Useful free utilities: CPU-Z

CPU-Z is a very small and handy free program which provides you with detailed information that you sometimes need about your computer’s CPU, motherboard and memory. The program doesn’t install itself on Windows, so it doesn’t mess with your Windows Registry and may be run from a flash drive or floppy if required. Just unzip the files in any directory, on any drive, and run the cpuz.exe file.

It’s great, get it right here

Screenshots

CPU-Z cpu tab Continue reading “Useful free utilities: CPU-Z”

The invaluable Windows System File Checker

System File Checker is a very useful tool in the armoury of Windows users. It repairs broken or missing Windows system files, it often fixes obscure problems which defy resolution, and it usually improves Windows performance to a greater of lesser degree.

System File Checker run from the Windows Command Prompt
In Windows 7 or Windows Vista run the command sfc /scannow from an “elevated” Command Prompt.  For a more detailed description of System File Checker, elevated Windows Command Prompts and how to use them see this mistywindow page.

You really need System File Checker.

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TrayStatus: another free utility for Windows

Widows tray with TrayStatus iconsOne of the idiosyncracies of Apple’s computers which I find frustrating is the lack of a disk activity light. I often want to know whether a disk is being accessed—usually if I’m not sure whether an action I’ve initiated is actually happening or not—and I don’t like not having that capacity.

Sometimes even Windows machines may not play ball in this regard: the LED light’s defective, the motherboard doesn’t support the function, or your case is situated so that you just can’t see the light.

If you’re a Windows user and resolving this will scratch your itch, TrayStatus from the nice people at Binary Rescue will fill your heart with joy. Apple Mac users can try MenuMeters.

A lightweight free (donationware) utility, TrayStatus sits in your Windows tray and displays icons for CapsLock, NumLock, disk activity, and a number of other keyboard status notifications if you require them.

You can display all of them or, as I do, just the one. The disk activity icon displays green for read and red for write.

Get TrayStatus here.

Ccleaner

A tried and true Windows cleanup utility

Originally call Crap Cleaner, the nice people at Piriform have come over all genteelish and renamed it CCleaner. It’s still the same excellent little free Windows utility for cleaning a load of garbage off your computer.

Click on this thumbnail to see a full sized image of Ccleaner

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes redundant files from your system – the clutter that Windows habitually leaves behind. It can help your PC to run more snappily and it will free up disc space.

It can remove the dirty footprints of your Internet history and it has an effective registry cleaner. It’s fast, it’s free, and it doesn’t contain spyware.

It’s compatible with all versions of Windows: XP and earlier, Vista, Windows 7, 32 and 64-bit.

A lot of experts decry registry cleaners and cleanup utilities, suggesting that they may crash your system. I’ve been using Ccleaner for years on my own PCs and those of my family and friends: it’s never caused a problem. I’ve also advised its use many times as a solution to problems posted on the Experts’ Exchange and have never received negative feedback.

Having said that, there’s always a first time. Particularly if your installation is already in a dubious state. So before carrying out any maintenance on your computer always back up your data files first. Then install imaging software if you don’t already have it and create an image which can be used to restore your computer to a previous state in case of disaster.

An extract from Piriform’s website:

Cleans the following:

Internet Explorer  Internet Explorer
Temporary files, history, cookies, Autocomplete form history, index.dat files.
Firefox  Firefox
Temporary files, history, cookies, download history, form history.
Google Chrome  Google Chrome
Temporary files, history, cookies, download history, form history.
Opera  Opera
Temporary files, history, cookies, download history.
Apple Safari  Safari
Temporary files, history, cookies, form history.
Other Browsers  Other Supported Browsers
K-Meleon, Rockmelt, Flock, Google Chrome Canary, Chromium, SeaMonkey, Chrome Plus, SRWare Iron, Pale Moon, Phoenix, Netscape Navigator, Avant and Maxthon.
Windows  Windows
Recycle Bin, Recent Documents, Temporary files, Log files, Clipboard, DNS Cache, Error Reporting, Memory Dumps, Jump Lists.
Registry  Registry Cleaner
Advanced features to remove unused and old entries, including File Extensions, ActiveX Controls, ClassIDs, ProgIDs, Uninstallers, Shared DLLs, Fonts, Help Files, Application Paths, Icons, Invalid Shortcuts and more…
Applications  Third-party applications
Removes temp files and recent file lists (MRUs) from many apps including Windows Media Player, eMule, Google Toolbar, Microsoft Office, Nero, Adobe Acrobat, WinRAR, WinAce, WinZip and many more…
Safe  100% Spyware FREE
This software does NOT contain any Spyware, Adware or Viruses.
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And in closing

Get Ccleaner right here.

Did I mention backup your stuff?

And imaging?

Windows Disk Cleanup

This utility is mainly intended for freeing up disk space, but it can help demist a murky Windows installation. To run it, click: Start » All Programs » Accessories » System tools » Disk Cleanup.

It’s even easier in Vista and Windows 7, you just tap the Windows key and start typing disk cleanup, after a few keystrokes—in my case just 2—you’ll see something similar to this:

Starting Disk Cleanup

Press enter or click on the Disk Cleanup icon and you’ll be presented with the window below. Continue reading “Windows Disk Cleanup”

The invaluable Windows System File Checker

If you’re a Windows user System File Checker is a really useful tool in your armoury . It repairs broken or missing Windows system files and often fixes obscure problems or improves Windows performance.

System File Checker run from the Windows Command Prompt
In Windows 7 or Windows Vista run the command sfc /scannow from an “elevated” Command Prompt.  For a more detailed description of System File Checker, elevated Windows Command Prompts and how to use them see this mistywindow page.

You really need System File Checker.