Recommended Software - Utilities

Looking for some good utilities to help fix your computer? We've listed some of our favorites below along with some clickable screenshots. If you'd like to try any of these utilities you can click on the Homepage link on the right and get it hot & fresh straight from the source.

CPU-Z

CPU-z screenshot

 

CPU-Z Homepage

CPU-Z is one of those programs we use every time we build or upgrade a computer. We use it confirm correct processor and memory settings. CPU-z will display CPU core voltages, bus frequencies, clock multipliers, RAM timings and other critical settings. Plus you can use it to retrieve your BIOS version and date without having to reboot your computer.

One of our favorite features of CPU-z is that it is also distributed in a plain ZIP file where no install is necessary - just copy cpuz.exe to your desktop.

WinDirStat

WinDirStat screenshot

 

WinDirStat Homepage

Ever run low on disk space and wasted a bunch of time trying to find out which programs were hogging all the space? With WinDirStat you can see a graphical representation of disk use which allows you to quickly pinpoint the largest files, directories, and programs on your hard disk. We love the PacMan animation when the program starts up along with the brilliant simplicity of the graphical treemap. You can delete files and folders from the CleanUp menu so there is no need to switch to Windows or a command prompt to delete stuff and free up space.

GSmartControl

GSmartControl screenshot

 

GSmartControl Homepage

GSmartControl is a GUI for the smartmontools package. This program allows you assess the health of your hard disks using the SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) data. SMART data can be difficult to interpret but GSmartControl makes it easy since it automatically reports and highlights any disk anomalies.

Autoruns

Autoruns screenshot

 

Autoruns Homepage

Autoruns is another great utility from the fine folks at SysInternals. One of our biggest pet peeves with Windows software is all the CPU sucking autostart programs and services that most programs install, often without your knowledge. Install a bunch of programs and before long it will take two or three times as long to load your desktop. With Autoruns you can easily see and disable any unwanted startup baggage to improve Windows boot times. Simply put Autoruns is the best utility we've found for removing unwanted startup entries.

Parted Magic

Parted Magic screenshot

 

Parted Magic Homepage

Parted Magic is another fantastic Linux live CD we use when doing low level disk work such as partitioning or data recovery. It's not a single program, but rather a customized Linux distribution of essential tools for working with disks and data. Parted Magic contains some great software including GSmartControl, CloneZilla, TrueCrypt, ddrescue, partimage, dosfstools, GParted, and more. Recommended for advanced users.

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware screenshot

 

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Homepage

We've found MalwareByte's Anti-Malware to be the best program available to find and remove malware/spyware from your computer. Even the free edition kicks the crap out of paid commercial offerings such as Symantec/Norton Anti-Virus, Kaspersky, McAfee, etc. It's also one of the fastest scanners around and has very good detection rates. It has a no nonsense installer/uninstaller and automatically updates itself on startup to ensure you always have the latest version. We recommend running MalwareBytes Anti-Malware at least once a month.

SUPERAntiSpyware

SUPERAntiSpyware screenshot

 

SUPERAntiSpyWare Homepage

Our second favorite anti-spyware program is SUPERAntiSpyware. It also has great spyware detection and will usually find some stragglers that MalwareBytes Anti- Malware and other programs miss. Like most other antivirus software, it seems to work best under Windows PE (preinstalled environment) but also does very well when run directly from an infected system. One of our favorite features of SUPERAntiSpyware is that there is a portable version available, no installation is necessary.