How to PC cleanup like a boss

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PC cleanups used to be every IT business owner’s dream. All you had to do to significantly speed up a Windows XP machine was defrag the hard drive and run ccleaner to clean the registry. If your client was lucky, you might bother to uninstall a few spam programs but some consultants might save that for an “advanced tune up” or a separately charged “virus scan”. Either way, you can kind of get the idea that for a long time, speeding up someone’s computer was easy to do impressively and had an extremely high profit margin.*

However, these days, Windows 7+ OSs defrag themselves automatically, PCs are generally fast (ish) so temporary files and registry errors don’t affect the speed noticeably. “What can I do to impress my clients with sluggish computers then?”

If you are a well established IT consultant, or you own an IT shop, even with my method PC cleanups probably still aren’t profitable for you. However, for the newbies like me who just need to draw in and impress clients, this method may well help you get what you need to done efficiently.

My PC cleanup methodology

This is my method for cleaning up Windows computers:

1. Clean out all the temporary files with System Ninja

System Ninja (a freeware alternative to ccleaner) is great. It functions the same as ccleaner, yet is free for commercial use. A quick analyse and fix will remove all of the unnecessary files that may be clogging up the computer

2. Make sure that they have a decent antivirus

Before you do a virus scan, you should make sure that they have one and one only antivirus that is decent. The antiviruses that I see as “acceptable” are:

  • Bitdefender (my favourite)
  • Kaspersky
  • Microsoft security essentials
  • Norton
  • McAfee (I hate it, but it can be seen as “acceptable”)

If your client doesn’t have one of these, or a decent one that you recognize, install Microsoft Security Essentials (no sign up, cuts through the crap and does its job well enough) for them.

Run an antivirus scan

If you are an IT consultant and don’t know how to do this, be worried. I usually use the client’s antivirus because it is hassle free and usually good enough. However, if you have the money I reccomend that you buy a subscription of “Malwarebytes Tech Bench” or “Spybot search and destroy” to standardize your method.

Look for browser hijackers and unnecessary tool-bars

Obviously you can usually see these by opening the browser and looking for nasty “babylon toolbars”or similar, which are not detected by the antivirus because technically many of them are legal and have been installed by the user by accident. I love to use Hijack-this-portable to find and fix browser hijackers. Note that not all of the items detected by this software are Hijackers, so you have to look through them yourself.

Remove unnecesary startup programs

Using MSCONFIG, ccleaner or System Ninja, you should stop all unnecessary processes from starting on boot.

Check for software updates

You can do this manually, or using an amazing piece of software called Secunia PSI that scans all the existing software for updates.

The extra little bits

Here are some extra bits that don’t need their own h3 headings:

  • Clean screen with a microfiber cloth
  • Use an air duster to remove dust from tower
  • Delete all of the unnecessary shortcuts

If you know of any neat tips and tricks, please comment on this article below!

*Now, some of you who have read my previous articles will be saying “Phil’s only 15, what is he on about?”. To be very honest, I have only been in the consulting world for 6 months, and I’m still in full time education so clearly don’t have hundreds or thousands of hours’ experience consulting.


Phil Tower

Email: -- Website: -- Bio: Young IT Consultant looking for opportunities

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1 Comment

  1. Yaniv Norman June 23, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Good post, I never heard of System Ninja – always good to learn new tricks :).
    I suggest you add ESET to the Anti virus list, they are really good (both personal and enterprise versions).

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