Added: While Microsoft has done a good job including routine maintenance tools with its software, sometimes you need something with a little more umph or even something that actually works. From cleaning to protection, Microsoft can’t do it all. And even if they advertise that they can, chances are hackers are going to be on the lookout for Microsoft-based exploits. Using a third-party program is the best way to keep your computer safe and cleaned.
IObit has done a great job of creating dependable performance-boosting programs that do a ton for less. Most of their products have a free version; a premium version does exist for all of their products (or else they couldn’t stay in business) but their free stuff works great. They offer several different products to keep your PCs and laptops in tip-top shape: Advanced System Care, Driver Booster, Smart Defrag, IOBit Malware Fighter, IOBit Uninstaller, and more. Their suite of products does a great job of keeping your computer clean and safe. While the updates to install can be annoying and don’t always register that you already have updated to the latest version, IObit has developed some great programs.
Although fairly well known, AVG has done a great job of keeping itself relevant after all these years. While they still offer quality products (with free versions), they have branched out to cover several different aspects instead of only computer viruses. Unlike many online computer cleaning and protection services, they are offered on more platforms than just Windows. In addition to Windows versions, you can always download protection programs for Mac and for Android, although curiously no version for iPhone. The three core areas that AVG is invested in are virus protection, computer tune-up, and security. While they are trusted names in computer performance and protection, the constant emails and toolbar popup ads are frustrating. That said, they do a great job at what they were programmed for, and you get a lot of functionality even with the free versions.
CCleaner is another service company that has been around for years but has been great at keeping themselves changing with the times. Whereas before you would need a downloaded version of their products, they have now moved into the cloud, allowing multiple users on the same license. They still offer a desktop version, but the fewer 3rd party programs that you have to physically host on your machine, the better. The new and improved cloud-based CCleaner boasts such functions as remote bug and registry cleaning, disk defragmentation, software installation, and more. While they only offer a free trial and not a full free version, CCleaner is like having your own personal IT crew.
FixWin is a tried-and-true Windows cleaner and fixing tool to keep your computer running great. It’s been around since at least 2009 and it still does more than most of Microsoft’s built-in support tools. It has been updated to include Windows 10 issues, which are plentiful, and is a great addition to your support suite. The main blessing is also a curse; it’s freeware, meaning you should take it with a grain of salt when downloading. That said, FixWin absolutely knocks it out of the park with its Windows support functions.