Windows 7 is faster and more efficient than its predecessor Vista. However, that doesn't mean it can't be improved upon further. We've compiled a list of 10 valuable software tools - many of them free - that can make your Win 7 experience a lot more rewarding.
WinZip 14 Standard
If Windows 7 has zip compression built in, you're undoubtedly wondering, why do I need the latest version of WinZip?
Well, if you seldom use zip archives, you probably don't. But zip fans will appreciate the improvements in WinZip 14 Standard, which has simplified the process of zipping and mailing archives in Win 7.
The latest version offers better compression ratios too. WinZip 14 Standard costs $30 (£18).
Windows 7 may be easier to use than Vista or XP, but diagnostic and maintenance chores remain tricky. EnhanceMySe7en is a handy utility for anyone interested in doing a little system housekeeping.
This free app conveniently helps you select which programs to permit to load at startup; lets monitor your hard drive's performance, health, and temperature; and enables you to fiddle with the Registry - if you dare.
Image Resizer Powertoy Clone
Need to resize pictures in Windows 7? This free utility makes it easy. Simply right-click one or more image files in Windows Explorer.
You can select one of four sizes: small (640x480); medium (800x600); large (1024x768); or handheld PC (240x320). You can create your own custom sizes, too.
Systerac Tools for Windows 7
This bundle of 16 tools from Systerac has everything you'll need to keep Windows 7 running smoothly.
You can tweak Windows' performance and appearance, optimise memory, clean up the hard drive, cover your tracks by shredding files, and so on.
The Systerac interface is aesthetically appealing, nicely organized, and a snap to learn. The $20 (£12) Windows 7 version runs on Vista as well.
Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
Upgrade Advisor scans your PC to see if it's ready for Windows 7. If it detects any potential problems - from insufficient memory to incompatible hardware to outdated software - it'll let you know in a summary report.
It's also worth checking out PC Advisor's own PC Perfromance Monitor that allows you to monitor system, process, and network performance while also contributing to a global database designed to reflect Windows-based system performance and behaviour.
See also: Should I upgrade to Windows 7?
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