Tune up and clean up Windows. Save space, boost performance

There are many tools to tune up and clean up Windows and they promise to make your computer run like new, but are they safe? PC Manager is by Microsoft, which gives it an advantage.

Microsoft makes Windows, so who better to make a clean-up, tune-up and optimizer utility for your PC? It promises to boost your PC’s performance by clearing out the gigabytes of junk that accumulates in the system over time.

Removing unnecessary files recovers space on the drive (SSD or HDD), and this can be a life-saver if you are down to your last few gigabytes of storage. It depends on your PC, but you might recover 2 or 3 gigabytes of storage simply by deleting things you don’t need, like caches, updates and temporary files.

A worry with tools to clean up Windows is that they might remove something that is needed, and you don’t discover this until it is too late and something in Windows or software does not work anymore. A Microsoft tool for Microsoft Windows should automatically avoid any issues like that and give you more confidence in cleaning up.

Download PC Manager from Microsoft for free. It was a beta version when I tried it, so it was not yet finished. However, it is good enough to use right now. It has it’s own page on the Microsoft site, but I would expect it to appear in the Store when it is finished. It runs on Windows 11 and 10.

PC Manager home screen

Microsoft PC Manager app running in Windows
PC Manager home screen

Run PC Manager and wait a few seconds for it to scan the system. It then shows memory usage and temporary files. The total wasted space can be several gigabytes. There is a simple Boost button to automatically clean up and tune up the computer.

I never use one-click clean-up tools because I worry that they will delete something either I or the system needs. What clean-up tools think is unimportant, might actually be important to me.

It is up to you, but I always visit each of the sections, see what it wants to do, and make sure it is only deleting things I want. There are four sections: Health check, Storage management, Process management and Startup apps.

PC Manager Health check

PC Manager for Windows health check
Check the PC’s health with PC Manager

Click Health check on the PC Manager home screen and a short list of items to clean up is presented. There are many more clean-up features elsewhere, but you can clean up here too. Just tick the items to clean, they are all safe. Below are Potential issues and Startup apps to disable. Both are elsewhere in the app and are here just for convenience.

Health check appears to be a sort of quick clean-up tool that has a bit of everything. However, there are more detailed tools that do more in the other sections of PC Manager.

PC Manager Storage manager

Microsoft PC Manager utility storage manager
PC Manager Storage manager

Open the Storage manager section from the home screen and there is Deep cleanup, Manage large files, Manage apps and Storage sense. These last two items are really just shortcuts to the relevant sections in the Windows Settings app, but you may find it easier to find the settings from here.

Deep Cleanup in Microsoft PC Manager
Delete junk files in PC Manager with Deep cleanup

Deep cleanup is a useful tool that can clean up Windows and it scans the system and produces a list of items that can safely be removed. Things like old Windows Update files, Recycle bin, temporary files, thumbnail cache and web caches.

Tick the items you want to remove and then click the Proceed button at the top to recover all the space. This looks perfectly safe and there is nothing here that you should worry about. Go ahead and clear them.

Find large files on the disk with Microsoft PC Manager utility
Perform a custom file search with PC Manager

Manage large files is a tool to perform a custom search in Explorer. You just select the options you want and click View in File Explorer. A File Explorer window opens to display the results.

I find this type of feature, here and in other cleanup apps, is not that useful, mainly because big files are often valuable things like videos of important events and people. A regular Explorer window opens to show the files, so nothing is deleted unless you delete it yourself. It is safe to use, but think before you delete anything.

PC Manager Process management

Microsoft PC Manager process management
End unused processes in PC Manager

From the home screen, click Process management and PC Manager lists processes (things that are running), that you can close. It says End unused processes to make your system run faster, which sounds great, but I found it listed apps I was actually using.

It could be useful if you have dozens of apps running and have forgotten about them, but otherwise I would ignore this feature in PC Manager or you could quit apps you need.

PC Manager Startup apps

Manage startup apps in Windows with Microsoft PC Manager
List startup apps and disable them in PC Manager

This is another PC Manager feature that is not very useful. It is much better to open Task Manager and select the Startup apps tab. That shows many more apps that start with Windows.

The ultimate startup apps manager is Autoruns, which is brilliant, but it requires some technical knowledge to understand. Use Task Manager if you are not a tech geek.

PC Manager Security

Microsoft PC Manager security features
Security features in PC Manager

At the bottom of the PC Manager home screen is a Security button. Click it and there is a button to scan for threats. This runs a scan using Windows Security (Defender) in the background and then presents the results. It hasn’t found anything on my PC, but presumably it will offer to remove malware if any is found.

The other option in the Security section is Windows Update. It shows when it last check for updates and if any are available. If there are updates, you can list them and click an Update button to download and install them.

PC Manager conclusion

PC Manager is by Microsoft and is a safer tool to use than third party utilities that may go too far and clean things that should be left alone. This tool does not try to optimize the registry for example, because it is safer to leave it alone.

The Health check and Storage management features are good and can be used to free up drive storage. I don’t like the Process management or Startup apps tools because they are too limited. However, the Security section has useful features.

There is nothing in PC Manager that you cannot find elsewhere in Windows. Everything you need is in Disk Clean-up utility, Task Manager, Windows Security, Windows Update, Settings and other places.

However, PC Manager makes brings everything together in one simple app that anyone can use. It is recommended and it should be a standard feature of Windows. Install it, it’s great.

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