Personal Computer Cleanup Maid

Quarterdeck's CleanSweep Deluxe is a multi-purpose utility that can help you with the boring but imperative task of file cleanup. Windows NT and 95 users who frequently use the Internet or download and install programs will appreciate CleanSweep. The program comes on a CD-ROM and contains both the NT and Win95 versions.

A user-friendly wizard eases installation. The wizard provides an initial file scan, which was the fastest and most thorough of any uninstall program I've ever used. The product comes with a manual and online Help files, although you will seldom need help with this program. You accomplish CleanSweep Deluxe tasks from a single panel of tabs, which you can see in Screen 1. Inside the Program, Cleanup, Internet Sweep, Restore, View, Registry, and Options tabs are the tools to tidy up your floppy and hard disks.

Internet Sweep was my first stop. I wanted to see how well the program finds and uninstalls those pesky cookies that many Web sites send when you download a program. Clicking the Internet Cache Cleanup button opened a standard warning, which explained that once I began cleaning the cache I would be unable to undo the task. CleanSweep automatically cleaned my cache files for Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and America Online simultaneously. I was disappointed there was no option to specify which browser's cache to clean, but it worked fine nonetheless.

Next I opened the Uninstall Wizard, which alone is worth the price of the program. When you use the Uninstall Wizard to uninstall a program, you have the choice of removing the files or compressing them to keep a backup copy. In my tests, I used the Uninstall Wizard to uninstall many programs, including Microsoft Image editor, which removed more than 12MB of files while using only 4MB for the backup. The savings in diskspace is profitable, and I liked having the option of quickly reinstalling the program from within CleanSweep.

A particularly frustrating issue appeared when I uninstalled Microsoft Image Composer because I received a Non-responding...Wait message. CleanSweep documentation explains that this message might appear, but that you must click on the Wait button at least once. I clicked on it for more than 25 minutes without any change or completion. I finally just shut down my system. Although when I rebooted I noticed no problems with my system, Quarterdeck would be wise to fix this waiting problem or be more specific about how long users must wait.

Another issue occurred when using CleanSweep to uninstall programs I had open. I went through each step without a hitch, but when I selected Finish, a file error stated I did not have rights to delete certain files. However, after I closed the programs, the error did not appear. The error is misleading and should instead explain that the program is open and must be closed before uninstalling. Incidentally, CleanSweep generates a convenient Close first... message when you attempt to uninstall an open program under Win95.

The product's Restore feature is incredible. It can restore a previously uninstalled program in less than 10 seconds if the file backup was not overridden. This feature proved invaluable in my tests not only for saving space, but also for restoring programs quickly when I no longer needed the extra space.

CleanSweep's Cleanup tab is essentially useless, because the resulting file lists that need to be scanned are huge, especially in dual-boot systems running NT and 95. If you accidentally delete files or DLLs, you can render one or both operating systems inoperable. The risk of error and amount of time scanning was not worth small disk savings.

Some CleanSweep options, such as Internet Sweep, can become time-consuming because they require constant scrolling and manual selection of files you want to delete. Yet another limitation of the program is that users of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems cannot use the Smart Sweep, Internet Sweep, or Usage Watch features.

When the Safety Sweep option is enabled (which is the default), deleting files within CleanSweep that the program deems critical is impossible, although you can still delete files within File Manager or at the Command Prompt. Files are color-coded to help you distinguish files you should never delete, files that you can delete if you are cautious, and files that you can delete without giving them a second thought. The shortcoming is that Safety Sweep may identify the vast majority of files as critical with little flexibility. To new users this feature may be helpful, but experienced users will find it more cumbersome and offers little flexibility in file management.

CleanSweep Deluxe contains incredibly useful wizards, as well as a few features that are best ignored. The product is powerful and easy to use, and it definitely eases file cleanup. Including an option for easy deletion of backup files that CleanSweep creates would truly give an edge to this program. All in all, CleanSweep Deluxe receives high marks for terrific installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling of programs and files, although as noted, some options not very useful.

CleanSweep Deluxe
Contact : Quarterdeck * 573-443-3282 or 800-354-3222, Web: http://www.quarterdeck.com
Price: Starts at $59, upgrades available at $19
System Requirements: 33MHz 486 or greater, Windows NT Workstation or Server 4.0, 12MB of hard disk space, 16MB of RAM (recommended)
(One of the following) Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or greater, Netscape Navigator 3.0 or greater AOL 3.0