Computer Utilities and Performance
Less is More
Computer Performance is Impacted by Application Count
Computer Speed is Inversely Proportional to the Number of Installed Applications
How many more ways can I say this?
I think that’s adequate.
For longer than I can possibly recall, I have been saying “The fewer applications installed on your computer, the better it will run.” This will always be true. Whether you are running a fire breathing Mac Pro dual Xeon machine or a Windows 10 on an AMD Athlon processor, the fewer applications (programs) installed on the system, the faster it will run.
The more applications you have installed the more software bloat you have to deal with. Every program you install adds more data to the system. There are library files in a Mac and registry entries in a PC that expand exponentially for every application installed. There are massive numbers of files added to your drive for every additional program. The longer a program takes to install, the more “stuff” it is putting on your system. All of this negatively impacts boot time and overall performance. While much of this is necessary to facilitate your use of the computer in question, there are optional programs that do not benefit you – or have hidden impact on the overall performance of your system.
On all PCs you NEED an AntiVirus. Some products load two dozen different services just to launch and run the background processes. This puts a big hit on the performance of your computer. All Antivirus products will have some deleterious impact on system performance, but that is unavoidable. There is, however, a point of diminishing returns. That point is where the system degradation does not equal improved protection. Feel free to ask me about that sometime.
There are more utilities for Windows and Mac systems that I could possibly list here. None of them are necessary.
Let me reiterate:
NONE OF THEM ARE NECESSARY
I myself employ some of these utilities when repairing computers.
Then I uninstall them and clean up the leftovers.
I do this for more than one reason.
It improves performance
It keeps my clients from using something that could get them in trouble.
In many cases the wrong setting in some erstwhile helpful utility can render your computer un-bootable.
- Registry cleaners
- Speed Optimizers
- Onyx (Apple platform)
Every single one of these – and most other utilities – install “helper” or “starter” elements that launch when the computer boots. Every one of these helper elements drains system resources and slows down your computer. All anti-malware products will load at least some services at boot time to perform real-time monitoring of your computer. This is crucial to adequate protection. Having more than one running will definitely hamper your productivity – sometimes with zero actual benefit.
All anti-malware products are not created equal. Some simply work a lot better than others.
A classic example of this is a computer I recently replaced that was “protected” with VIPRE security. When I replaced the computer, I scanned the hard drive with AVG Business Edition and found 30 (THIRTY) viruses and trojans hidden in the file system. This is not unusual. Remember this: In the absence of third party validation, you literally cannot know for sure your computer is virus-free. Just because your antivirus of choice doesn’t alert you to a problem, does not necessarily mean you are safe.
I had a fairly current iMac that was absolutely useless with Onyx installed. Once I uninstalled it and rebooted, the machine was back to normal performance. This is not typical and it varies from version to version of Onyx.
There is NO registry cleaner or performance optimizer the you actually need. I had one computer recently that was hijacked by an alleged computer speed test toolbar. There is no toolbar that is beneficial to you. ALL of them harvest data and sell it. There is no reason to have any of these utilities beyond a single, effective Antivirus installed on any PC. Antivirus of any kind is a waste of money on a Mac. I have yet to see any Mac actually infected by a virus. I’ve seen browsers hijacked by installing bogus applications, but never a virus to date.
Most regular programs are adding in things you don’t know about as well.
- Adobe Acrobat **
- Google Chrome
- Flash Player **
- And almost everything else
They load update and launcher functions at boot time. Most of these are just to make their product “look” better by loading faster. This is because a significant portion of the program is always loaded. Again, this dramatically impacts the performance of your computer. Disabling these functions has have a very positive effect on boot time and overall speed.
If your computer takes more than 90 seconds to fully load and become functional, something is wrong.
Just say NO to computer utilities. The more of them you have installed, but more performance you are sacrificing.
** Both of these install “free” security add-ons when you update them. You have to deselect this option on install or you end up with more bloatware. They do this because the authors of these add-ons pay them to do so.
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