spyware infections, lost hard disk space do to program overloads, or even registry corruption that slows the system to a crawl. If you use Microsoft Windows you know its an ongoing battle to keep your system clean and running smooth. Here are some powerful and free utilities you can use to maintain your system. This list is by no means exhaustive but will give you some tools to cover the most common problems Windows users face.
This is a great program that can remove even the most serious pests. If you have tried other antivirus programs and they did not cut the mustard, try this one for on demand scans. Its free, fast and effective.
"It detects and Removes Spyware, Adware and Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers, Parasites, Rootkits, Rogue Security Products and many other types of threats"
For cleaning up all the junk files that Windows accumulates and fixing broken and missing registry entries this is the easiest and best tool we can recommend. Use it before and after removing virii and uninstalling junk programs form your computer to optimize your systems performance.
"CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download."
addition to your arsenal. Use it to remove programs that you can't remove with Windows Add/Remove Programs. Actually use it every time you uninstall a program if you want to be rid of all the files and registry entries that get Left behind.
"The Uninstaller tool lists the installed programs and components for all and current user. With a choice of views, as well as a context menu, information on program components is available: program properties, their registry entries and links to manufacturer's web site, for a start.
The 'Search' option finds installed applications just by typing the first few letters of their name. Revo Uninstaller scans for leftovers with advanced algorithms that are so precise, fast and very effective in search for leftovers of Windows Services, Drivers, File associations, Shell Extensions, COM components, Windows Installer components, program settings and more!"
"Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is considered to be the next step in the detection and removal of malware. In our product we have compiled a number of new technologies that are designed to quickly detect, destroy, and prevent malware. Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware can detect and remove malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to detect."
Microsoft Security Essentials
"Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple.
Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times."
malware, it often will change a lot of your system settings such as your home page, search defaults and other settings. To fix these after you remove the pest use HijackThis. It will show you all your start up items and browser settings and allow you to return them to factory default
"Scan your computer with HijackThis version 2.0.4 to find settings changed by spyware, malware, or other unwanted programs. HijackThis version 2.0.4 is now Windows 7 compatible. It generates in-depth log reports for Windows-operated systems, including Windows 7."
Its a fact of life. Your hard drive gets fragmented over a time. Once you have a clean system your computer will still need a good defragmenting to make it run sweet again. Defraggler will simplify this process with the ability to defrag individual drives, files, folders etc.
"Use Defraggler to defrag your entire hard drive, or individual files - unique in the industry. This compact and portable Windows application supports NTFS and FAT32 file systems."
Dropbox. Drobox creates a folder on your hardrive that you throw files into. It backs up these files online, allows you to have web baseds access to them from any computer as well as sync your dropbox folder with multiple computers. 2 Gig of storage for free. Not enough for your music or video collections but more than ample to back up and share important documents. We use it every day to share our charities files between our office staff.
"Put your files into your Dropbox on one computer, and they'll be instantly available on any of your other computers that also have Dropbox installed (Windows, Mac, and Linux too!). Because copies of your files are stored on Dropbox's secure servers, you can also access them from any computer or mobile device using the Dropbox website."
Malicious Software Removal Tool
that's preventing Windows Update from Downloading it. It comes with XP Service Pack 2 and updates monthly without you even knowing it. Use the the Malicious Software Removal Tool to clean serious infections and allow you to install important security patches form Windows Update.
"The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool checks computers running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software—including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom—and helps remove any infection found.
When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed."
And our favorite download site for finding these utilities and more in their latest incarnation is filehippo.com. If you've never heard of filehippo, check it out today! Free downloads of utilities to do just about anything you want to do on a Windows computer. At Computers for Charity, we are all about free!