Something interesting has appeared in the Chinese-language corner of the Microsoft website: a tool called PC Manager that provides easier access to utilities that reside somewhere in the Windows Settings menus.
While the website is in Chinese, the tool is not – so we took it for a spin.
On launch you will see the following screen:
Microsoft PC Manager startup screen – Click to enlarge
The tool has two tabs, one of which is labeled Cleaning. Clicking the Boost button brings up the tool to clean up temporary files. The memory usage metric dropped a pleasing 15 percent after that single click.
The Health check button produces a screen that offers the opportunity to clean temporary files and items in your browser cache or disable startup items.
Filed under “Potential problems” is a single item: “Reset default browser to Edge”.
Yes, nagware disguised as a computer health check. Remember this, dear reader, the next time you hear Microsoft say how respect is one of its values. Its endless exhortations to stop using rivals’ browsers indicate that the company clearly has no respect for users’ choices or time.
The Storage Management option brings users the opportunity to detect and destroy old and useless fonts. This obviously included, on your correspondent’s test machine, three whole kilobytes of Internet Explorer cache – which Microsoft has deprecated in favor of Edge (and which was never installed on the computer I’m using to write this article).
Manage Apps option opens the list of installed apps and offers to remove them. Storage Sense only links to an option to manage when Windows deletes temporary files or unused documents – that’s already available in the Settings menu.
The Process Management button is actually useful as it brings up the next lightweight version of Task Manager. So I don’t need those bottom three processes, and this tool makes it easy to dispel them. A Startup Apps menu also improves the default Windows 11 control panel to handle the software that starts up with a PC – but can’t add startup apps.
Microsoft PC Manager process management screen – Click to enlarge
The “Security” tab has a large button marked “Scan” which appears to run Windows Defender and it took a few minutes to scan 84,000 files on my machine.
Another button offers the opportunity to view and execute available Windows updates.
The Security tab ends with a Browser Protection menu, which again offers the opportunity to reset your default browser to Edge, in addition to a control to turn on features that “Blow change by malicious programs.”
At this point, dear reader, Windows feels like that malicious program, so often it prompts me to start using Edge again.
Microsoft hasn’t said anything publicly about the tool, but another page details its history back to version 1.1 released in March 2022. Version 2.0 arrived in mid-June, followed a month later by version 2.1. the current version 2.2 debuted in mid-August. That monthly cadence was not continued, as here we are two months later in October with no update in sight.
The tool runs on Windows 10 (1809) or later versions of Microsoft’s flagship OS. We’ve asked the company for more information about the tool and will update this story if we receive substantial information. ®