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It's a fact of life for Windows PC users: they pay for the OS' versatility and compatibility with an increased vulnerability to viruses, malware, and spyware. Systems are loaded with the remains of programs that don't remove themselves properly, and useless system files that tax the system.
Here are 12 utilities that will help you keep your PC running fast. Included in the line-up are game-boosting software titles and programs that continually scan your computer for software that would slow it down.
(Cover photo by wwarby on Flickr)
Prepare your PC for the best gaming experience possible. Game Booster makes it easy to download and install essential gaming utilities, changes system settings, clears RAM, and and closes background processes temporarily, freeing up resources for demanding video games. The utility also ensures that a PC’s processor is running at maximum, checks that all hardware drivers are updated, and even defragments game files, squeezing improvements out of hardware wherever they can be found.
Keeps your Windows PC in tip-top shape. It’s a full-featured system cleaner that keeps your computer fast, by removing unnecessary files that slow everything down. Manage your system registry, clear non-working shortcuts, remove temporary files, and delete references to uninstalled programs or non-existent system files.
Protects your computer against malware or spyware, software designed to hijack your PC for personal information or take control for virus-spreading botnets. Aside from real-time protection that warns you if threats are trying to compromise your PC, Spybot can also search entire drives for malicious programs. Regular updates ensure that this utility will be equipped against even the newest kinds of illicit software.
The main promise of Glary: just one click removes spyware, clears temporary files, removes useless shortcuts, and other unnecessary files that would slow any PC down. Glary also supports add-on modules, such as a RAM optimizer, a registry defragmenter, and an uninstall manager, that promise superior performance for your PC.
Newer versions of Windows (XP, Vista and 7) suffer less from defragmentation than their older counterparts (anything earlier), but removing gaps between the files on your hard disk is still a must-do. Defraggler rearranges the chunks of your data, so that your drive’s reading heads don’t jump all over the place to load the information you need. Like any other well-made defragmentation software, Defraggler should improve the loading times of hard disk based PCs, but is not recommended for use on flash disk like SSDs and USB thumb drives.
What’s the specific make of your motherboard again? Get the complete lowdown on your PC’s hardware components with Speccy. It provides complete system information—more than what Windows’ own system information app provides. Quickly view details on each component through this utility’s out-line based interface. A great tool for hardcore and everyday users who want to know more about what makes their Windows PC tick.
It sounds counter-intuitive: how can a utility that runs in the background lessen the load on your system? Rambooster continuously clears your PC’s memory of unneeded data, and rearranges the temporary information on your RAM so that it becomes more accessible. In fact, the same processes that drive this utility have counterparts built into Windows Vista and 7. That’s why Rambooster will only benefit systems running Windows 95/98/NT/2000/Me/XP. A must-have for legacy systems!
Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) are the building blocks containing the routines that make your favorite programs work. Sometimes when you uninstall programs however, their DLLs are left behind. Despite lacking usefulness, these orphaned DLLs still load when you boot up your PC, wasting system resources. DLL Archive locates DLLs that are no longer needed, and lets your “archive” these orphans so that they don’t load—for easy restoration as needed.
Updated drivers not working as advertised? Try Driver Sweeper to clear your PC of the offending driver and start from scratch. As we all know, computer hardware only works 100% when supported by the right driver. The utility scans your system and makes sure uninstalled driver software leaves no trace. Supported hardware include video cards from Nvidia and AMD, plus sound equipment from Creative and Realtek.
Make sure you really uninstall the programs you no longer need (or in the case of software preinstalled into PCs you buy, you never wanted). Revo Uninstaller lets you remove even software that’s not listed on Windows’ own Add or Remove programs feature. This is the only utility in this list that’s not free. But if the free 30-day trial doesn’t convince of Revo Uninstaller’s merits, nothing else will.
As any knowledgeable computer user knows, the more data on a hard disk, the slower a PC runs. Not sure what’s taking up the most space on your hard drive? TreeSize Free provides detailed statistics on all files and folders on your computer, including how much storage space they take up. Zero in on large files that you should backup or archive on another disk, and free up space on your PC’s main drive.
We all know that Windows lies about how much time copying lots of files takes. SuperCopier promises a more accurate estimate, even as it lets the user queue up copy jobs, control the maximum speed of each job, and even pause copying without having to start from zero once they resume. The utility also promises faster copying, and prevents jobs involving 2GB or larger files from failing (a common issue encountered by Windows users).