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Clean your PC with our top 20 tools

Get the junk off your PC or laptop

SUPER UTILITIES

Here's another all-in-one tool for cleaning up and optimising your PC, and it too features a load of extras. You'll find a startup organiser that shows you which programs start automatically when you turn on your PC, and lets you disable them. There's also a Registry cleaner, defragmentation tools, antispyware features, and much more - 27 tools in all.

This program is shareware, and there's only one drawback to it - at about $60 (£30) for registration, it's not cheap. Still, it's worth trying out for free, and after 30 days, you may decide that it's worth the price for registering.

Download Super Utilities

Magic Utilities

This simple, straightforward suite of utilities gives you five different tools for cleaning your PC - one for uninstalling software, one for organising or killing programs that run on startup, one for finding junk on your hard disk and letting you delete it, one for shredding files, and one for killing any running processes. There's nothing fancy or flashy here; it's just simple and easy to use. This shareware offers fewer features than suites like Super Utilities, but at $40 (£20), the registration fee is lower as well.

Download Magic Utilities

APPLICATION CLEANUP

Here we look at a variety of more-specialised tools. These two can help you rein in programs that start up and run automatically, often without your knowledge.

Autoruns

The most effective tool in your arsenal for keeping your computer clean is information. If you know what software and services run automatically whenever you turn on your PC or log in, you can decide which ones you need and which you don't, and then get rid of the junk.

That's easy to say, but tough to do. There's no simple method in Windows to find out what runs on startup - unless you use this program. It shows you every application and service currently running on your system, and even what DLLs are in use. It offers details about each, such as the program or service name, and its location on your PC. Then, armed with that information, you can decide what you don't want to run on startup - a step in cleaning up your machine.

This freebie, by the way, was originally written by a company called Sysinternals; Microsoft later purchased the company.

Download Autoruns

Security Task Manager

If your PC is sluggish, there's a good chance you've got far too many programs and services running, many without your knowledge. And for all you know, some of them may be malicious. Using the Windows Task Manager helps, but only slightly, because although it shows you what's running it doesn't give you many details about what's there.

This $29 (£15) utility provides a wealth of detail about each program and process, including whether the program is likely to be malicious or not, and it lets you delete any program and process with a single click. You'll get an enormous amount of detail about what's running, including the manufacturer, type of program, how it started (for example, upon startup or from within Windows Explorer), and the file name. To stop a program, highlight it, click Remove - and you're done.

Download Security Task Manager


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