Something interesting has surfaced in a Chinese-language corner of Microsoft’s website: a tool called PC Manager, which offers easier access to utilities located somewhere in the Windows settings menus.
While the site is in Chinese, the tool isn’t — so we gave it a try.
Upon booting, you will see the following screen:
Microsoft PC Manager Home Screen – Click to enlarge
The tool has two tabs, one of which is labeled Cleanup. When you click the Boost button, the tool will clean up temporary files. Memory usage metrics dropped by a gratifying 15 percent after that single click.
The Health Check button generates a screen that offers the option to clean temporary files and content in your browser cache or disable startup items.
There is a single item under “Possible problems”: “Reset default browser on Edge”.
Yes, nagware disguised as a PC health check. Keep that in mind, dear reader, the next time you hear Microsoft say that respect is one of their values. Its endless admonitions to stop using the competition’s browsers show that the company clearly doesn’t respect users’ choices or time.
The memory management option provides users with the ability to detect and destroy old and useless fonts. Apparently, that included on your correspondent’s test computer three whole kilobytes of cache from Internet Explorer – which Microsoft has scrapped in favor of Edge (and which was never installed on the PC I’m using to write this article).
A Manage Apps option opens the list of installed apps and offers to remove them. Storage Sense just links to an option to manage when Windows deletes temporary files or unused documents – already available in the Settings menu.
The Process Management button is actually useful as it produces the following lite version of the task manager. So I don’t need those three processes below and this tool makes it easy to disperse them. A Start Apps menu also improves on Windows 11’s standard Control Panel for handling software that starts with a PC – but can’t add startup apps.
Microsoft PC Manager Process Management Screen – Click to enlarge
On the Security tab is a big button that says Scan, which appears to be running Windows Defender and it took a few minutes to scan 84,000 files on my computer.
Another button provides the ability to view and run available Windows updates.
The Security tab ends with a browser protection menu, again offering the option to reset your default browser to Edge, as well as a control to enable features that “block modifications made by malicious apps”.
At this point, dear reader, Windows feels like this malicious app so often it pushes me to resume using Edge.
Microsoft hasn’t said anything publicly about the tool, but another site details its history back to a 1.1 version released in March 2022. Version 2.0 arrived in mid-June, followed by version 2.1 a month later. the current version 2.2 debuted in mid-August. This monthly cadence has not continued as we are here two months later in October with no update in sight.
The tool runs on Windows 10 (1809) or later versions of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. We’ve reached out to the company for more information about the tool, and we’ll update this story if we get any material information. ®
https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/24/microsoft_china_pc_manager_utility/ Microsoft’s Chinese website unveils free ‘PC Manager’ app • The Register