Windows often get clogged with unnecessary files, like a teenager’s bedroom floor. Microsoft has improved both Windows itself and the tools designed to manage it over the past few years, and it looks like the company is preparing yet another way for users to keep their PCs running smoothly. A beta version of “PC Manager” has appeared on a Microsoft website in China, apparently offering a finished tool that should look familiar to users of the classic CCleaner freeware.
Although the website is entirely in Chinese, the tool itself has Microsoft’s publishing signature and appears to be safe and complete, and it installs in English on my computer. It offers a centralized location for several tools that are already present in various parts of Windows’ various configuration menus and administrative programs. The seemingly complete tool will remove unused temp files, perform a deep scrubbing of storage disks and quickly show running processes and startup programs (which were easier to find in the Task Manager since Windows 10). The “Security” tab is basically a simple interface for Windows Update and Windows Security.
The program was spotted by The Verge, which notes many similarities to free computer optimization programs such as CCleaner. It’s also yet another example of Microsoft’s less-than-subtle push for users to switch to its Edge browser. The “Browser Protection” tab offers a dedicated toggle. But bringing back an easy-to-use, easy-to-recommend cleaning tool could be a big deal for those who are the de facto tech supports of our family.
For more than a decade, a program called CCleaner has been at the top of every freeware recommendation list. It was a fool-proof way to clean up the often messy Windows registry and other unwanted files that wreak havoc on a hard drive. But after the developer was acquired by Avast in 2017, coupled with the oft-pushed antivirus software, and accidentally came with a Trojan horse infecting millions of computers, it had a hard and fast fall from grace. CCleaner is still offered by Avast in both free and paid forms, but it is largely eclipsed by other free programs and more user-accessible tools built into Windows.
Despite the tool being marked as “Public Beta”, Microsoft has not mentioned PC Manager outside of China. We’ll keep an eye out for a wider release. In the meantime, check out our guide to the best free software for your PC. Microsoft’s new tool might just make the list once it gets a proper launch.