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50 great tools to speed up your Windows PC

Make Windows Vista and XP fly, the easy way

Make Windows go like a bomb, boost your browser and clear out your registry with these tools - most of which are free. If you want a faster system, you could buy a new PC. Or you could read this article instead.

Miscellaneous optimisation tools

You have plenty of other ways to optimise your PC. Following are some great all-around optimisers that give details on your system configuration, keep your drivers up-to-date, and manage your PC's power use.

Belarc Advisor

Before you start optimising your PC, you need to know your system's exact configuration. That's where the free Belarc Advisor comes in. It tells you everything you need to know - and far more. Of course, in this program you'll find the computer manufacturer, installed RAM, hard-disk size, processor type and speed, and so on, but that's only the beginning. You'll also see the motherboard maker, hard-disk manufacturer, chassis serial number, PC service tag, bus type and speed, multimedia devices, and plenty of other details. The program goes beyond a hardware inventory, too, giving information about your Windows installation, including user accounts, security hotfixes that are installed or missing, and a list of all the software on your machine.

Driver Sweeper

Keeping drivers up-to-date helps your system stay in top shape, but if you don't correctly remove old versions, you can experience system instability, slowdowns, and crashes. Driver Sweeper finds old drivers and deletes them. It also backs them up if you need to restore them.

Performance Monitor

A monitoring tool - software that can show you overall system use - is essential for optimising a PC. This nifty little freebie tracks RAM, CPU, internet, and hard-disk use, and shows everything on your desktop in four small colored boxes. (Reading the information in the boxes is tough, so hover your mouse over them.) You'll see statistics such as the percentage of your CPU currently being used, and even the usage of individual cores on multicore PCs.

Edison

Consider this: if you don't use the power settings on your PC, you're spewing hundreds of pounds of unnecessary carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, a result of the electricity you waste.

But Windows' power-setting controls are as confusing to use as the tax code, you object. We agree - but we also have a solution for you. The free, simple-to-use Edison helps you change and manage your power settings. No need to fiddle around with Windows: Just move a slider or two, click a few buttons, and you're ready to go. You could just stay with the defaults, too.

How much might you save? When we used its default power settings on our laptop, Edison claimed we would save 359.63 kilowatt hours of electricity in a year and 490.17 pounds of carbon dioxide.

LocalCooling

This freebie, like Edison, helps you cut your PC's electricity use. You can easily edit settings such as when your PC automatically turns off or goes into hibernation, and when your hard disks spin down. The program also displays the amount of energy, trees, gallons of oil, or kilowatt hours you've saved.

Windows Memory Diagnostic

If you find your PC crashing frequently, the culprit may be bad RAM. This free software from Microsoft performs a comprehensive test and tells you whether the RAM or the memory system on your motherboard is faulty. It's built into Vista, too: Click Start, type memory in the search field, and then click Memory Diagnostics Tool.

  1. General tune-up tools
  2. Application and startup optimisation
  3. Hard-disk cleaning and backup
  4. Internet and network tune-up
  5. Browser optimisation
  6. Registry cleanup
  7. Security optimisation
  8. Interface tune-up
  9. Miscellaneous optimisation tools

See also:

7 simple ways to get the best out of Windows Vista

Clean your PC with our top 20 tools

How to build your dream PC for less than £200

The 30 biggest technology myths exposed


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