Category Archives: Defraggers

Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro – Steps Up The Defrag Process

imageYou’ll get plenty of argument in the Tech community as to whether Hard Drive fragmentation is a symptom of poor PC health – or not. There’s not much fence-straddling on this issue.

Despite that, there is a slight leaning in the Tech community toward defragmentation being a positive maintenance process. Personally, I’ve always come down on the side of – it can’t hurt. Unless, that is, we’re dealing with SSD (Solid State Drive) drives.

Auslogics, the Australian developer of my all time favorite free Disk defragger (Auslogics Disk Defrag – free edition – over 10 Million downloads at CNET alone), have just upgraded Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro, which steps up the defragmentation process several notches.

Quick walkthrough:

The user interface continues to be new user friendly, but still includes plenty of options for the advanced user. You’ll notice in the following screen shot that the application has recognized drive C: as an SSD. 

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I’m not going to defrag the SSD drive so, I’ve turned off SSD recognition in the “settings” panel. Defragging SSD drives is not recommended since there’s no discernable benefit and, it may impact long term drive health.  In fact, Windows 7 will disable disk defragmentation on an SSD.

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I’ve focused instead on drive E: and drive F:, the data partition on this drive. As you can see in the following screen capture, Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro reports drive E: is in “Excellent” condition.

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But not so – drive F:, the data partition. From a selection of various defragging options, I chose “Simple Defrag”.

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In less than a minute, the job was finished. According to the application – defragging the partition brought the performance level up from 88%, to 100%. The time to completion is a long way from the hours such an operation consumed – back in the misty days when Hard Drives had just arrived on the computing scene.

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Fast facts:

4 Optimization Algorithms – There are 4 disk optimization algorithms available for you to choose from.

Offline Defragmentation – The new Offline Defragmentation engine makes it possible to defragment important system files that are normally locked and can’t be moved while Windows is running. Offline Defragmentation is performed on system boot, before the operating system loads.

Free Space Consolidation – Use the Free Space Consolidation algorithm to greatly slow down the process of file fragmentation. This optimization method merges free space on your disk into a large contiguous block, which makes it possible for new files to be written without fragmentation.

Advanced Defrag Algorithms – Disk Defrag Pro has defrag algorithms specifically designed for VSS-enabled and SSD drives.

Comprehensive Reports – With new comprehensive reports in the Professional version, it is easy to track all of the operations performed by the program.

Resource Management – Disk Defrag Pro allows you to easily control the load on system resources produced by the defragmentation process. Restrict the use of system resources by the program when you are at your PC, or lift any restrictions to defrag your disks faster.

Single File or Folder Defragmentation – Sometimes it makes more sense to defragment frequently used files only, instead of defragmenting the entire drive. Disk Defrag Pro can save your time by defragmenting only the files you want.

List of Fragmented Files – Disk Defrag Pro lists all fragmented files after performing disk analysis. Selecting a file from the list will highlight its fragments’ location on the cluster map. You can find the most fragmented files and their paths by sorting through the list.

Defragmentation Wizard – With so many disk optimization algorithms and defrag options available, how do you choose the right one for your PC? Thanks to Defragmentation Wizard, it’s a matter of just a few simple clicks.

Advanced Scheduler – A wide range of scheduling options makes it easy to maintain your hard drive in a consistently good shape. You can set the program to run precisely at the specified time, or alternatively, use Auto Defragmentation mode.

Quick Tips:

Before you begin the defrag process, I suggest that you run a program such as CCleaner, which will empty your Recycle Bin, Temporary Internet Files folder, and other locations where clutter tends to accumulate on a PC.

As well, you should consider uninstalling any applications you no longer use. Revo Uninstaller is a free utility that will uninstall unneeded applications more thoroughly than the Windows native uninstaller.

These steps are not absolutely necessary but, they are a good practice.

System Requirements:  Windows 7, Vista, 2008, XP (32-bit & 64-bit)

Download a 30 day trial version at: Auslogics

Purchase $29. 95 USD.

Additional resources:

Compare Free vs. Pro

FAQ

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Auslogics, Defrag Tools, Defraggers, downloads, Hard Drive Maintenance, Software Trial Versions

Smarter Than Ever – IObit Releases Free Smart Defrag 2

IObit announces a new version of their free disk defragment software – Smart Defrag 2.

Defrag In a real sense, it’s often difficult to measure an increase in system performance following Hard Drive defragmentation. Nevertheless, I do agree, that defragging is a positive maintenance process, and should be done regularly.

A  quick recap on disk fragmentation: What is it?

Creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet, will cause a Hard Drive to become fragmented. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders – as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

To keep fragmentation to a minimum, I run the paid version of TuneUp Utilities 2011 in the background, which continuously optimizes, amongst other things, my computer’s hardware, including automatic disk defragging.

The latest release (March 18, 2011 ), of the award winning free system tool, IObit Smart Defrag 2 , can also run on this type of “set and forget” basis. I occasionally hear from users that they can’t remember the last time they defragged their disk/s – they’ll get to it – eventually. But, they don’t have to – IObit Smart Defrag 2, can do this for them on a continuous basis.

Sporting a brand new user interface, (which remains uncluttered), IObit Smart Defrag 2 continues to be easy to use, and as in previous versions – it’s fast and efficient, and best of all, it’s free.

Installation: Be cautious.

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NEW – Boot time defrag allows files which can’t be defragged, or moved while the system is running, to be defragged. These files include pagefile, hibernation file, MFT, and system files.

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If you’re running the automatic defrag feature, you’ll have ready access to a simple reporting tool.

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Running a full defrag, and full optimization (which places  frequently used files and folders into the fastest area of the disk), took just a few minutes.

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Fast facts:

Extremely Fast and Efficient Defragmentation Enhanced – Using IObit’s latest defrag engine and the new “Boot Time Defrag” technology, Smart Defrag 2 has not only the world’s fastest defragmenting speed but also the most advanced defragmenting ability. It’s been specially designed for modern, large hard drives, which eliminates the long waiting time.

Always-on Automatic Defragment Enhanced – Smart Defrag 2 works automatically and quietly in the background, so it continually and constantly keeps your computer fragment-free.

New! “Boot Time Defrag” Technology – Smart Defrag 2 uses a new “Boot Time Defrag” technology which allows you to defrag files during the system boot process – files which cannot be defragged or are not safe to move after the system is already up.

System requirements: Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), XP (32-bit and 64-bit) with SP2/SP3 or Home/Professional/Media Center, and 2000.

Languages: English, Albanian, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italiano, Japanese, Korean, Malayalam, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese, 简体中文, 繁體中文.

Download at: Download.com

The addition of a “boot-time defrag” feature (not always available in a free defrager), coupled with an improved defrag engine, makes Smart Defrag 2 a worthy competitor in a crowded freeware defrag market.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Maintenance, Computer Tune Up Utilities, Defrag Tools, Defraggers, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Tools, IObit, Software, TuneUp Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Download IObit Smart Defrag – Defragging the Smart Way

Defrag Some Techs insist, that a fragmented Hard Drive is the primary cause of system slowdown. I think the system slowdown issue is far more complex.

In a real sense, it is difficult to measure an increase in system performance following Hard Drive defragmentation. Nevertheless, I do agree, that defragging is a positive maintenance process, and should be done regularly.

A  quick recap on disk fragmentation: What is it?

Creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet, will cause a Hard Drive to become fragmented. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

To keep fragmentation to a minimum, my Hard Drives are continuously being defragged. I run the paid version of TuneUp Utilities 2010 in the background, which continuously optimizes, amongst other things, my computer’s hardware, including automatic disk defragging.

The latest release (January 07, 2010 ), of the award winning free system tool, IObit Smart Defrag , can also run on this type of “set and forget” basis. I occasionally hear from users that they can’t remember the last time they defragged their disk/s – they’ll get to it – eventually. But, they don’t have to – IObit Smart Defrag, can do this for them on a continuous basis.

The 8 million plus downloads of this application from CNET, and an average user rating of 4 Stars, speaks to the value of this small application, and to the popularity of defragging.

IObit Smart Defrag is extremely easy to use, fast and efficient, and best of all, it’s free. The user interface is uncluttered and as simple to follow as any I’ve seen.

The following screen captures illustrate, just how easy it is to get IObit Smart Defrag up and running.

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Fast facts:

Extremely Easy to Use

Its intuitive interface makes Smart Defrag the ideal utility for computer novices.

Exceptionally Efficient Defragmentation

Smart Defrag has the world’s fastest defragmenting engine. It’s been specially designed for modern, large hard drives.

Smart Defrag doesn’t just use simple defragmentation. It also streamlines your file system, places the frequently used files and directories into the fastest area of the disk, enabling your computer to run at top speed with the most stability.

Always-on – Smart Defrag works automatically and quietly in the background, so it continually and constantly keeps your computer fragment-free.

Smart Defrag has a “Safe Intelligence” technology that can assure the health of your disk by deciding when, and how, to execute defragmentation.

Free for  personal, business, and enterprise servers.

Languages: English, Danish, German, Finnish, Dutch, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Serbian, Turkish, Russian, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, Czech, 简体中文, and more.

System requirements: Windows 7, 2003, Me, 98, 2000, Vista, NT, XP, Server 2008 ((32-bit and 64-bit).

Download at: Download.com

Note: Before you begin a scheduled defrag process I recommend that you run a program such as CCleaner, which will empty your Recycle Bin, Temporary Internet Files folder, and other locations, where clutter tends to accumulate on your PC.

As well, you should consider uninstalling any applications you no longer use. Revo Uninstaller is a free utility that will uninstall unneeded applications more thoroughly than the Windows native uninstaller.

These steps are not absolutely necessary but, they are a good practice.

A big “Thank You”, to regular reader RoseD1st, who brought this application to my attention.

IObit offers a whole whack of free applications including Advanced SystemCare Free, Smart Defrag, Game Booster, Advanced Uninstaller, Security 360 Free, Random Password Generator and Manager , and of course, Smart Defrag.

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Defraggers, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Hard Drive Tools, Software, System Utilities, TuneUp Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download a Grab Bag of Free System Tools

10 + 2 free system tools to maintain your computer, and keep it in top shape.

image We talked about keeping your computer physically clean, just a few days ago. Today, we’ll focus on keeping your computer’s operating system and subsystems clean, so that you can ramp up your system’s performance.

With that in mind, I retested some of the free system tools I’ve rated and recommended, over the last year or more, that will do a great job of revitalizing your system. These free applications are at the “Top of the Class”, in my view.

There may be slight overlaps in functionality between applications, so I’m not suggesting that you download them all – choose those that best meet your specific needs.

If I’ve missed one of your favorites that you feel should be on this list, then let me know with your comments.

CCleaner

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space.

It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally, it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast; normally taking less than a few seconds to run.

ccleaner2

Glary Utilities

Glary Utilities, a free all-in-one utility, is a terrific collection of system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC. Personal experience with this application for the last 2+ years, has convinced me that a typical user can really benefit by having this application on their system.

With this free program you can tweak, repair, optimize and improve your system’s performance; and its ease of operation makes it ideal for less experienced users.

glary-utilities 2

Advanced SystemCare Free

Advanced SystemCare Free is a comprehensive PC care utility that takes a one-click approach to help protect, repair, and optimize your computer. It provides an all-in-one, and super convenient solution, for PC maintenance and protection.

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WinPatrol

Do you want to get a better understanding of what programs are being added to your computer? Then WinPatrol is the program for you. With WinPatrol, in your system tray, you can monitor system areas that are often changed by malicious programs.

You can monitor your startup programs and services, cookies and current tasks. Should you need to, WinPatrol allows you to terminate processes and enable, or disable, startup programs. There are additional features that make WinPatrol a very powerful addition to your security applications.

WinPatrol 2

Revo Uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller is a superior program designed to uninstall programs from your computer. This free program with its advanced and fast algorithm scans before, and after, you uninstall an application.

After the program’s regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over on your computer. This feature is a definite plus.

RevoUninstaller

RunAlyzer

If you’re looking to track down spyware, or speed up system startup–and you’re technically astute–then RunAlyzer may be just what you need. Run it, and it performs a thorough analysis of all programs and services that run when you start up your computer.

Note: Recommended for advanced users only.

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Autoruns

This free utility has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, in my view, and shows you what programs are configured to run during system boot up or login, and the order Windows processes them. These programs will include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys.

You can configure Autoruns to show additional locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and more.

Autoruns goes considerably beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows.

Autoruns

Regseeker

The longer you use Windows, the more cluttered your registry can become, especially if you regularly install and uninstall software. Many applications, on being uninstalled, leave behind “orphan” registry entries. They don’t remove all traces of themselves which can cause problems such as sluggish performance, system lockups, or a bloated registry that takes longer to load on startup. With the click of a button, Regseeker will scan your registry for these fragmented files, and safely remove them.

Note: Recommended for advanced users only.

reg-result 2

Wise Registry Cleaner

Wise Registry Cleaner is a free, non aggressive application that, as one of my friends says, hits a home run in the safety department. As it searches the Registry for obsolete/redundant registry keys, it differentiates between those that are “safe to fix”, and those that are “not fully safe to fix”.

To provide the greatest safety factor for those who are uncomfortable, or unfamiliar, with cleaning the Registry, the application’s default removal setting is – “safe to fix”.

wise-registry-cleaner 2

Fresh UI

One of the oldest and most well established free Windows tweaking applications, Freshdevices’ Fresh UI is a powerful tool that allows you to configure and optimize your version of Windows.

This small (1.24 MB) program has a clean, easy to understand interface that gives you access to hundreds of system settings, some of which are hidden, and others that are just hard to find. The interface is organized by section for easy navigation, and it is complete with detailed descriptions for easy reference.

FreshUI 2

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The program is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and it’s free. In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware.

auslogics_disk_defrag

FixWin

If you’ve been looking for an easy way to fix issues such as, Win Explorer not starting at boot up, CD drive or DVD drive is missing or not being recognized by Windows, or other programs, or the Device Manager is not functioning correctly (not as uncommon as you might think), then the recently released FixWin freeware application, could be the perfect solution.

It’s important to note however, FixWin does NOT scan for problems. You, have to recognize that you have the problem – the application will then correct the problem, provided of course it is one of the 50 very common problems the application is designed to deal with.

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Defraggers, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Registry Cleaners, Slow Computer, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Uninstall Tools, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

New Auslogics Disk Defrag 3.1 – Now with Disk Optimizer

A  quick recap on disk fragmentation: What is it?

Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

My Hard Drives are continuously being defragged. I run the paid version of TuneUp Utilities 2010 in the background which continuously optimizes, amongst other things, my computer’s hardware, including automatic disk defragging.

If you think this is overkill – fair enough. But, the application can do it, it does a great job of doing it, and I’m a fan of “set and forget”.

TuneUp Utilities 1

The latest release (November 18, 2009), of the highly regarded free system tool, Auslogics Disk Defrag 3.1, can also be run on a  “set and forget” basis. I occasionally hear from users that they can’t remember the last time they defragged their disk/s – but they’ll get to it – eventually. But they don’t have to – Auslogics Disk Defrag 3.1, can do it for them on a continuous basis.

Auslogic defragger 4

Despite the fact that their is some disagreement as to the value of defragging modern Hard Drives, there is a slight leaning in the tech community toward defragmentation being a positive maintenance process. I support this point of view.

Almost 5 million downloads of this application from CNET, and an average user rating of 4.5 Stars speaks to the value of this small application and to the popularity of defragging.

The last time I reviewed  this application in August, 2008, the CNET download total stood at just over 2 million. This major increase in the number of downloads is a considerable proof statement that this application deserves a place in your toolbox.

Auslogics Disk Defrag is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and best of all, it’s free.

The user interface is uncluttered and as simple to follow as any I’ve seen. The following graphics illustrate just how easy it is to get Auslogics Disk Defrag up and running.

Auslogic defragger 2

Auslogic defragger 3

There are loads of free disk defraggers available for download, but they are not necessarily all created equal. The following graphic illustrates some of the difference between Auslogics Disk Defrag, and a number of other free apps you may be familiar with.

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Before you begin a scheduled defrag process I recommend that you run a program such as CCleaner, which will empty your Recycle Bin, Temporary Internet Files folder, and other locations where clutter tends to accumulate on your PC.

As well, you should consider uninstalling any applications you no longer use. Revo Uninstaller is a free utility that will uninstall unneeded applications more thoroughly than the Windows native uninstaller.

These steps are not absolutely necessary but, they are a good practice.

Auslogics disk defrag quick facts:

Improve computer performance and stability

Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open

Fast and safe defragmentation of the disk drives

Optimization of clusters’ structure and file system for even better disk performance

Useful disk fragmentation map that displays defragmentation process in real time

Simple and intuitive user interface

Comprehensive defragmentation report

Extremely low system resources usage

Defragment USB/memory sticks

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista/XP/2000/2003, 32-bit and 64-bit and dual-core CPU supported.

Download at: Download.com

Auslogics Disk Defrag Portable A portable version Auslogics Disk Defrag is available as a single exe application, which can be copied to a USB drive and then used on any PC without installation.

Download at: Softpedia

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Filed under Cleaning Your Computer, Defraggers, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Hard Drive Tools, Portable Applications, Software, System Utilities, TuneUp Utilities, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

TuneUp Utilities 2010 – Is It Worth The Money?

Tuneup 3 Generally you can tweak the blazes out of your operating system; you just need to know where to go within the system to do so.

Maintaining an operating system to get that last ounce of performance is reasonably easy, but again – you need to know where to go within the system to do so.

But that’s the rub – you need to know where to go. This may be easy for a competent techie; but definitely not easy for a typical user.

In most cases, an average user does not have the skill set required to drill down through complex structures to get that “just so” look, feel, and performance from an operating system.

Not surprisingly, most typical users that I meet, run computers that under perform in virtually all areas. They could get so much more out of their system, if they only knew how.

Tweaking utility developers, along with system tool developers have long recognized that typical users need help in tweaking and maintaining their computers. As a consequence, the Internet is awash in both commercial and “free” applications that help users meet these challenges.

Regular readers here, are accustomed to reading software reviews that are based primarily on free, or open source applications, and occasionally a commercial application which may not have a competitor in the freeware marketplace. And that brings me to TuneUp Utilities 2010.

Tuneup 1

TuneUp Utilities 2010 is one of the very few commercial applications that I have, or would recommend. Despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of free software, there are times when only a commercial application will meet all of my needs in one interface.

Tuneup 2

System maintenance for maximum performance is a critical issue for me, (and it should be for you), and I simply don’t have the time to launch 6/7 freeware applications to do so. Don’t get me wrong, free applications are terrific, but every one I’ve ever tested has limitations of one type or another.

Here’s an example where a freeware application, of this type, would have fallen short – on my Win 7 machine, TuneUp Utilities pointed out 5 critical security issues I had overlooked. It embarrasses me to disclose that, but I’m still in the process of tuning my Win 7 machine. No excuse really, not when it comes to security, but…..

I’ve been using TuneUp Utilities since 2003, and I’ve come to rely on it to help me get the very best out of all my machines. Take a free test run on TuneUp Utilities 2010 for 30 days, and see if you don’t agree that this is one commercial application that offers excellent value.

Fast facts:

Start Center

* Maintain system

* Increase performance

* Fix problems

* Customize Windows

* Launch Turbo Mode

* Configure Live Optimization

TuneUp Gadget

* Displays your PC’s health directly on the Desktop

* Gives you direct access to key functions

* Runs under Windows Vista and Windows

1-Click Maintenance and Automatic Maintenance

* Fixes PC problems automatically with one click

* Improves the performance of programs and games

* Turns off unnecessary programs

* Reduces the time you spend maintaining your computer

* Cleans up your PC automatically in the background

Optimize system startup and shutdown

* Allows for a quicker startup and shut down of Windows

* Disable Windows services that make your computer slow

* Optimizes system and program settings

* Reduces the number of autostart programs that drain resources

Defragment hard disks

* Reduces program loading time

* Accelerates file opening and copying

* Lets programs and games run more smoothly

Defragment registry

* Repairs structural defects

* Reduces the size of the registry

* Improves overall system performance

Clean registry

* Reduces errors in Windows and programs

* Lists existing problems in detail

* Cleans the registry with only a few clicks

Turbo Mode

* Concentrates the entire performance of the PC on active programs

* Turns off unnecessary or processes specified by the user

* Provides a smoother working or gaming experience

Configure Live Optimization

* Manages resources efficiently

* Improves program response speed

* Accelerates program startup times

Configure system startup

* Shortens system startup

* Turns off startup programs

* Provides easy and clear explanations and recommendations

Display and uninstall programs

* Displays a list containing all installed programs

* Helps to search for programs no longer used

* Performs easy and clean uninstalls

Fix typical problems

* Recognizes and fixes the most frequent Windows problems

* Restores Desktop icons

* Fixes display errors

Restore deleted data

* Restores deleted files

* Finds deleted data with just a few clicks

* Also works with USB sticks and memory cards

Check hard drive for errors

* Finds errors on your hard disk

* Proposes actions to fix the errors

* Provides more security for your data

Manage running programs

* Precisely shows the processor capacity and memory utilization

* Provides complete control of the active programs

* Improves program management

Personalize Windows appearance

* Offers more design possibilities for windows and buttons

* Customizes the startup and log-on screens (XP™ and Vista™)

* Provides free download material for styles

Change Windows settings

* Neatly displays 400 different Windows settings

* Explains each setting clearly and understandably

* Reliably performs complicated optimization steps

I could go on here since there are additional important features that are included in this application but, I think you get the point. This program is overwhelmingly inclusive, and provides virtually every tool and applet, that a computer user is ever likely to need.

Is it worth $49.95 US for a 3 machine (many of us have more than one computer), license? In my view the answer is a definite – yes. TuneUp Utilities 2010 is simply the best application of its type that I have ever used.

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download a fully functional 30 day trial version at: TuneUp Utilities

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Defraggers, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Geek Software and Tools, Hard Drive Maintenance, Registry Cleaners, Slow Computer, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Memory Management, System Tweaks, System Utilities, TuneUp Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Top 12 Downloaded Free Applications on Tech Thoughts

image In the roughly 22 months I have been writing Tech Thoughts, these are the top 12 downloaded free applications on this site. Having had the opportunity to test each and every one thoroughly, I have no hesitation in recommending these top performing free applications.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware: (45,693 downloads) – When a free application is downloaded over 45,000 times from your site, like Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has been at my site, you just have to know this application is a winner. The free version of this speed demon (it’s faster at scanning than any anti-malware program I’ve tested in the last 2 years), is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers.

Regseeker: (13,974 downloads) – The longer you use Windows, the more cluttered your registry can become, especially if you regularly install and uninstall software. Many applications, on being uninstalled, leave behind “orphan” registry entries. They don’t remove all traces of themselves; causing problems such as sluggish performance, system lockups, or a bloated registry that takes longer to load on startup. With the click of a button, Regseeker will scan your registry for these fragmented files, and safely remove them.

Ccleaner: (9,689 downloads) – Ccleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy, and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally, it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast; normally taking less than a second to run.

Spyware Terminator: (7,439 downloads) – Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware applications over the past year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator primarily due to its strong real-time protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats. Spyware Terminator excels in strong active protection against know and unknown threats. If anything, I find it perhaps a little overly aggressive. On the other hand, better this than the alternative.

Revo Uninstaller: (6,726 downloads) – Revo Uninstaller is a superior program designed to uninstall programs from your computer. This free program with its advanced and fast algorithm scans before, and after you uninstall an application. After the program’s regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over on your computer.

WOT: (4,281 downloads) – Web of Trust is a browser add-on which offers Internet users active preventive protection against Web-based attacks, online scams, identify theft, and unreliable shopping sites. Personally, I won’t surf the Net without WOT being active.

ThreatFire: (3,780 downloads) – A powerful free tool, ThreatFire from PC Tools, the developers of the highly regarded Spyware Doctor, blocks malware (including zero-day threats) by analyzing program behavior (heuristics), based on the theory that if it looks like a crook and acts like a crook, then it must be a crook, instead of relying only on a signature based database. ThreatFire works together with your signature based security applications to increase the effectiveness of your total security arsenal.

A-squared-HiJackFree: (3,533 downloads) – The program operates as a detailed system analysis tool that can help you in the detection and removal of Hijackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Worms, and other malware. It doesn’t offer live protection but instead, it examines your system, determines if it’s been infected, and then allows you to wipe out the malware.

CD-Recovery Toolbox: (3,486 downloads) – CD Recovery Toolbox, a free CD/DVD file recovery solution that can help you recover damaged data that you may have considered unrecoverable.

Disk Heal: (3,363 downloads) – Disk Heal is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive, after it has been being infected by a virus. This application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

Auslogics Disk Defrag: (3,229 downloads) – I defrag with Auslogics Disk Defrag a free disk defragger from Auslogics Software regularly. The program is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and best of all, it’s free.

TrueCrypt: (2,945 downloads) – TrueCrypt is an outstanding free open source software system, (one I have using for the last several years) for establishing and maintaining an on-the-fly-encrypted volume. On-the-fly encryption simply means that data are automatically encrypted or decrypted just before they are loaded or saved, without any user intervention. No data stored on an encrypted volume can be read (decrypted) without using the correct password/correct encryption keys.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Browser add-ons, CD/DVD Recovery Tools, Cleaning Your Computer, Defraggers, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Manual Malware Removal, PC Tools, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Hard Drive Tools For Easy Diagnosing and Maintenance

Hard Drive Diag Arguably, the Hard Drive is the most important element in a personal computer since it holds, in many cases, an accumulation of information that is of real and perhaps irreplaceable value: documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work and important private data.

The upside of today’s high density disks is; modern disks allows for greater storage capacities and higher access speeds. However, the downside is; with densities and capacities pushed to the extreme there is much more information to lose should the drive fail.

So what do you think the chances of a Hard Drive failing are? Surprisingly computer industry statistics seem to indicate that the real-world annualized failure rate (average percentage of disks failing per year), was much higher than the manufacturers’ estimate – an average of 3% vs. the estimated 0.5 – 0.9%.

In fact, just at the moment, I’m dealing with a failing Hard Drive on one of my home machines. This is the third Hard Drive failure I have personally had to deal with, in the last 18 months.

If you should suffer catastrophic Hard Drive failure and you are one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users who regularly and faithfully backup, you will have a lot of work ahead of you but you will recover. If you do not have a backup plan, it’s time you though seriously about developing one.

Fortunately, today’s Hard Drives rarely fail without a warning of failure given well in advance. All modern Hard Drives are equipped with a feature known as S.M.A.R.T. that provides real-time analysis and the reporting of any developing problems and potential issues. The big question is: can you read the warnings?

The following free applications take the guesswork out of the equation, and they make it easier than ever to diagnose what’s really occurring inside the complex environment of the Hard Drive.

Disk Heal

Disk Heal is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive.

This application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

disk heal

Quick facts:

Fixes disk problems

Fixes task manager inaccessibility

Fixes folder options inaccessibility

Fixes registry editor inaccessibility

Recovers hidden files and folders

Changes the default icon of any drive, external, internal, or a partition

Security and system tweaks

Download at: Download.com

Emsa Disk Check

Emsa Disk Check is a dual-purpose utility, for disk checking (prescan and full disk reading) and also benchmarking. It scans/reads the entire contents of a disk (CD, DVD or Hard Drive; or even a floppy), and it shows any read errors that may occur. In addition, it shows drive speed information, progress statistics and so on. It was designed with simplicity in mind, but ease of use for you.

Emsa Disk Check 10

Quick facts:

Useful to quickly and fully scan removable disks like CD, DVD for surface defects like disk scratch problems, bad CD-R/RW DVD-R/RW writes, etc.

Can check CD-ROM, DVD, hard disks, even floppy disks.

Useful for benchmarking a drive: CD, DVD or HDD.

Shows ‘locked’ files on disks.

Reports progress, statistics (files, folders, time elapsed, estimated time remaining).

Reports any errors encountered (error count and log entry for each).

Download at: Download.com

HDDLife

HDDLife is a real-time Hard Drive monitoring utility with alerts, malfunction protection and data loss prevention features. This hard drive inspector is an advanced proactive hard drive failure detection system that manages all of your hard drive risks. HDDLife is S.M.A.R.T. technology based. This is not a free application but it’s 14 day trial period should provide the time needed to diagnose Hard Drive issues.

HDDlife

Quick facts:

Uses S. M. A. R. T. technology

Displays Hard Drive temperature

Displays hard Drive free space information and control

Current version supports IDE, Serial ATA and SCSI disks with standard controllers, while external IDE RAID and SCSI RAID controllers are not supported.

Download at: Download.com

Don’t forget, that Hard Drive diagnostic software is offered free from all the major Hard Drive manufacturers. Check out their sites.

Western Digital Support

Samsung

Seagate

Please note that since Seagate purchased Maxtor, the download sites are identical.

Maxtor

Hard Drive Maintenance: Defrag and Disk Cleanup Tools

Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet. When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders, as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

Hard Disk fragmentation makes the disk drive heads move more than necessary when reading files which can degrade performance over time, and can lead to system slowdowns, computer crashes, slow startups and shutdowns.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

The program is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and it’s free.

In my view, it’s one more maintenance process in helping me get the maximum performance out of my hardware.

auslogics_disk_defrag

Quick facts:

Improve computer performance and stability

Increase your productivity – no more waiting for files to open

Defragment disks in minutes

Disk fragmentation map and detailed fragmentation report

Download at: Download.com

CCleaner

Running a Hard Disk cleaner such as CCleaner can optimize systems by emptying the Recycle Bin, Temporary Setup Files, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Old Chkdsk Files, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and more.

ccleaner2

Quick facts:

Frees up valuable hard disk space

Advanced features to remove unused and old entries

Comprehensive backup feature

System tray icon

Privacy tool

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, computer repair, Defraggers, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Hard Drive Problems, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Defrag the Easy Way With Free Defraggler

To paraphrase Shakespeare “To defrag or not to defrag; that is the question”. You wouldn’t think that defragging a Hard Drive would be an issue which is open to much debate; but it is.

image Fragmentation is caused by creating and deleting files and folders, installing new software, and downloading files from the Internet.

When you delete files or folders, the first available empty spaces on the Hard Drive are filled in randomly when you create new files and folders; as you do when you save pics from your camera, install software, save emails, or create documents.

A fairly common point of view holds that defragging a Hard Drive is pointless, and provides no measurable increase in system performance.

One example of this type of thinking taken from a forum I visit frequently is as follows: “Disk cleanup is pretty useless, and defragging should only really be done if you recently moved around very large files on your hard disk”. This point of view has some support in the tech community.

On the other hand there is also considerable support for the following point of view: “Disk fragmentation leads to system slowdowns, PC crashes, slow startups and shutdowns”.

So which point of view then is more likely to be accurate given that hard disk fragmentation makes the disk drive heads move more than necessary when reading files which can lead to reduced performance in file input and output?

Despite the fact that it is difficult, if not impossible, to measure an increase in system performance following Hard Drive defragmentation, there is a slight leaning in the tech community toward defragmentation being a positive maintenance process. I support this point of view.

I think that we can all agree that CCleaner, a free system optimization application is a pretty cool tool right? The developers of this neat little program, Piriform, are also the developers of Defraggler, a terrific free disk defragger.

Defraggler Fast facts:

Defrag Individual Files – select individual files and folders to defrag

Compact and Portable – can be copied to a USB drive

Small – the EXE is less than 1MB

Fast

After analysis Defraggler lists all the fragmented files on the drive

Freeware – home or business

System requirements: Windows 2000, 2003, XP and Vista includes 64-bit support

Download at: Defraggler

Before you begin a defrag process it’s important to run a program such as CCleaner which will empty your Recycle Bin, Temporary Internet Files folder, and other locations where clutter tends to accumulate on your PC.

As well, you should consider uninstalling any applications you no longer use. Revo Uninstaller is a free utility that will uninstall unneeded applications more thoroughly than the Windows native uninstaller.

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Defraggers, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Slow Computer, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools