There are many excellent PC optimizers that really do work as advertised. However, there are just as many badly-behaving scam downloads that contain spyware, malware, or are just in-effective. I am no longer surprised to see all of the scum-ware repackaged under different names, as I routinely check out PC optimizer software. Suffice to say, none of it ever makes it to our review queue.
Are PC Optimizers a Scam?
Common optimizer scams involve presenting numerous fake results after a system scan to entice the user to purchase the full version. It should be noted, there will always be a wide range of discrepancies from one optimizer to another when comparing results. It doesn't mean that a good registry cleaner that finds more errors than another is a scam - it may be a better programmed cleaner that is digging deeper into the registry. In fact, some times the opposite is true - a registry cleaner that finds very few errors - may contain ancient programming code with a shiny new interface to appear modern - but in the end creates system corruption.
Many marketing Gurus obtain outdated and cheap programs to "pretty-up" and sell to unsuspecting users as modern optimizers. These can cause system corruption and have undesirable effects, once installed on modern PCs. Usually money back guarantees are not provided and support will be through a non-functioning contact form.
How to Check if a PC Optimizer is Safe
To check if a PC optimizer is safe, you can use any anti-virus software you have installed. This includes Microsoft Defender which is on your PC by default with Windows 10. Simply download the file and BEFORE opening it, right-click on it and select "Scan with Microsoft Defender".
To be more thorough, and this is what we do, you can scan the file with a large group of AV programs using malware scanners online. You'll get a good indication of the file's trustworthiness. Keep in mind, all PC optimization software needs access to your core OS components, so some anti-virus scans may flag it as malware - but it's still possible the program is safe. This is known as a false positive and may occur if the developer never submitted their program to be on the AV's white list.
Here's a few online malware scanners. We also discuss false positives and what to do if you suspect a file may be harmful below.
Online Malware Scanners:
VirusTotal - Free Online Virus, Malware and URL Scanner.
MetaDefender - Cloud Malware Scanner from Opswat.
In cases where you believe there may be false-positives or suspect the file may be harmful, you should research further to see the online consensus of the program. We recommend searching through various tech forums, Reddit, etc. Simply search on Google for that info. type in "the-software-name" + forum, or reddit, or scam, etc.
Safe PC Cleaners and Optimizers that really work
If you're considering a PC cleaner or optimizer program, don't let the few bad apples spoil your intent to enhance your PC speed and stability. There are many quality computer and Internet optimization solutions available.
We have been using optimizers successfully for years and have created a list of the best PC optimizers that are safe. These quality optimizers are all programmed by industry leading professionals with great reputations. Extremely effective at optimizing your PC and Internet, easy to use, and most importantly... they're 100% safe.
SpeedupNew (a collaborative effort by our team)
All of our writers have over a decade of experience reviewing software, tweaking, and just flat out enjoying their computers. We treasure our PC's just like you do. We're here to help you get the most out of your computer.