Microsoft Releases PC Manager Beta to Optimize Windows Performance

Windows 11
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Microsoft is beta testing, in a bit of a secretive way, an app called PC Manager that fills the niche currently populated by CCleaner and Huawei’s PC Manager. It scans your PC for unwanted files, can free up RAM, and ties into Windows Defender to block malicious apps. Unfortunately, it also nags you to change your browser to Microsoft Edge.

The PC Manager app

(Image credit: Microsoft)

We first learned about the app in a tweet from Aggiornamenti Lumia (opens in new tab), which led to a story on XDA Developers (opens in new tab). The pcmanager.microsoft.com (opens in new tab) site was found to be active but in Chinese. Eventually, with the app not appearing on the Microsoft Store, a download link for an .exe file (opens in new tab) was discovered, and people could start trying it out for themselves.

The app is a simple one that loads at startup, then sits in the system tray. When invoked, it scans your storage to discover any cruft it deems worthy of being swept away. There's a RAM boost feature that increased the amount of free RAM on our test machine by about 10% A process inspector performs its best Task Manager impression by allowing you to end unused programs, and it can tell you about the effect other startup apps are having on the performance of your machine - something already in the OS via the Startup Apps page of Settings.

It also duplicates some Windows Defender functionality, with a Scan button for threats, and checks Windows Update. It also has a few less welcome abilities: nagging us to change our default browser from Chrome to Edge (we're old-fashioned, ok) and recommending we turn off Malwarebytes.

While the app is still clearly in beta - it's displayed at the top at all times - it's a welcome addition to Windows, bringing together some disparate but related tools in one place.

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • Metal Messiah.
    Unfortunately, it also nags you to change your browser to Microsoft Edge.

    So once again Microsoft is STILL trying to push users to switch to its own Edge browser, forcing them to change their default browser ? Pretty annoying move, if you ask me.

    And I never understood why MS is always in the habit of forcing customers though. They have even forced users to upgrade their Windows OS as well few years back when Windows 10 came out, unless I'm mistaken.
    Reply
  • TechieTwo
    It's all about consumer control and having an industry monopoly. IME all Microsoft products are beta and consumers are the unpaid testers of these defect riddled products. The belief that it's acceptable to have defective code because there are "millions of lines of code" is irrational and irresponsible - which is the whole point.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Metal Messiah. said:
    So once again Microsoft is STILL trying to push users to switch to its own Edge browser, forcing them to change their default browser ? Pretty annoying move, if you ask me.
    Apple, Chromebook, same thing.

    And here, they are not "forcing", but annoyingly recommending.
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    I think I'll stick with BleachBit and regular old Disk Cleanup for getting rid of temp/cache files and Memory Cleaner for the rare occasion where I feel like trimming how much RAM is being used without closing things.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    Just don’t use it. Period. I won’t be. I’ve already optimized windows and I don’t need any help.

    this is just garbage software like that cleaner software people use

    I’ve got work to do and I don’t like playing games on the PC with management software
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    Metal Messiah. said:
    So once again Microsoft is STILL trying to push users to switch to its own Edge browser, forcing them to change their default browser ? Pretty annoying move, if you ask me.

    And I never understood why MS is always in the habit of forcing customers though. They have even forced users to upgrade their Windows OS as well few years back when Windows 10 came out, unless I'm mistaken.
    Because the books the support people follow are all for MS software only, so if you (not you you but in general) are using something else they can't help you and that adds cost.
    They are a business and they do need to streamline all they can.
    TechieTwo said:
    It's all about consumer control and having an industry monopoly. IME all Microsoft products are beta and consumers are the unpaid testers of these defect riddled products. The belief that it's acceptable to have defective code because there are "millions of lines of code" is irrational and irresponsible - which is the whole point.
    /s
    Exactly, they should release one OS once every 20 years because that's how long it would take to make sure everything runs well with a team of hundreds of people.
    /s
    Mandark said:
    Just don’t use it. Period. I won’t be. I’ve already optimized windows and I don’t need any help.

    this is just garbage software like that cleaner software people use

    I’ve got work to do and I don’t like playing games on the PC with management software
    Have you ever thought about there may be people less comfortable with an OS than you are?! Did it ever cross your mind?
    Reply
  • wr3zzz
    I am all for it. Not for what it can do but just so a native Windows feature can help drive out the third party "doctor" software infesting on the non-tech public. Like 99% of those are malware.
    Reply
  • Colif
    wr3zzz said:
    I am all for it. Not for what it can do but just so a native Windows feature can help drive out the third party "doctor" software infesting on the non-tech public. Like 99% of those are malware.
    I agree with this message. Can it then be decided ccleaner is a pup :)
    How are Norton going to make any money if Microsoft fill in all the gaps.
    Now to get rid of driver updaters that install the wrong drivers.

    The Edge reminder is a small price to pay. It tying into defender won't help me as I don't use Defender.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Colif said:
    How are Norton going to make any money if Microsoft fill in all the gaps.
    By suing MS for 'illegal bundling'.

    Which is how we ended up with the "N" versions in the EU.
    Reply
  • Colif
    So fixing bugs is anti competitive now?
    Why should you have to maintain the life support of vultures?

    Norton can just turn on the crypto add on as a default option. They soon make money again.
    Reply