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Installing CleanSweep is a breeze. Insert the CD-ROM, click Next during a brief series of introductory screens, and sit back as the program installs itself in minutes. The default setup configures Windows to launch the SmartSweep utility at Windows start-up; this tool logs every change made to your system when you install a program and allows CleanSweep to remove all traces of the programs you want to delete. (Windows' uninstaller, by comparison, is notorious for leaving behind bits and pieces of deleted apps.) Similarly, InternetSweep, which also loads at Windows start-up, monitors ActiveX downloads from the Net for easy deletion later.
Easy to use
CleanSweep's uncluttered interface makes disk cleanup painless. Menu choices are followed by brief text explanations that describe their purpose. For instance, Fast & Safe Cleanup "quickly removes unnecessary files to free up disk space." No confusion there. Once you select a tool, CleanSweep scans the computer and requests your approval before deleting any files. In CNET tests, Fast & Safe quickly scanned our system and in less than a minute tagged 7.8MB of unneeded files (mostly from the browser cache and Recycle Bin) for deletion. We had the option of viewing the targeted file types (such as temp files) and checking the boxes of those we wished to remove.
User control is important because CleanSweep sometimes makes errors in judgment. When we used CleanSweep to delete BearShare, a file-swapping utility similar to Napster, the program tagged for deletion dozens of digital music (MP3) files stored in a BearShare subfolder. (A more intelligent program might have recommended saving files with the .mp3 extension.)
CleanSweep's program uninstaller is painless to use; simply select the app you wish to delete from an Explorer-like list. Surprisingly, some competitors, such as Ultra WinCleaner 2002, don't have integrated uninstallers but simply access Windows' often unreliable Add/Remove Programs utility to zap apps. CleanSweep includes an easy-to-use backup tool for archiving seldom-used programs.
Symantec offers first-rate free support for CleanSweep users. Its Web site includes an online form for e-mail support, and our questions were answered promptly (typically, within a few hours). There's also a searchable knowledge base with articles on known technical problems, a troubleshooter tool that steps you through problems, and product tutorials. If you want phone support, however, you'll have to pay $29.95 per incident, or $2.95 per minute.
Norton CleanSweep 2002, with its winning combination of powerful disk-cleaning tools, low price, and an uncomplicated interface, is tops in its class.
--by Jeff Bertolucci