360Amigo's free system cleaner is no tease

Clean and optimize your system with this free system bundle.

At first, 360Amigo System Speedup Free seemed to be of the more-tease-than-tool school of free system cleaners, and certainly its developers would like you to buy their premium package. But the free tool proved to be a good performer that will help many users keep their PCs running smooth and safe.

As with so many freeware versions of premium system utilities, 360Amigo's interface is stylish and heavy on the graphics and captions that explain what each feature does. The program consists of a system cleaner and a system optimizer, with a number of extra utilities, though some of the advanced tools are only available with the paid software. As with similar software, 360Amigo's System Cleaner scans for junk files and invalid or orphaned registry entries, runs a privacy sweep, defragments your disk drives, and restores your system to a previous state (if necessary). We performed a scan, and 360Amigo displayed its results along with some alarming graphics suggesting our well-maintained system's status was "bad," which free system cleaners are prone to do. We could de-select items for cleaning by unchecking their boxes, and the folder views let us see which files in each category the program was targeting for removal; in fact, 360Amigo's utilities offered more information about the files to be cleaned than many premium tools we've seen. After making our selections, we ran the first cleaner. Here's where many free tools clean a few errors and offer to clean the rest for a price, but 360Amigo powered through all three tools. Next we tried the System Optimizer, which includes an unusually detailed Startup Manager, a NetState tool that identifies all open connections and lets users terminate connections instantly, and a process manager, services manager, and uninstaller. The Tools menu offered an impressive array of extras like a Duplicate File Finder, a full Backup & Restore application, a drivers manager, a file recovery tool, and many others.

After we'd run 360Amigo's scan but before we let it fix the errors it found, we ran similar tools, including a premium package, for comparison. While the results were similar, 360Amigo's scan turned up some files the others didn't. The acid test came after we rebooted: 360Amigo's changes did no harm, and while our system didn't run noticeably better, we had the satisfaction of knowing the junk was gone from our system.

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