Category Archives: Tracks Eraser

CCleaner Updated (Again) – Now In Version 3.01

imagePiriform, the people who bring us not only CCleaner, but Defraggler, Speccy, and Recuva, released Version 3.0 of CCleaner on October 28, 2010, and have already updated this version with the release of Version 3.01 (November 25, 2010).

CCleaner users know, that running this venerable utility can help optimize a system 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.

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There are a number of improvements in the latest version worth taking note of, including –

Improved application startup time and INI loading speeds.

Removed need to reboot for Index.dat cleaning.

Improved cookie cleaning in Firefox 4.0 Beta 7.

Improved Chromium based browser detection and cleaning.

Added support for Adobe Reader 10 and Acronis True Image.

Improved cleaning for 7-Zip, Adobe Reader 9.0, Microsoft Silverlight Isolated Storage, WinPatrol and Microsoft Management Console.

Added support for local domains in “Cookies to Keep” list.

Improved debugging with log file support using /DEBUG command-line parameter.

Improved detection algorithm for 64-bit and Program Files.

Improved folder drag and drop in Include options.

Fixed bug in Uninstall Tool during cancellation.

Improved drive detection in Drive Wiper screen.

Added support to refresh cleaning rules using F5.

Improved translations.

Minor GUI improvements.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista Win 7 (64 bit compatible).

Download at: FileHippo

CCleaner is also available in a portable version designed for installation on USB thumb drives (including U3 compatible thumb drives).

Download the portable versions here.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Freeware, Portable Applications, Secure File Deletion, Software, System Utilities, Tracks Eraser, USB, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

The 35 Best Free Applications – Tried, Tested and Reliable!

There’s a wealth of tried and tested free software out in the wild blue of the Internet that will meet virtually every need you’re likely to have. Take a look at the following recommended free downloads that will help you communicate, improve your photos, have some fun, and manage and protect your system.

All of these applications have been well tested over the years for reliability and functionality, and all have developed a strong, loyal following.

Process those words:

OpenOffice

OpenOffice 2 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages including Microsoft Word.

AbiWord

AbiWord is a free light weight word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. It is suitable for a wide variety of word processing tasks.

WordWeb

WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

Manipulate and correct your pics – put them online:

FastStone Image Viewer

This is one of my favorite photo applications, with good reason. It’s not just a viewer, but an image browser, converter, and an editor as well. You’ll find the interface intuitive and very easy to use. This program is loaded with features including, renaming, cropping, color adjustments, lossless JPEG transformation, drop shadow effects, image frames, scanner support, histogram and much more.

IrfanView

IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista. Strange name – terrific application.

Google Picasa

Free software that helps you locate and organize all the photos on your computer, edit and add effects to your photos with a few simple clicks and share your photos with others through email, prints and on the web.

Play those tunes:

Audacity

Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. Definitely the best of breed.

iTunes

According to Apple this is the world’s best digital music jukebox. Download music, TV shows, movies, and more.

Winamp

A multimedia player that supports numerous audio and video formats. It also plays streamed video and audio content, live and recorded, authored worldwide.

Watch your fav videos:

Miro

Miro is a free application for channels of internet video (also known as ‘video podcasts and video rss). Miro is designed to be easy to use and to give you an elegant full screen viewing experience.

VLC

A highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

Free FLV Converter

This free software let you search YouTube and dailyMotion videos without opening your browser and you can even watch the videos using the built-in video player.

Free Video to iPhone Converter

Convert video files to Apple iPhone MP4 video format. Convert the whole movie or select a partition from the movie to convert (trim video).

iPod Video Converter

Free iPod Video Converter provides an easy and completed way to convert all popular video formats to iPod video.

Better browsing:

FireFox

FireFox includes tons of useful features such as tabbed browsing, built-in and customizable search bars, a built-in RSS reader and a huge library of extensions developed by thousand of developers.

Opera

Opera introduces Speed Dial which vastly improves navigation to your favorite sites. In addition, there’s Fraud protection, anti-phishing detection keeps browsing safe and secure.

Web of Trust (WOT)

WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive 4.5/5.0 star user rating on CNET. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

Protect your system:

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0.1

AVG Anti-Virus Free 8.0 now incorporates protection against spyware through a new combined anti-virus and anti-spyware engine as well as a “safe-searching component” which has been incorporated into the new AVG Internet Security Toolbar. This program scans files on access, on demand, and on schedule and scans email incoming and outgoing. For those on Vista, you’re in luck, it’s Vista-ready

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition from PC Tools is an excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense. This free version of the award winning program, with its easy to use interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers; it’s reported there are a million+ additional downloads every week. Be aware however, there is no real-time protection offered with this version and this is the reason I recommend this application as a secondary scanner only.

Spyware Terminator

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.

Comodo Firewall Pro

The definitive free firewall, Comodo Firewall protects your system by defeating hackers and restricting unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet. I have been using this application for 10 months and I continue to feel very secure. It resists being forcibly terminated and it works as well, or better, than any firewall I’ve paid for. This is one I highly recommend. Amazing that it’s free!

HiJackFree

If you are an experienced/advanced computer user and you’re looking for a program to strengthen your anti-malware resources, then HiJackFree is one that’s worth taking a look at. This free application, from EMSI Software, offers a potent layer of additional protection to add to your major anti-malware programs. 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 eradicate the malware.

Ad-Aware 2008

In my view, Ad-Aware 2008 Free is the best free spyware and adware remover available. It does a good job of protecting against known data-mining, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers and tracking components. The only downside with the free version; real-time protection is not included.

ThreatFire 3

ThreatFire 3 blocks mal-ware, including zero-day threats, by analyzing program behavior and it does a stellar job. Again, this is one of the security applications that forms part of my front line defenses. I have found it to have high success rate at blocking mal-ware based on analysis of behavior. Highly recommend this one!

Web of Trust (WOT)

WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive 4.5/5.0 star user rating on CNET. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

SnoopFree Privacy Shield

SnoopFree Privacy Shield is a powerful application that guards your keyboard, screen and open windows from all spy software. I have been using this application for quite some time, and I have been amazed at the number of programs that have requested access to my keyboard and screen. In particular, programs that I am in the process of installing. If you’re serious about privacy, this is a must have addition to your security toolbox.

Staying in touch:

Windows Live messenger

The next generation MSN Messenger. It comes with everything that were already available in Messenger, and a new i’m Initiative that makes helping your favorite charity as easy as sending an instant message.

Pidgin

A multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once. Pidgin can work with: AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, IRC, MSN, Yahoo!, MySpaceIM and many more.

Trillian

A fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC.

System Tools:

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 second to run.

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 8 months 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.

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.

Revo Uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller is a superior program 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 (those “orphaned” registry entries we talked about earlier), on your computer. This feature is a definite plus.

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.

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; 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.

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Filed under Audio Software, Browser add-ons, Cell Phone Apps, Diagnostic Software, Don't Get Hacked, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Free Security Programs, Free Word Processors, Freeware, Graphic Software, Image Editors, Integrated Photo Applications, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, iPod Tips, Media Player Replacement, Mobile Applications, MS Word Alternatives, Multimedia Tools, Online Photo Editing, Online Photo Storage, Open Source, Photo Tools, Portable Applications, Productivity Software, Registry Cleaners, Safe Surfing, Secure File Deletion, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System File Protection, System Security, System Utilities, Tracks Eraser, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools, Writing Aids

Pristy Utilities 2009 – Simple PC Tools

Very often new and casual computer users get left behind when it comes to PC utility software.

Developers of this type of applications are prone to designing tools that require more than just a passing knowledge of how computer operating systems really work.

For many users, a simple set of tools that does not require the user to be geek inclined are more appropriate than a suite of tools that does everything but clean the kitchen sink.

Pristy Utilities 2009 is a somewhat low end, but simple set of tools for new and casual computer users that includes the following fairly basic modules:

System Power Down scheduler – A fully customizable scheduler that allows the user to schedule Power down, Reboot, Sleep, Log off, Locking the desktop, etc. Includes timer presets with custom options.

PC Detector – Displays essentially the same information as Windows Device Manager but in a manner that is more new user friendly.

Web Assistant – I found this module particularly appealing since it allows a quick one click approach to multi-tab web browsing with integrated search engines including Web Search, News, and Services. Additional functions include transmitting emails and files over the Internet.

Additional modules include:

System Memory Cleaner – There are better, and more functional, free stand alone memory utilities but in a pinch this can do the job.

File Wipeout – An elementary file eraser; nothing special here.

Desktop Clock – A floating clock applet that additionally provides, date and CPU speed stats.

Vista Booster – Allows the optimization of Vista settings, CPU L2 setup, boot defrag, fonts repair and install.

Toolbar and Tray Agent – Gives instant access to all application modules.

System Requirements: Windows XP, 2000, 98, Me, NT

Download at: Download.com

For a more robust set of system utilities checkout Glary Utilities – Perfect Collection of Free System Tools on this site.

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Filed under Freeware, Interconnectivity, Memory Optimizers, Secure File Deletion, Software, System Memory Management, System Utilities, Tracks Eraser, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Cerberus Security Guard – Increase Security/Change System Settings

In Greek mythology Cerberus is the three-headed dog guarding the entrance to Hades; so I found it a curious name for a suite of system and privacy tools designed for new and intermediate level computer users’.

Every running, but unused, service on your machine can be an unnecessary security vulnerability. If a service is not required for authorized users and system functionality, it may well be to your advantage to turn it off.

If you’re a Techie, or a highly skilled computer user, it’s very likely that you have the knowledge and skill to make adjustments to virtually all of your operating system manually, using the Services option of Administrative Tools to attain maximum performance.

But a novice/casual, or even an intermediate computer user, will often need a software tool to help determine which services and system components can be safely modified.

Fortunately, there are a number of free tools available that will help any computer user, novice or not, to determine which services/system components can be safely modified.

Cerberus Security Guard, a free application from Best Security Tips, will allow a typical or novice user to increase system security by disabling or optimizing selected services and system components from a central console. As well, modifications can be made to the operations of Internet Explorer, FireFox/Mozilla, and Media Player.

Since adjusting service settings incorrectly has the potential to create some rather nasty problems, the program offers both a Backup and a Restore function.

An additional advantage in optimizing services and system components is this can often lead to improvements in system performance and boot time; although it’s fair to say that in the Tech community there is some disagreement as to whether this is an accurate statement.

If you decide to install this small application you can determine for yourself if you’ve had an improvement in system performance.

There were a number of things on installation that bothered me – I don’t like applications that configure themselves to auto start on boot; this one did. Since I have WinPatrol installed, it was easy to disallow auto start.

I particularly dislike applications that seek screen access; but again, since I run SnoopFree Privacy Shield, it was easy to reject this request. Finally, this is one more application that offers to install a so called “Security Toolbar” – automatic rejection.

Quick facts:

Manage Windows security and privacy settings

Central console to make adjustments

Modify Internet Explorer, FireFox/Mozilla, and Media Player

Backup and Restore function

System Requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Microsoft .NET Framework

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Privacy, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Tracks Eraser, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Hard Drive Tools – Diagnose/Maintain/Clean Your System

Arguably, the Hard Drive is the most important element in a personal computer because 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. The downside is however; 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%.

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 though, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Cleaning Your Computer, Diagnostic Software, Disk Cleaners, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Slow Computer, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Utilities, Tracks Eraser, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Ashampoo WinOptimizer 4! – Save 40 Bucks

From time to time Ashampoo, a software company noted for developing top quality, easy to use applications, makes available free, current versions of their retail products.

This time Ashampoo is offering their outstanding WinOptimizer 4 (still available at retail for $39.95), at no cost. I believe this a limited time offer and there is no guarantee the offer will not be withdrawn without notice; so as the hot dog guy at the ball park says, “get em while they’re hot.”

WinOptimizer 4 is an outstanding collection of system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain, tweak, and protect your PC. If your computer has been acting sluggish lately, then WinOptimizer 4 may be just the application you’ve been looking for to restore your system to its optimum performance mode.

In testing, I found that the application was extremely fast, and that it worked as advertised.

The application has sixteen easy-to-use modules that have been designed to increase system performance and stability. For those who prefer a one click solution, a One-Click-Optimization feature has been included which automatically executes the Drive Cleaner, Registry Cleaner and Internet Cleaner functions.

The user interface is laid out in four specific modules so that you can quickly find the tool you’re looking for.

Quick facts:

Cleaning Tools: Drive Cleaner, Registry Cleaner, Internet Cleaner

Tuning Tools: StartUp Tuner, Process Manager, Internet Tuner, IP Spam Blocker

File Tools: DiskSpace Explorer, File Wiper, File Splitter & Joiner, File Encrypter & Decrypter

Tweaking Tools: Tweaking, Defrag 2, System-Information, System-Benchmark, Visual Styler

System Requirements: Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and 2003 Server.

Free registration is required.

Download at: Ashampoo

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Filed under Cleaning Your Computer, Do you need a new computer, Free Full Versions, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Registry Cleaners, Secure File Deletion, Slow Computer, Software, System Utilities, Tracks Eraser, Uncategorized, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Repair Computer/Optimize System Performance – Free Evonsoft Computer Repair

System utilities that perform multiple tasks such as a cleaning the Registry, removing junk files, resolving privacy issues, and removing Spyware, can be intimidating to new or casual computer users. Generally, this type of user is often unfamiliar with both the technology itself, and the technical terms involved in using this type of application.

But Evonsoft Computer Repair, a one click advanced system utility for Windows that allows the user to safely remove spyware, clean the registry, sweep for privacy issues, and clean junk files with a single mouse click, has been designed with this category of user in mind.

While it’s true that more advanced users want/need much more control than a one click system utility provides, this sort of utility can be the ideal solution for a new user.

According to the developers, with one click Evonsoft Computer Repair will scan your computer and present a list of the errors found by the application. You will then have the option of cleaning each item individually, or allowing the application to repair the errors automatically.

In my own testing, I found that the application was extremely fast and that it worked as advertised. I did find however, that the lack of a clear explanation left me feeling slightly uncomfortable. I suspect that more advanced users might also feel the same way.

On the other hand, this lack of explanation might be the very feature that the new user will find most appealing about this application. Most new computer users, in my experience, don’t really want to know the details; they just want the job done.

If you’re a new, or casual computer user, this free application should meet your needs effectively.

Quick Facts:

  • Scans and removes spyware and adware
  • Cleans your System and should boost performance
  • Repairs your PC and keeps it tuned
  • Very easy to use
  • Free – no adware, spyware, or viruses

System Requirements: Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and 2003 Server.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Diagnostic Software, Freeware, Privacy, Registry Cleaners, Software, System Utilities, Tracks Eraser, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools