Something interesting has appeared in the Chinese-language corner of Microsoft’s website: a tool called PC Manager, which provides easier access to utilities located somewhere in Windows’ settings menus.
While the site is in Chinese, the tool is not there; so we took a detour.
On startup you will see the following screen:
Microsoft PC Manager startup screen – Click to enlarge
The tool has two tabs, one of which is labeled Cleaning. Clicking the Boost button clears the time files for the tool. The memory usage measurement went up a nice 15 percent after that single click.
The Health Check button brings up a screen that allows you to clear temporary files and items from your browser’s cache or disable startup items.
Filed under “Potential Issues” is a single item: “Reset default browser to Edge”.
Yes, nagware disguised as a PC health check. Remember this, dear reader, the next time you hear Microsoft talking about how respect is one of its values. Its endless exhortations to stop using rival browsers clearly indicate that the company has no respect for users’ choices or time.
The storage management option allows users to detect and destroy old and useless fonts. This apparently included a full three kilobytes of Internet Explorer cache on your correspondent’s test machine – which Microsoft has ditched in favor of Edge (and which was never installed on the computer I’m using to write this article).
The Manage applications option opens a list of installed applications and offers to remove them. Storage Sense links to an option to manage when Windows deletes temporary files or unused documents; that is already available in the Settings menu.
The Process Management button is really useful as it creates the next lite version of Task Manager. So I don’t need those three processes below, and this tool easily eliminates them. A Startup Apps menu also improves Windows 11’s default control panel to manage the software that starts up with a computer, but it can’t add startup apps.
Microsoft PC Manager process management screen – Click to enlarge
The “Security” tab shows a big button marked “Scan”, it appears to run Windows Defender and it took a few minutes to scan 84,000 files on my machine.
Another button provides the option to view and install available Windows updates.
The Security tab concludes with a Browser Protection menu, which again offers the option to reset your default browser to Edge, and a control to activate the “block changes by malicious apps” features.
At this point, dear reader, Windows feels that rogue app, so it often prompts me to resume using Edge.
Microsoft hasn’t said anything publicly about the tool, but another page details its history back to version 1.1 released in March 2022. Version 2.0 arrived in mid-June, followed by version 2.1 a month later. the current version 2.2 was released in mid-August. This monthly cadence has not continued, seeing that two months later in October we are without an update in sight.
The tool runs on Windows 10 (1809) or newer versions of Microsoft’s flagship system. We’ve reached out to the company for more information about the tool and will update this story if we receive specific information. ®