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System cleanup

Clean and optimize your Windows PC with this free suite of tools.

Over time, your PC fills up with leftovers, junk files, and digital debris, which makes your system run slower and can even increase its vulnerability to attacks. Software programs designed to clean up and tune up PCs can help you keep your PC in shape, if you use them wisely. Fortunately, even freeware system cleaners have gotten both safer to use and much more versatile. We recently ran PC Brother System Care Free, which offers not only to clean and optimize your files, registry, and disk drives but also to check your security status, manage programs, and provide easy access to Windows tools and services.

PC Brother has the colorful, graphics-heavy type of interface typical of the category, with stylish buttons accessing Utilities and Services and elaborate icons for opening the Cleaner and Optimization tools in the Easy Shuttle sidebar. We clicked the prominent Scan button to start things off and read the Background Maintenance advisory while we waited. It advised activating the program's background processes, but we prefer not to enable such processes and chose to focus instead on PC Brother's active processes. The scan quickly identified our Antivirus, Firewall, System Updates, Disk Clean, Registry Clean, and Disk Defrag status, with the option to solve problems individually or all at once. We ran the tools individually, which generally offers more detail about what the program is doing. Under Utilities, we could access the program's various tools individually, too. We ran the Memory Optimization tool, which tracked our CPU, Memory, and Page File performance and reclaimed more than 50MB of RAM.

We clicked the Service button and were offered the opportunity for a paid upgrade that involves online assistance, but we didn't take advantage of it. However, our machine rebooted quickly and showed no ill effects, which suggests PC Brother did its job but also did no harm. We like that PC Brother lets users run tools individually or in groups. Once we were more familiar with what its tools and process did, we felt more comfortable about running them with a click.

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