Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Beware over ambitious clean up programs


By Bill Pytlovany

Last month I wrote about problems caused by the security company McAfee. An update from McAfee falsely accused my WinPatrol program of being a dangerous Trojan. A slow response from McAfee cost some business but mostly hurt our reputation for over a week.  I’ve had a number of people ask me how things were going since this annoying experience.

Unfortunately, my story isn’t unusual. What we call “False-Positives” happen all the time and reputable companies take them serious.  Most companies certainly don’t want to cause more harm than they help.

There’s another potential danger from programs promoted as Registry Cleaners and/or system optimizers. They can also delete program files or registry values that they decide may be harmful. How they decide what needs to be cleaned appears to be arbitrary. Currently, the only program of this type I recommend is Optimize 3 from PC Pitstop.

My most recent efforts have been to contact folks with Piriform a company who distributes a program called CCleaner.  This program is well respected as a utility which will help clean up your computer claiming to make it run faster and more secure. One of our friends found out if you’re a WinPatrol user CCleaner will remove one file you’ll want to keep.  CCleaner does provide an option to exclude WinPatrol which for now I recommend unchecking.

While I’m honored to be included, WinPatrol users will want to uncheck this box.  The history.txt file is an important file you won’t want deleted. The history.txt file stores a lists of actions you took using WinPatrol. If for some reason you want to recover a change you’ve made it won’t be possible without the history file. If at sometime you want to clean up this file WinPatrol already provides a button to initialize it.

I’m hoping to contact someone at Piriform so I can let them know what might be useful to clean without hurting WinPatrol.

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This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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6 thoughts on “Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Beware over ambitious clean up programs”

  1. @wyse_tech you are right although I’m surprised you would narrow it down to just this month. I used to really enjoy and utilize a lot of PC Pitstop’s help and products, but after realizing they bash before contacting software makers, drop tracking cookies all over my computer, and the worst of all had me run a trial version of one of their software programs which showed my computer was riddled with viruses, only to pay to be able to remove them and find they were ALL harmless test viruses from Norton’s anti-virus program. I demanded my money back and have been extremely wary of all things PC Pitstop. After all this is EXACTLY the type of behavior they warn us to be wary of with other people’s software!

  2. I use optimize 3 currently, now getting advertisements for PC Matic, which is better, why do I want to run 2 products, can I get a credit for my existing purchase to purchase the new program?
    BJ Strother

  3. It appears to me that the mission for PC Pitstop this month is to bash software from others.

    It also appears to me that maybe Winpatrol leaves a lot of useless junk in it’s wake.

    I don’t see Malwarebytes or Microsoft whinning.

    McAfee is a different story. Once the very best Anti Virus is now the very worst in my opinion.

  4. Hi Bill What annoys me with many PC cleanup utilities is the fact they alter settings one has previously and labourously set up One that is most annoying is that I use single click in mouse options and this is always reset to the default of double click Grrrrrrr LOL

  5. I have tried many of these cleaners in the past and the only one I find really useful is ccleaner. The other cleaners appear to remove a lot but produce little real results and cause more problems.

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