As long as your system is performing to expectations, there's no reason to risk trouble by weed-whacking your registry. On the other hand, tossing out junk left behind by Web sites and programs can boost your system's performance. If you like the idea of a free system cleaner but are put off by tools that do too much or don't offer enough user control, try AppCleaner. Like the others, AppCleaner finds and removes old, obsolete, and broken files, freeing up disk space and system resources, but only where you tell it to look. It offers several secure delete levels; uninstaller, startup manager, and system restore tools; and no adware.
AppCleaner is a compact download, and it has a plain but clean and well-laid-out interface that is commendably free of huge and garish fonts. A tabbed side panel let us access the Cleaner, Tools, and Options, and each tab was itself tabbed with entries. The main tool, the Cleaner, has two controls, Analyze and Clean. But we immediately saw how AppCleaner differs from the other cleaners: Instead of selecting every entry for scanning and requiring users to de-select the items they want to keep, AppCleaner only scans those items you select with checkmarks, which means you need to understand what you're telling it to scan. This keeps inexperienced users from deleting stuff they shouldn't and lets advanced users scan specific targets. The program's default selections are minimal, as we learned when our scan finished. Nearly all the entries it returned were browser cache files, which we selected and removed by pressing Clean. We returned to the Apps, Browsers, Registry, and Windows tabs, selecting those entries we wanted to scan, and clicked the Analyze button again. AppCleaner quickly returned expanded results. We could right-click any entry to call up a detailed view of the scan results. Some items showed yellow caution signs, indicating errors. Opening the detailed view let us quickly determine which entries could be removed and which required more attention.
AppCleaner is a great choice for inexperienced users since it keeps them from doing harm and helps educate them about their registry and system as they use it. For advanced users, AppCleaner has the flexibility, power, and no-nonsense layout you've been looking for.