Review: Skip Easy SpaceGuard for down-to-earth and up-to-date system cleaners

Avoid this out-of-date-system cleaner unless you're running Netscape and Real Player.

Free tools that clean browsing and Windows tracks can protect your privacy and security, especially if they're intuitive, easy to use, and up-to-date. Unfortunately, EasynetSoft's Easy SpaceGuard is none of those. Its interface is crowded, poorly designed, and stuck in a time warp (Netscape, anyone?) and the program doesn't seem to have been updated significantly in years: we can't be sure since neither the program's Web site nor online tutorial would load.

We nixed a Tic Tac Toe game offered with Easy SpaceGuard's download. Easy SpaceGuard asks if you want it to run immediately after setup. We appreciate the option since we like to check out such tools before turning them loose on our system. But the program took so long to load we thought it had crashed. Then Easy SpaceGuard opened just as we were typing Ctrl-Alt-Del. OK, so not the best start. The next blow came from the user interface, which looks and feels like something from a previous Windows era. The layout is divided into three panels. The first, Select the Items to Auto Clean, offers checkboxes on a tree view labeled "My Local Computer," "My System Wastes," and "My Privacy." The tree view doesn't show your system structure but whether any of its static entries are detected. So it listed Netscape, Real Player, Nero, and others as "not detected," and it didn't detect Google Earth, though we have it. Easy SpaceGuard didn't see MS Office 2000, 2002, or 2003 in our system, either. Worse, it didn't see Office 2010. The central panel's Cleanup Scheduler lets you choose an interval in minutes, but you can't actually schedule tasks. And things got no better on the right-side Command Center, where three of nine buttons were grayed out because our system lacks Netscape and Opera, which it does, and Firefox, which we actually have. No Chrome, but you can clean Real One Player's cache. The Privacy Report requires a password that you can immediately and permanently disable!

Easy SpaceGuard was a good idea when it launched, but it's been in orbit too long. Look away, PC land.

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