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I found a desktop icon for something called PC TuneUp Maestro on my parents' laptop. Googling it yields pages upon pages of freeware download sites, but I couldn't find anything legitimately confirming or clearing it of malware status. I distrust these programs by default, but Microsoft Security Essentials seems to think it's legit. Does anyone know what this program is and if it's up to anything surreptious? Can I uninstall it or do I write off the entire OS install as tainted?

The system hosts file is intact (no funny unicode lookalikes either), so that red flag, at least, hasn't been raised.

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In my eyes, all PC tuneup/registry tuners are just pure crapware in my eyes. Even the ones that appear legit are probably just cover for adware or other rubbish/bloatware. If I were you I'd take it off and don't worry about it. –  tombull89 Dec 9 '11 at 13:42
    
Agreed, you can get reputable software called CCleaner from piriform which will do the job. Get rid! –  Moif Murphy Dec 9 '11 at 13:44
    
I've uninstalled it. The question then becomes whether this is something that uninstalls, or something that claws itself into all kinds of hidden nooks and crannies of the operating system (XP SP3). –  Barend Dec 9 '11 at 14:17
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Just the name alone makes me discount this out of hand! –  Shinrai Dec 9 '11 at 15:21
    
There is only one legit that I know of - CCleaner, although I have noticed it is abused. Some people I know have been told by their dad/SO/tech guy to run this on a daily (or other semi-regular) basis. –  Nathan Adams Nov 11 '12 at 22:29

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, it appears to me that this software is malware. Probably fraudware, trying to get you to pay for the "full version" in order to do anything meaningful.

tombull89's opinion is generally a good idea. There aren't many truly legitimate pc tuners. It's incredibly difficult to automatically tune computers. However, it's not completely accurate either. For it's difficulty it is not impossible and there are several tools that are legitimate and valuable.

Possibly the easiest such tool is Soluto which advertises on this site. It may not be the most powerful, but if you need something for a parental unit's pc, it can be very good. CCleaner is also very good and currently is the only registry cleaner I use. There is legitimate garbage that accumulates in the registry, mostly from poor software uninstall processes, and CCleaner can be helpful. However, you need to know what you're doing to run it. Reg cleaning should never be done blindly.

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Just to clear my own name here: this software was installed in my absence. I would never, etc. Parents have received supplemental instructions. This still leaves the question of whether it will just uninstall, or has nasty hard-to-remove hooks all over the place. –  Barend Dec 9 '11 at 16:32
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No worries, I wasn't making that assumption. We all know how the luddites in our life can be. And many of the recent malware and fraudware can even get around us techies. The WinAntivirus variants are a good example. We don't mean to run them or install them and we stay away from bad sites, but they still find their way in through poorly patched web servers on trusted sites. –  music2myear Dec 9 '11 at 16:52

It is in fact fraudware. The "free scan" found 689 "errors" which it wouldn't fix unless I bought the full version. It now has a hook in my start menu which tells me every time I shut down and restart that I need to buy the product. So much for MS "clean"

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I found this application to less than honest. I will not let you uninstall by regular means. To uninstall, start your pc in safe mode, click start, control panel, program an features, and then uninstall.

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PC TuneUp Maestro is just a regular PC utility software. As part of the requirements that must be met for passing the Windows 7 Logo Certification from Microsoft, it has to be a "clean" software. I downloaded and installed it to use its StartUp manager feature, which is free. My PC seems to be fine. I haven't bought a license yet.

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protected by Journeyman Geek Apr 3 '13 at 5:37

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