Are PC Cleanup Apps Scaring Customers Into Paying For Basically Useless Services?

If you’ve ever been up late at night watching TV, odds are you’ve seen those commercials where exasperated PC users just can’t wrangle their computers into submission. Error screens! Frustrating download times! The worst. Who can save you from such a fate? Any of the various PC cleanup applications hawked on TV and the Internet. But can they really, or are we just getting scared into coughing up fees for useless services?

Ars Technica says it is most definitely the latter, and as such took on one of those apps to see what exactly, it was doing, and whether or not your computer’s own utility programs can accomplish the same thing.

After running the chosen app’s free scanner on a PC with a barely used, week-old install of Windows 8 on it, the scare tactics these companies use became abundantly clear, notes Ars Technica. There were 1,020 so-called issues on it, said the scanner, offering to fix all those problems for a low fee of just $39.99.

The real issue here is that some of those “issues” are totally normal files, like cookies and things stored in Google Chrome’s cache. Lots of warnings and big red Xs could convince a less experienced PC user that something is seriously wrong.

Instead, Ars Technica advises PC users to scan their hard drives with an anti-virus product like the one built into some versions of Windows or free downloads from Microsoft to get rid of malware.

If things are still moving slow or you’re getting errors, doing a simple Google search could unearth help as well. If your anti-virus program can’t shake an infection, there could be other tools suggested by users on the Internet.

For more guidance, check out the rest of Ars Technica’s post.

Yes, that PC cleanup app you saw on TV at 3am is a waste [Ars Technica]