The best programs to speed up your PC: delete junk files and optimize Windows

Windows isn’t perfect when it comes to handling software. A slower PC occurs when bits of a program are scattered throughout your system when you install it.

Most of us have experienced this; after a year, our PCs seem clogged up and slow. Even if the hardware inside your PC has degraded, it’s like the day you purchased it. The real problem is your software. The same applies to uninstalled programs, which are left behind like trash after a fine picnic.

It’s not surprising, then, that the primary method of speeding up a system is to clean it thoroughly. Remove the artifacts of past programs and you remove the time-wasting of Windows looking for things it will never find.

Fast systems require more than a neat hard drive. You can customize Windows itself in many ways to make it more user-friendly.

By cleaning out junk and optimizing settings with a minimum of effort, we’ve selected the five best ways to speed up a cluttered PC. You can find free and paid versions of most of these programs. In the free editions, temporary files and cookies are typically cleaned up, while their paid counterparts feature advanced features like malware protection and scheduled cleaning. It is your choice.

1. IObit Advanced SystemCare

Enhance your PC’s speed and security with just a few clicks

A dual-pronged approach is employed by IObit Advanced SystemCare, which targets both general PC clutter and security threats.

The free version of the software includes quick system scanning, one-click hacking protection, performance monitoring, and the ability to capture faces of potential intruders automatically with FaceID.

These are excellent tools – easy to use and well designed – but if you are serious about making the most out of them, you will have to purchase the premium version. Aside from being affordable, IObit Advanced SystemCare Pro is a powerful cleaning program. This software costs US$23.99/£17.71AU/$30.64 for a one-year license, and it offers a number of extra features, including startup optimization, automatic updates, and performance monitoring.

The Ultimate edition of Advanced SystemCare includes a comprehensive security suite that protects your PC from malware and viruses. It also provides protection from ransomware by detecting changes to files in real-time and blocking them before they can encrypt your data – even when it’s a new kind of threat that had never previously been seen.

If your system is barely scraping by, some tools of IObit Advanced SystemCare will have little or no effect on performance. However, its deep scan will uncover numerous opportunities for system improvements. Users will be able to know what to keep and what to discard if scanned results are clearly labeled.

2. Cyberlab

The CyberLab (formerly Zookaware) PC maintenance tool will stop spyware, unwanted software, junk files, registry errors, and tracker cookies.

Cyberlab Scan feature treats Registry keys in the same way as locked files, and they can sometimes not be deleted. The problem does not lie with Cyberlab. It is simply a feature of the Windows operating system.

The registry cleaner adopts a similar approach to removing registry keys as it does to removing junk files. They show all registry keys that can be removed, and do not hide any in a follow-up scan in case they weren’t removed during the first scan.

Cyberlab will also remove all of your unwanted programs from your computer, or we will add them to Cyberlab’s database within 24 hours, so you can be assured that all your unwanted programs have been fully removed from your system.

It 100% free with premium features but it do comes with a pro plan with extended features for a minimal price of $29.95 yearly for 5 PCs.

3. Ashampoo WinOptimizer

Describes how to speed up your computer

With Ashampoo WinOptimizer (which cleans your PC like a shampoo), you can speed up your PC with ease, and it is an excellent choice if you have never used a system optimization tool before.

Once the ‘Start Search’ button is clicked, it scans your drive (separating the results into three categories) to look for potential problems: cleanup (junk files), optimization (internet settings), and protection (history and logs). With just one click, you can resolve all of these issues, or you can click ‘Details’ to see more information.

With Ashampoo WinOptimizer, this is really where it excels. Rather than just listing file names, it walks you through each issue, explaining how it may affect your PC and recommending an appropriate course of action. The interface has been so carefully designed with accessibility in mind that it is refreshing to see.

There is also a comprehensive set of defrag, uninstall, and startup management tools (grouped under the ‘Modules’ tab), but the main scanner is really the highlight of this program.

For one PC, the premium Ashampoo WinOptimizer 15 is on sale for US$9.99/£8.74/AU$17.49 for a year-long license. Additionally, you’ll find a booster for games, faster scans, privacy controls for Windows 10, and a wizard for tuning SSDs included.

4. Iolo System Mechanic

It’s great having the free version, but the premium edition really shines

No matter what version you choose, Iolo System Mechanic is one of the best tools for speeding up your PC and removing unwanted files. 

This program offers two types of scanning options. The first option identifies the most common problems (including temporary files, browser history, and registry entries). While the Deep scan can yield more results, it takes several minutes and digs deeper. Although your results may vary, we found a similar number of problems in both cases.

It’s not quite as straightforward as Ashampoo Winoptimizer, but the ‘Details’ link provides a lot of information about the problems found and why you might want to get rid of them.

A one-year license of Iolo System Mechanic Professional costs US$69.95/£69.95/AU$89.32, but it covers all your PCs instead of just one. Besides optimizing your system, it also provides dual-engine malware protection, data backup, secure file deletion, and other extras.

If you are considering getting an anti-malware tool on top of your antivirus, Iolo System Mechanic should be on the top of your shortlist.

In order to register, you need to enter an email address, but Iolo does not share this information with third parties.

5. Piriform CCleaner

There’s a lot of scanning, but the results are interpreted by assuming some knowledge

In order to find unnecessary files clogging up your hard drive, Piriform CCleaner is extremely comprehensive, scanning your entire hard drive or SSD. However, unlike some systems speeding up tools, it never feels overwhelming. The search results are organized into sensible categories (such as temporary files associated with web browsers and files related to Windows), and any files that will be kept by default are not checked.

CCleaner does not provide a description of all file types before offering to purge them, but if you select any of the ones under the ‘Advanced’ heading it will tell you why you should think twice before deleting them. However, we appreciate the effort you put into writing annotations in plain English.

With CCleaner, you can pick which types of entries to scan; most system speedup tools only give you one-click options. This is useful if you are having trouble with something specific (for example, if you are unable to re-install a program due to a leftover entry after you have uninstalled it).

Furthermore, Windows 10 gives you access to defrags, drive wipes, and system restores from its Control Panel.

As a bonus, you’ll also be offered a free copy of Avast Free Antivirus when you install CCleaner Free. In general, it’s one of the best free antivirus apps around and well worth a look if you’re in the market for a new security program, but otherwise be sure to uncheck the box.

The Pro version of CCleaner features real-time monitoring, scheduled cleaning, automatic updates, and premium technical support for $24.95. CCleaner’s free version is good, but the Pro version will save you time and trouble in the long run.

6. Glary Utilities

Fast scans, but we’d like more information about the results

Glary Utilities promises up to eight times faster PC performance whether you use the free or paid versions. The one-click clean-up is its biggest selling point, but it has a host of other features as well, including a disk space analyzer, a process manager, and a context menu manager (an unusual yet welcome inclusion).

Additionally, Gary Utilities estimates your PC’s boot time, and the free version includes automatic updates – a timesaving feature you’d normally have to pay for.

Using its one-click maintenance option, it looks for registry entries and temporary files that are broken or missing as well. Some of its descriptions seem a bit odd. There are no other terms for its history cleanup tool, such as Tracks Eraser. Glary Utilities will notify you if it finds any such problems, but you won’t know what they are unless you click ‘show details’.

The scan results should include more information about what each problem actually file names and locations is rather than only, so that users can make informed decisions about what to keep.

There are often sales and discounts around holiday times that can bring Glary Utilities Pro’s price down. It usually costs $39.95/£38.84/AU$67.13 for a one-year license.

Conclusions

The above discussed are possibly the best programs out there in 2021 that you should need to try. Use anyone of them. I normally use Cyberlab and have been quite happy with its performance.

Let us know which one you liked the most.