Keeping things running smoothly on your Windows machine can be so much easier with the right set of tools. So how about a little list with those tools I have been collecting over the years to do all sorts of system maintenance related business for your convenience. With these tools finding a culprit messing up your PC or just doing some serious cleaning takes a lot less time than trying to do the same with what Windows has to offer by default, leaving you more time for kick ass gaming, surfing or whatever you fancy. Ain’t that sweet?
- Avast anti-virus: it’s free, talks like a pirate, and is so damn necessary. I think this one rocks because I don’t really notice it degrades system performance much compared to other solutions. You need to renew your registration using an online form every year, but it’s completely free for personal use. Knowing there is also a more advanced commercial product using the same virus definition files makes you feel all safe and secure with this one.
- ZoneAlarm firewall: I know it’s a bit of a false sense of security, since in a lot of cases you don’t really know what process is actually trying to get internet access, but in some cases this piece of software has warned me for trojan-like software, so it’s worth the pain imo if you know what you are doing.
- CCleaner: a.k.a. Crap Cleaner, and as it says cleans the crap right out of your system, nice and easy. Clean out browser cookies, temp files, logfiles, redundant registry keys from software you uninstalled a long time ago, remove missing ocx references etc. This is also a very handy tool to get rid of those nasty little bastards that automatically launch themselves at system boot. You know, all those system tray icons you don’t need checking for updates or whatever they can think off? If they don’t let you switch if off in the options, CCleaner will allow you to get rid of them forever. Or until you reinstall of course.
- WinDirStat: another handy tool in the janitor department. This one gives you an overview of what files and directories on your hard drive are the ones sucking up all those gigabytes. This really saves you a lot of time if you need to quickly clear some space on your drive for even more downloads. The graphical view makes it a piece of cake to pick out the largest files in a snap, and Pacman is in there as well. And we all know Pacman pwnz!
- System internals system tools: when things get hairy on your system, and you need to take a peek under the hood you can use these babies to figure out why the hell your hard drive keeps rattling like a maniac while you’re not really doing anything that could be causing it. These tools have been acquired by Microsoft some time ago, which proves they don’t suck. There are a lot of tools in this pack, neatly split up into different categories like security, networking etc, but the ones I found most useful during a bug hunt where the Process Monitor, Registry Monitor, File Monitor and TCPView.
That last one sort of makes the list go beyond 5 tools, but hey, I bet you don’t mind.
Enjoy the extra free time, and drop a comment if you have anything you feel is missing from this list.