Top 10 free programs to fix a slow computer

By Liz Cornwell | May 20, 2010 |

greater than 4 minutes

Most computer users are eventually faced with the same problem: slow computer after several months of use. That’s inevitable because junk files, bloated software, and registry errors make PCs sluggish. Computer novices start wondering whether they already need a new computer or perhaps there is still hope and they can call a technician who will upgrade whatever there is to upgrade.

Fortunately, there are easier ways to speed up computer performance and you don’t have to be a computer genius to know how to fix a slow computer. You just need to know which tools to use. So, here is a list of top 10 free programs that will make your old PC run as good as new.

1. CCleaner

CCleaner makes your computer faster by finding and removing all the junk that accumulates over time – stuff like temporary Internet files, Windows temporary files, cookies, browsing history, etc. Well, you get the idea.

CCleaner also has a registry cleaner, a startup manager, and an uninstall manager. All of them work well enough and can be used for quick PC maintenance.

Disk Defrag

2. Auslogics Disk Defrag

One of the most popular defragmenters out there. It’s free, a lot faster than the Windows inbuilt utility, and can even perform hard drive optimization. With its help you can defragment files and free space to speed up file access and move the system files to the beginning of the disk, so that your computer will boot faster.

Another nice addition to all its functions is the ability to personalize Disk Defrag by using its color themes.

 

3. Autoruns

Having too many startup entries can significantly increase Windows boot time. So if you have to wait for ages for Windows to load, your startup entries might be responsible for that.

Autoruns is a terrific utility that shows you which programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include the ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more.

Autoruns is very easy to use – if you want to disable an auto-start entry, just uncheck its check box. If you want to delete an auto-start configuration entry, use the Delete menu item or toolbar button.

 

4. Revo Uninstaller

Having too many programs can take up a lot of system resources. So if you want to fix your slow computer, it’s best to remove programs you don’t use.

Revo Uninstaller is a small, but powerful utility that ranks number 1 in the Uninstallers category on Download.com. It’s a lot faster than the Windows Add/Remove tool and has a lot more features, like the ability to remove traces that some software uninstallers leave behind and 8 additional cleaning tools.

When you launch Revo, you will be presenter with the list of installed software. Right-clicking gives users a list of choices, from Uninstall and Remove from list, to Search Google, Show the installation directory, and quick access to the application’s Help file, its About screen, and an Update link.

Registry Cleaner

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5. Auslogics Registry Cleaner

Wondering how to speed up your computer by fixing the registry? Registry errors often cause instability and slow computer performance. Auslogics Registry Cleaner is a tool that will find and fix most registry errors, thus making your computer faster and more stable. Unlike some registry cleaners, it’s absolutely safe to use, because it backs up the registry before making any changes and scans only safe categories unless you specify otherwiser.

 

6. Driver Sweeper

Most computer users connect various devices to their computer pretty frequently – USB flash drives, digital cameras, mobile phones, webcams, plus printers and scanners. When a device gets connected for the first time, you either install device drivers from a CD or they get installed automatically. Unfortunately, drivers can become outdated and become absolutely useless the moment you stop using the device. Outdated drivers and driver leftovers can lead to system instability and startup problems. That’s why it’s so important to remove them for good.

Driver Sweeper is a tool that will help you to update or remove your device drivers. Currently the software supports NVIDIA (Display and Chipset), ATI (Display), Creative (Sound) Realtek (Sound), Ageia (PhysX) and Microsoft (Mouse). Driver Sweeper comes in two versions –classic one with an installer and portable.

Duplicate File Finder

7. Auslogics Duplicate File Finder

If you are an active computer user, then most likely you have a lot of duplicate files that could be deleted to save disk space. Auslogics Duplicate File Finder is a lightweight free utility that can do just that – find and delete unneeded copies. One of the best features of Auslogics Duplicate File Finder is that it can match files by content. This ensures that you won’t accidentally delete a file that is not a duplicate.

 

8. Secuina Personal Software Inspector (PSI)

Secunia PSI is a very handy tool that will help you keep your computer secure and potentially speed up applications. The software detects vulnerable and outdated programs and plug-ins which expose your PC to attacks. The solution is to apply patches, but going from website to website and downloading patches for numerous applications can be a tedious job. Secunia PSI automates this and alerts you when your programs and plug-ins require updating to stay secure. Patching software can also help you fix a slow computer because outdated programs often cause your software to become slower and less stable.

 

9. Foxit Reader

Strictly speaking, Foxit Reader is not a speed-up tool at all. Nevertheless, it will greatly improve your productivity, especially if you work with PDFs a lot. Unlike the bloated Adobe Reader, Foxit is lightweight, fast, and has some useful features like multimedia support, tabbed PDF browsing, and content-sharing options.

 

10. Chrome

If browsing the Internet isn’t as fast as you want it to be and you feel that your browser is to blame, it’s time to consider switching to a faster browser – Google Chrome. Because bother Internet Explorer and Firefox can be pretty slow on startup and consume a lot of RAM. So if your computer is not very powerful, Chrome is the browser for you.

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.
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