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At some point and time you will come across an application you wish you had never installed. While most new programs come with uninstall features built in, there are a few that still lack this functionality. When the Windows add and remove function may not be enough, or you face a particularly painful program removal, you may need an application devoted to this function.
Several years ago I came across an application that was excellent with regards to removing old applications and clearing hard drives of useless files. Simply titled McAfee Uninstaller, as memory serves me, worked well at not only removing software but cleaning up the mess created by sloppy uninstall programs. When I made the migration to Windows XP after staying with 98 for perhaps one too many years, I wondered if this trustworthy application was still around.
Now titled, QuickClean, version 3 is the new updated version of what I knew of as a distinguished application that performed miracles regarding backups and uninstalling applications. The most noticeable difference superficially between this new version 3 and the uninstall I knew so well is the interface.
The new interface that is part of QuickClean 3 is much more simplified than the previous version I was familiar with back in the 90’s. On one level this new simplification is good. However there was little to complain about regarding the older McAfee Uninstaller. In the new version 3, the emphasis is now on wizards. Rather than pointing towards specific functions, the whole system is built on a question and answer system. You see a series of questions and functions and then proceed to narrow things down to the specific function you need. When opening QuickClean, the very first image greeting you is a picture of your hard drive and a series of tasks located to the immediate left of the image.
The tasks are broken down into two categories, tasks and advanced tasks. For those that are more than a bit familiar with Windows, this may not be necessary. On the other hand, for newbie’s, or those with just basic needs, the menu system is not that convoluted and does allow fast access to specific functions. It does get to the point. If nothing else, the wizard approach does simplify the process of cleaning a hard drive and making short order of the tasks at hand.
Aside from the new wizards, QuickClean is now broken down into two distinct sections. The first is accurately titled QuickClean on the program menu and the other, appropriately enough, QuickClean Lite. Much like the lite and heavy duty versions that Nero Burning Rom includes, QuickClean makes the task of system cleaning even easier by giving you a real basics menu that does it all. If you are familiar with Norton Utilities’ one button solution, QuickClean Lite works around the same parameters. The emphasis here is on scanning, features and one touch control. While experienced users may not need this functionality, those new to utilities may find this is all they ever need in cleaning their PC of useless files. For those moments when you want to maintain on the fly, the one touch approach is a time saver.
Certainly adding new interfaces and quickie menus is great, but QuickClean goes one step, or rather several, further than the old version. In this revision the functionality includes a custom rule creator. Let's say you wish to clean a set of files periodically. QuickClean allows you to customize the application in this manner. There is now a spy detection utility built into QuickClean. With this function you can scan your computer for pesky files that some Web sites secretly plant on your hard drive to monitor your comings, goings, preferences and whatever else someone wants to know without you knowing it while you surf the World Wide Web. While this feature may not rival a dedicated application devoted to this purpose, it does expand on the basic foundation of an uninstall utility; to uninstall applications.
QuickClean can now clean out email messages from Outlook without you having to open the actual email program. QuickClean can now dig right in and start erasing old emails, sent emails and deleted ones. There is also a cookie remover, active X remover, plug-in cleaner and Temporary Internet cleaner as well. If you have any orphan files, usually short cuts for programs you no longer have on your hard drive, QuickClean can now take care of those. Even duplicate files, Internet cache files and the like can be scanned found and eliminated. I do suggest with any file cleaning utility to always exercise care. Often computers do need duplicate files in order to function. So do be careful when using any feature such as this one. Fortunately there are protections built into QuickClean, but always be aware of what you are deleting before you hit the delete key.
To adjust settings, the advanced menu provides you access to all of the features you need to fine tune the application. Looking very much like the rest of the program, this section allows you some control of your uninstall features. One in particular is known as ARC. The Application Removal Cleaner is a unique feature in that it is configured to automatically turn on and monitor the uninstall of a program. By default this feature is turned on when you load QuickClean onto your system. What ARC does is watch as a program is removed. Should there be remnants from a faulty uninstall, ARC can check to see where the remains are for a final deletion. During the uninstall you have the option of deleting, shredding, compressing or moving the remnant files, or documents, to a new computer or location. While uninstall features in individual applications vary widely in quality and comprehensiveness, it never hurts to have a dedicated application running to see that precious hard drive space is not wasted. Even if you have a large hard drive, the new applications, and in particular video, can take up valuable disk real estate very quickly. Even the largest drives can be made small when running and editing videos. So it never hurts to reclaim space wasted by an application that has outlived its life expectancy.
In addition to erasing, backing up, removing and moving software, QuickClean ships with a shredder. What this does is effectively erases a file by over writing the hard disk space where the file was kept. By doing so it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to ever retrieve a given file. Unfortunately, the shredder in QuickClean only partially works with the NTFS file system. For most Windows XP and Windows 2000 users, this means limited file shredding abilities. What shredder cannot do on a NTFS system is shred files in the Recycle Bin or shred empty space on the hard drive. On a system with FAT full functionality is available.
What is not made so clear is that to remove the irritating screen that pops up in the Recycle Bin as you delete files requires a registry edit for the NTFS file system. The good news is that this correction is not that difficult. Even though it does require making a change to the very sensitive Windows registry, this is one alteration that anyone can make. Just follow the easy to follow step by step guide, and your Recycle Bin will be back to normal. For those using FAT32 this step is not needed. For those that have migrated to NTFS, check out support immediately at: http://www.mcafeehelp.com/ for details on how to alter the registry.
The McAfee QuickClean instruction manual, which weighs in at a lean 55 pages, does not make note of this feature, or partially available feature to the best of my knowledge. So just keep in mind that you will want to make a modification to the registry when you install QuickClean on a PC running the NTFS system. While your Recycle Bin will work without it, I cannot imagine leaving it in that state.
Of all of the quick clean utilities I have worked with, few can come close to the comprehensiveness, or even ease of use, that McAfee offers. Minus the small issues with the file shredder in the NTFS format, this still ranks as major, if not essential, application for those that want to keep their computers in top shape.
Even if you are just a casual internet user, files can quickly pile up on a hard drive. Even the most basic use of a computer can lead to pileups, buildups and sometimes orphaned files and partial uninstalls. QuickClean 3 provides a simple all in one multi purpose cleaner than works well. Although Windows comes with its own cleaner, it fails to offer this type of comprehensiveness such as back up, retrieval and even file registry cleaning. Utilities are an important part of computing, and I cannot imagine a user not wanting, or needing, an application like QuickClean. Right after virus protection and a firewall, quick cleaning is one of those essentials that can not only allow your system to run at peak performance, but also alleviate some issues that can arise from faulty program installs. Considering what is on the market now, I do recommend QuickClean as one of the best in its class.
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