CleanSweep for Administrators clears cobwebs

CleanSweep for Administrators clears cobwebs

When PCs first became tools instead of toys, seasoned system managers resisted them; not because PCs weren't useful, but because they were so useful that users were filling up their hard drives with programs and utilities faster than could be imagined. It's even harder to imagine that giving users yet another program could alleviate the situation.

But Quarterdeck's CleanSweep for Administrators, Version 1.0, offers the tools users need and gives administrators the control that lets them sleep at night. As far as Windows uninstallers go, this is a solid application worth considering. The only serious limitation of CleanSweep for Administrators is a lack of network integration.

Standard configuration

The primary method used in my shop for dealing with Windows problems is restoring systems to a standard configuration with an image duplicator. Although this offers a quick solution, loading a new image on a PC is not without its problems - saved data disappears, as do phone lists, game scores, and other items that become relevant to people only once they are removed. And so for most shops, programs such as CleanSweep may be a better choice for front-line use.

However, a major limitation I found to using CleanSweep for Administrators is that I could not use it in greater conjunction with the network. As a network manager, I should have been able to reschedule automatic diagnostics, change the diagnostics available to a user, or force a PC to run diagnostics without having to visit the PC or use a separate remote control package. But CleanSweep for Administrator's limited network capabilities force you to do one or the other.

It was during the installation process that things started to get a bit funky, both conceptually and in practice. There are three stages in the installation of CleanSweep for Administrators. First, the installation program is copied to the network. Next, the administrator decides who will have access to which CleanSweep functions and then uses the configuration wizard to set parameters for the appropriate installations.

Finally, users can install CleanSweep for Administrators on their systems. The installation configurations are controlled by a text config- uration file that is created by the configuration wizard.

The configuration file was quite small, amounting to less than 1KB in size, and I could see only two methods of making this file available to users. The first was to create a separate installation directory for each class of user, which would require another 10MB or so of installation software for each group of users that is decided upon. By giving users access only to their installation directory, they are then authorised to use the permissions set for them by the system manager.

Alternatively, I could change the names of the configuration files and provide the users with instructions concerning how to install the software with the appropriate controls intact. The bottom line is that CleanSweep for Administrators is not looking at any network information to determine who is using a particular PC, and therefore it is not using that information to grant or deny access to functions.

A provision is included that allows a temporary override of restrictions, so that a technician can use the more advanced functions; however, accessing these advanced functions is somewhat cumbersome.

Despite the tricky installation process, CleanSweep for Administrators is a powerful and stable set of tools once installed. The product watches software installations to provide better removals than the usual uninstall wizard can manage; its uninstall tool can be set up as an extension of the desktop; and it cleans up duplicate files, including programs and DLL files.

In addition, the software can clean up cache files from common Internet browsers, remove abandoned ActiveX files, and otherwise maintain the health and disk space of Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT systems. In the short time that I have used CleanSweep for Administrators, the CleanSweep functions have become standard tools for me, and it's hard to overstate their value. Most of what passes for network administration is actually client administration, and this tool has resolved a number of my Windows maintenance problems.

However, as a network administrator, I do not think of this as a network management application, or even a networked application. It's a client diagnostic tool that makes limited use of the network to assist in its installation. Although CleanSweep for Administrators works very well on the client, using Novell's Application Launcher or ZENworks in conjunction with its SnappShot; or using LANovation's Picture Taker; or using any of a number of other software distribution packages would be a better way to distribute and install the package.

However, the lack of network integration is its only serious failing, and CleanSweep for Administrators can be a great help to Windows users as well as their administrators.

The Bottom Line

CleanSweep for Administrators, Version 1.0Though this software offers excellent uninstall and other Windows functions, it does not offer many network capabilities.

Pros: Cleans registry, cache, and temp files; uninstalls applications; schedules cleaning and uninstalls users, greatly helping stability.

Cons: Not network-aware.

Platforms: Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0 or later.

Price: Local pricing unavailable.


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