Engineer

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    Similar setup on my end! And to be totally honest, I don't see your 5500rpm drive degrading in r/w speeds over a timespan that severely if much at all. The cause could be bad sectors, but more than likely you won't see performance drop in the actual storage drive. It's usually a symptom of using newer software and more taxing updates to what you normally use.

    Chrome dropped an update last year that killed my performance, had to switch to Firefox until the next major patch dropped. But even though that's an extreme case, Chrome still updates it's software with new features constantly and each update should tax your machine more and more. It's just on the nominal end of the spectrum, so Chrome in 2011 compared to Chrome in 2018 is a huge jump, but 2015 -> 2018 is less so due to how frequently they push out these small updates.
     
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  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The jist of it is that there are certain keys that cause things to auto-start that don't always show up through task manager and things like that. Basically, the process is just to find those folder/keys, and delete anything you don't recognize or don't want starting. There's a handful of them, but they're in similarly named places. These are the ones I generally look at:

    HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Run
    HKLM/Software/WOW6432Node/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Run (This one I think only exists on 64bit Windows)
    HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Run
     
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  9. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I know you mentioned that you're trying to do a fresh install, but I've been doing that about once every year or two since I've had Windows 7, and I've never replaced a computer since because it "slowed down", only that it couldn't do what I needed/wanted it to do fast enough, compared to newer stuff. Like...it's top speed was always 35mph, and that used to be fine...but now I need it to go 65mph...so it didn't slow down, but it's no longer fast enough.
     
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  10. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    @Jonathan20022 I know windows sometimes uses the hard drive to expand memory and for temporary data allocation, so having a "slow" drive as platform for software and OS does make some slower responses. I've also noticed that when I have my external drives connected (they're 4TB each) the computer does get slower, even having them (or only one) connected with the USB3 port.

    @TedEH thanks a lot for pointing the way, will try that as soon as possible.

    @spudmunkey I'm trying NOT to do a fresh install and I do feel that the PC is getting slower with this heavier and more demanding software.

    Well, I guess it means less things working at the same time for a better performance. Sometimes I can feel the computer slowing down in real time when I'm listening to music, either from my playlist or youtube. If the music files are bigger, this boy just farts a little... It will endure until it's broken... keyboard is already having some glitches...
     
  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I know there's this sort of story about "Windows slows down after some time!", but it tends to be more the case of just poorly maintained PCs, or software running that shouldn't be. Installing stuff and not cleaning up what you don't use, allowing random junk to start up, etc. An external drive being attached shouldn't slow a PC down unless it's being regularly accessed in a way that presents a bottleneck somewhere.

    Arguably, something like the number of installed programs also shouldn't make a difference. If those apps aren't running, they should have zero impact on performance unless you've somehow managed to badly fragment your disk, and have programs running that rely on very fast disk access (this could be the case for audio/video processing maybe).
     
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  12. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Sorry, in that first sentence of my post, I accidentally a word. I meant that I understand you're trying not to do a fresh install, but I do it and it eliminates the type of issue you're having.

    Computer parts don't slow down with age, really. They either work or they don't. Unless the data on your hard drive is bloated by old drivers, etc etc. Or, I know unless I have about 5-8x the amount of ram as free space on my HD than the computer will crawl...but that's not the drive wearing out or being "old". It's something that would be helped with a fresh install.

    You can run "disk cleanup" and "defrag", but the next easiest thing is a fresh windows install, and re-installing drivers.
     
  13. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    @spudmunkey lol, you're still eating words dude... :D go grab a sandwich.
    ... I now computers don't get slower with time due to time passing by on hardware...

    I asked before, but got no direct answer, is "defrag" still a thing on getting the computer faster? I mean, CPUs got faster and motherboards got way more RAM, so is defrag still significant for faster processing? Truth be told, I haven't done a defrag in years... it has been Fresh install on all instances... It's so time consuming that I was wanting to avoid it...

    Also, I've tried the solution @TedEH suggested and so far so good (reboot included). No crash and the computer is responding quite well...
     
  14. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    FYI, that "eaten" word was on purpose. It's sort of a meme/joke (at least on reddit.) :p "I accidentally a word"

    Defrag is indeed still a thing, at least on mechanical drives. Not really so much on SSDs.

    While one would think it shoudn't matter, I've had it help overall "snappiness", especially on laptops. I would say to let us run the next time you're not going to use the computer for a couple of hours. There's nothing really to lose, and it'll only help, at least with load times and possibly boot times
     
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  15. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    I don't claim to be a pc guru, but have you deleted the %temp% files, prefetch files then cleared the recycling bin afterwards. My HP laptop has the same specs as yours and these few things are usually a slight yet decent little improvement to begin your session.

    MALWARE BYTES is a good freebee if not suggested allready. But I usually install as needed (never) and uninstall when done. I turn off virus protection on windows defender (the only one installed on my computer...free) just for less shit running in the background.(disconnect internet )
    Another good freebie was ROGUE KILLER... Install and uninstall as needed.

    But still I am not blown away by my computers performance when I use mastercam on it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
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  16. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    @IGC Thans for the suggestions, I'll look into those as soon as possible...
     
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  17. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    My understanding is defrag is still a thing, but it's much less of a thing, both because of drive technology and OS features. I'm not an expert on SSDs, but my understanding is that you don't want to try to defrag these, since it's the job of the drives controller to make sure things are properly accessible, and a traditional defrag might interfere with that. I could be wrong about that though.

    It's also worth noting that fragmentation doesn't impact *processing*, it only affects disk access speed. So saving and loading something are marginally affected, but something like playing games isn't going to net you higher fps, or something like that. Having continuous space on a physical drive could possibly be helpful in a recording or video editing situation though, I would think.
     
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  18. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    ... so a Defrag is added to the "to do list". Thank you all.

    Oh, in case I haven't been clear, I meant that a fresh install is time consuming and I was wanting to avoid it. I've done it in the past because of unwanted programs and stuff and a defrag wouldn't do much. Defrags are also time consuming but can be run during sleep hours. A complete fresh install not so much...
     
  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    If there was anything I meant to get across with my post it's that a defrag is probably not worth it.
     
  20. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    well, when one has a slower disk (5500rpms), any disk access that gets traffic jammed 'cause of fragmentation could benefit from a little defrag. Many times I get the PC on hold due to disk access (even to external drives), so I guess it won't hurt.

    Nevertheless, those hints about the Registry Edit seamed to work fine, I think I've done as you suggested and so far so good, the computer seams to be more responsive under heavy software use.
     

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