Can't afford a new PC? These free tools for Windows will help breathe new life into your old machine
Rein in applications
A big cause of PC slowdowns is software that runs in the background or at start-up, often without your knowledge. Unpatched software can also cause problems. Two of the following downloads help you get a handle on sneaky apps, and a third keeps the rest of them properly patched.
This freebie from BillP Studios helps you stop unnecessary programs from running on start-up, and in doing so, speeds up your PC. Run it, and it displays a detailed list of all the programs that start when you boot your PC, including the developer, the file name and much more. Select each program you don't want to run at start-up and click the Disable button.
You'll get a PC that's zippier starting up - and potentially zippier running as well, because if the programs aren't running in the background, you should have more memory and CPU power available.
The Delayed Start feature is especially nifty. It lets you tell some programs not to launch when Windows boots, and instead delay their launch for up to an hour. Why do that? Because you might not need those programs right away, and by delaying their start, Windows will start up more quickly. Later on, when you need the programs, they'll already be running in the background for you.
There's a lot more to this program, including showing all the services that are running on your PC, displaying all of your ActiveX controls and Internet Explorer helper programs, and showing your scheduled tasks. Examine them all, decide which are unnecessary and disable any you don't need. Again, the result is a smoother-running PC.
Works with: Windows 9x/Me/XP/Vista
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