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CPU Stability Test

Just how tough is your PC? Here's your chance to put it on the treadmill and see what its heart can take. CPU Stability Test is a benchmarking utility that puts your PC's Central Processing Unit through a stress test. CPU Stability Test checks your CPU, hard disks, RAM, caches, and motherboard by running multithreaded tests. It supports multiprocessor systems and it offers error and CRC checking.

Click here to Download CPU Stability Test

Eusing Free Registry Cleaner

The more software and hardware you install and uninstall, the more full your Registry gets. A great deal of software doesn't clean up after itself, and leaves behind old and obsolete Registry entries, or upon install creates invalid ones. There will be pointers to missing DLLs, listings of no-longer-valid file extensions, invalid paths, invalid ActiveX Controls, and much more. The more your Registry fills with this junk, the slower your PC gets and the more often you'll have system crashes.
Eusing Free Registry Cleaner helps to fix the problem in a simple, two-step process. Tell it to scan your Registry, and it goes through and identifies common problems and junk.
Then tell it to repair the Registry, and it tidies things up. Because changing the Registry can have serious impact on your system, the program lets you first look at the problems it finds, and tell it to only fix some of them. If you get into trouble, the program also lets you revert to the previous version of the Registry.

Click here to Download Eusing Free Registry Cleaner


Frustrated by how long it takes for Windows to fully load after you've logged in? So is just about every other Windows user on the planet. Now you can do something about it. The free Soluto, currently in free beta, does a very nice job of helping you cut that time--in ways that no other program does.
Soluto runs in the background and watches what programs and services load when you log in. It then analyzes how long each of them takes, and categorizes them according to whether they are required for Windows, potentially removable from Windows boot, or are instead a "No-brainer" that can easily be removed from boot. It bases this information on what the company calls the Soluto PC Genome, a database about many PC applications that the company has put together.
It then shows you details about each application and service, by category of whether they can be removed each of those programs, and lets you determine whether you want to allow the program to remain in the Windows boot, whether you want to Pause it (which means you'll have to start the program manually), or whether you want to delay it, which means that Soluto will allow the program to load, but not at boot time. In that way, you'll boot more quickly, but the program will still be available after several minutes.
I found that Soluto worked quite well. It cut about 30 seconds from my normal boot time of around three minutes and fifteen seconds.
That's not to say the program is perfect. It recommended removing the excellent Outlook add-in Xobni from boot, even though that would mean Xobni wouldn't work when Outlook ran. And it was not able to provide details about every program and service that ran on boot. Also, keep in mind that if you uninstall Soluto, all the changes the program made will be undone.
Still, those are relatively minor quibbles. If you're looking to cut your Windows boot time, Soluto is a solid bet.

Click here to Download Soluto

Sure Delete

If delete a file, it isn't really gone because Windows just marks the space they occupied as being available. And anyone with a program such as Restoration could probably recover them, meaning that personal data could get into the wrong hands. The author of Sure Delete says that this free program deletes the file, then wipes and removes the data left over. The author has stopped updating or supporting the program, but it appeared to work fine in my informal tests. I was unable to recover several test files that I deleted with it. The program has three deletion methods: a quick wipe (which overwrites the file 4 times, a Department of Defense method (which overwrites the file 7 times with random data), and a Super Secure mode which overwrites it an impressive 24 times.

Click here to Download Sure Delete

360Amigo System Speedup Free

If you're looking for a straightforward free solution to optimizing your system, 360Amigo System Speedup Free is a solid bet. It cleans your Registry, deletes junk files and private data, and offers a peek into your system, all wrapped up in a simple interface.
After 360Amigo System Speedup Free performs a scan of your system, it does cleanup for you. You can either have the program clean up everything, or else examine each item individually, such as Registry entries, and tell the program which to clean, and which to leave alone.
As with all Registry cleaners, be careful to set a Restore Point before using it, so that you can revert your system to its previous state if Registry changes cause any problems. Also, as with some other Registry cleaners, the program appears to overstate the number of errors in your Registry. I used several other Registry cleaners before using this program, and each of them found less than a dozen errors. 360Amigo System Speedup Free found more than 1300.
Similarly, 360Amigo System Speedup Free reported I had 340 "problems" related to a defragmented disk, even though other defragmentation programs I used reported there was no need to defragment my disk.
Still, even though it reports what appear to be unnecessary problems, 360Amigo System Speedup Free does a good job of repairing errors it says it finds.
The system information feature is useful as well. In addition to the basics, such as your computer name, version of Windows, and how long your system has been running, it also shows, your current CPU use, speed of disk access, how much memory you're using, and more. This is helpful when troubleshooting, so that you're able to see whether your CPU or RAM is overloaded when running a specific program, for example.
Even though 360Amigo System Speedup Free too aggressively reports on problems it finds, it's a solid, useful program. It doesn't do quite as comprehensive a job at cleanup as CCleaner, but does have some extras, including reporting vital information about your system.
Note that there's also a for-pay version of the program available, 360Amigo System Speedup, which offers additional tools, such as cleaning up your system startup, and checking disks at startup.

Click here to Download 360Amigo System Speedup Free

Clean System Directory

As you put your computer through its paces, installing and uninstalling software, your System folder gathers a ton of DLL files. Over time, you'll accumulate DLL files you no longer need, hogging disk space and causing your system to run sluggishly. Clean System Directory scans your system looking for all references to DLL files in your System directory. When it finds DLL files that have no programs calling them, it lets you take them out of the system directory and delete them, saving disk space and improving system performance. Be sure to store DLLs in a separate folder for awhile before deleting them. That way you can get them back if necessary.
Note: This program is not for WinME, WinNT, Win2000 or later.

Click here to Download Clean System Directory


When you delete files from your PC using Windows Recycle Bin, they don't really go away entirely. Instead, Windows just marks the files as erased and hides them from view until you eventually fill that drive space with something else. If you want to make sure your data is gone for good, use Eraser, a free file deletion utility that uses DoD-grade algorithms to repeatedly overwrite your deleted data until it's practically unrecoverable.
Note: This software used to come in 32-bit and 64-bit versions; it now supports both in a single download. This program is donationware. It is free to try, but the author accepts and encourages donations towards further development.

Click here to Download Eraser

Magic Folder Icon

Magic Folder Icon is a small, free, program from Efreesky, better known for the beefier MagicTweak and Magic Utilities. Magic Folder Icon simply changes the icon of a folder from its default image (a folder), to anything else, provided you've got an icon you like better somewhere on your hard disk. This has a purely aesthetic effect; it's not likely to vastly improve your functionality, but it can make it quicker to spot a particular folder, especially if you normally use a large icon view.
The interface is somewhat confusing, as it's not entirely clear what the proper sequence of events is and the pop-up help is misleading. You select a folder from a typical tree view; then you browse for an icon you like. Magic Folder Icon will show you all of the icons stored within .exe or .dll files, as well as those in .ico files; it can sometimes be interesting to see what icons are contained where. Once you've found an icon you like, you click "Save Settings", and that icon will become the icon of the selected folder. There is also a single button to restore the default system icon for a folder, a nice touch.
Magic Folder Icon is very poorly documented, even given the small set of possible actions you can take. The "Help" file is just a restatement of the product description web page. The "Save Settings" button has a pop-up that reads "Save the autostart settings", which doesn't communicate "Assign selected icon to folder" very well. Last of all, I would expect a program like this to come with a library of sample icons; it doesn't. Fortunately, sample icon libraries are not hard to find.
Magic Folder Icon promises to let you change folder icons, and it meets that promise. Its features are sparse, and somewhat obtuse, but it does the job--and it's free. If you're bored with a wall of manila, it can be worth checking out.
Click here to Download Magic Folder Icon


One of Mac OS X's best features is its "Dock," a bar of icons at the bottom or side of the screen that lets you run frequently used programs, and that you can easily customize. It's a feature that's inexplicably missing from Windows, and surprisingly, missing even from Windows Vista.
Until now, that is. RocketDock is a simple Dock program that you can place at the top, bottom, or sides of your screen, and that gives you quick access to your favorite programs and features. By default, there are icons for a variety of features, including My Computer, Recycle Bin, Control Panel, and others. But you can easily add new icons by dragging and dropping them. The program is extremely customizable, and lets you change the graphic quality of the icons and their opacity, lets you use a number of different styles, and so on. It's simple to use, it's free, and it'll make it easier to run your favorite programs and features. Given that, it's hard to pass up.

Click here to Download RocketDock

PC Inspector File Recovery

File recovery programs come in many different flavors. They run the gamut from simple undelete programs that work only under optimal circumstances within Windows up to heavy-duty sector-by-sector scanners that can piece back together files sans file table or partition info. After reading the advertising, I assumed that freebie PC Inspector File Recovery fell into the latter category.
Alas, PC Inspector File Recovery was clueless when it came to a relatively simple test: recovering data from an NTFS drive that still contained data, but whose partition and file tables had been overwritten. EasyRecovery Professional, Active @ File Recovery, and R-Studio Data Recovery were all able to pull files off of the same test drive. Of course, those programs aren't free, and PC Inspector File Recovery is. If your drive used the FAT 32 file system, you might fare a bit better with PC Inspector File Recovery. I was able to recover files whose FAT info was lost as long as the partition info was available. The program also recovered deleted files (that hadn't been overwritten) just fine.
For free it's hard to complain, but PC Inspector is not a panacea for file recovery that the Web site might lead you to believe. Still, I'd give it a shot; if it works you just saved $40 or so.

Click here to Download PC Inspector File Recovery