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Advanced SystemCare Free

Advanced SystemCare Free 5 uses its powerful arsenal of optimization tools to keep your PC feeling fresh and clean. It also includes a couple of features that could help boost performance for either gaming or work purposes–your choice.

Advanced SystemCare’s Quick Care option includes the ability to clean your registry, perform a rudimentary malware scan, fix and remove broken shortcuts, delete junk files, and erase browsing tracks. It works in a flash, requires almost no user input, and to make things even easier, can be configured to run on system startup.

The Deep Care option, on the other hand, takes system care to another level. It performs all of the Quick Care items to a much deeper degree, plus it adds several other scans and fixes to its checklist, including disk defragmenting, a Windows vulnerability fix, and a system optimization with several presets. Understandably, this kind of deep digging can sometimes make a user nervous. Fortunately, the program’s log records all of its activities, letting you see how each affects your computer.

Scan times for the Quick Care and Deep Care options differ significantly, yet, both processes still seem blazingly fast. For instance, we completed a Deep Care scan in approximately 15 minutes, which is an impressively short time for a system-invasive program like this.

Brand-new to version 5 is the Active Boost function, which runs in the background and automatically improves PC performance by managing your system resources. We recommend enabling it, as it even keeps a log of all the active processes that it manages to speed up. Also important, Version 5 connects to the cloud in order to keep its database up to date.

As for Advanced SystemCare’s user interface, we were impressed, to say the least. The main dashboard is superclean, with nifty icons and intuitive navigation. Plus, there’s an unimposing smiley face always at the bottom of the screen, indicating your PC’s overall health. If you click the Status button next to the smiley, you can also get more detailed info from the system performance monitor.

One part of the program we recommend new users approach with extreme caution is the Turbo Boost, which can be set to optimize for either gaming or work purposes. It sounds fun, but you must first configure the tool by telling it which core system services to disable in order to accelerate your computer’s performance. Since the Turbo Boost section doesn’t spell out how disabling these services might affect your computer, we highly recommend doing your research before exploring. To its credit, though, Advanced SystemCare can create rescue points, so it’s not hard to undo changes if you end up making any mistakes.

One small problem we found was that some of the program’s options open in new windows, while others open in the same window. Those in the same window have convenient back-navigation buttons in the upper left; those in new windows are sometimes overlaid directly on top of the previous window and make it hard to see how to return to the previous screen. Also, we were a bit turned off by the cleverly disguised ad for Roboform Password Manager during installation. It looks a bit like a terms-of-service sheet, so be sure to read carefully before your instincts kick in and you automatically click Accept.

Overall, we love Advanced SystemCare’s toolset, performance, and convenience. Sure, we wish the program were more explicit about how it changes your computer, but we still think it’s an awesome all-in-one system utility, and we highly recommend downloading it.

License: Free

Limitations: No limitations

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Smart Defrag

There are plenty of downloadable defrag utilities to choose from, but it’s hard to beat the ease of use and helpful extras in IOBit’s Smart Defrag.

With this utility you can quickly analyze your hard drive to check the level of defragmentation before committing to a scan. The interface shows you different colored blocks representing fragmented files, frequently used files, and more, with a helpful key to show what each colored block represents.

When you’re ready to pull the trigger, you can choose from a straight defragmentation (fastest), or have Smart Defrag perform either a fast or “deep” optimization after defragmentation. Our test machine has a rather full hard drive, so even using the fast optimization took close to 40 minutes. Depending on your hard drive and level of defragmentation, your mileage may vary.

In addition to the solid defragmentation tools, you can have Smart Defrag automatically defrag the files you use the most without significantly slowing down your system. Even while performing a full defragmention and optimization run, the program barely uses as much as 25MB of RAM, and with just the auto-defrag running continually, it uses about half that amount.

Smart Defrag offers a few extras, including a scheduler so you can set it up to only defrag during downtime on your computer. You can set it to run scans on bootup or even have the app shut down your computer when it’s done defragging selected hard drives or partitions.

It’s important to note that Smart Defrag is not as essential for those running Windows 7 because the OS defrags continually on it’s own. But if you run external drives connected to a Windows 7 computer, this utility will still come in handy for keeping them running smoothly.

Overall, if you want a quick and solid defrag utility to make your computer run more smoothly, with added options for scheduling and other extras, you should definitely download this program. Both beginner and advanced users will have no trouble operating this solid utility.

Disk fragmentation is generally main cause of slow and unstable computer performance. Smart Defrag helps defragment your hard drive efficiently. Smart Defrag not only defragments computer deeply but optimizes disk performance. With ‘install it and forget it’ feature, Smart Defrag works automatically and quietly in the background on your PC, keeping your hard disk running at its speediest. Smart Defrag is completely free for home, organization, and business.

License: Free

Limitations: No limitations

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WinMend Auto Shutdown

WinMend Auto Shutdown is a free tool that will shut down your Windows PC at a scheduled time. It can also place your PC in hibernation or standby mode, or log you off when it’s unattended. You can use Scheduled Tasks to do all that in Windows, but it’s a complex and time-consuming process. That’s where Auto Shutdown shines: it’s easy enough for anyone to use.

WinMend Auto Shutdown normally runs in the background; clicking the program’s system tray icon let us show the main view as well as restart or shut down our PC immediately. The program’s brightly colored interface is efficiently configured for the task, with a brief description of what it does and a current date and time display above sections labeled Task and Time. In Task, check boxes let us select Shut down, Log off, Sleep, and Hibernate commands. The Time section offered selections for Daily operation, with a spinner for hours, minutes, and seconds; Specified date and time, which adds a scrolling pop-up calendar view; and From now, which counts down in hours and minutes. We started by selecting Shut down and Daily and setting the time for a minute later. After a minute, a 30-second countdown popped up with an eye-catching flasher icon and a Cancel button; in 30 seconds and following a few more notifications, our PC shut itself down. We ran the process again, only this time we clicked Cancel, which ended the countdown and prompted us to verify the command. The other commands worked equally well. The main interface has two extra tabs, Our Products and About Us; the former listed shareware and freeware products, and the latter linked to the developer via Web and e-mail.

If you don’t like using the Windows Task Scheduler but want to schedule an automatic shutdown or other system commands, WinMend’s free tool can do the deed for you: all you have to do is tell it when and how.

License: Free

Limitations: No limitations

Download Now (1.56MB)

Dubai based start-up Infinitec prepares to launch the world’s first “Infinite” USB Memory (IUM), and before the name gets you excited, it’s a wireless USB device that works by allowing access to data using an ad hoc stream from your Windows-based PC.
Originally unveiled at CES in January, the IUM is set to launch on March 1. Preordering is available and is, according to CEO Ahmad Zahran, building quite a demand, “After five minutes we started to get sales. This happened at 1am … and since then we’ve got more than I expected.”
Going for a little under US$ 130, some are finding some of the features to be quite bland, (sharing between PCs and the like), but the reason I would part with my money is for the support this little gadget has with gaming consoles such as the XBOX 360 and PS3. Some other features include the capability to stream content directly to an HDTV or Blu-ray player.

If you really want to understand how it works and what you can do with it check out this video the marketing people from Infinitec prepared:

The more I think about the IUM, the more I think, “What are the security implications of such a device?”, or “You could probably send someone a gift laptop with the hard drive pre-shared using IUM and if it’s good software, the user won’t realize a thing”. But hey, it’s probably just my skeleton-riddled closet that’s doing the talking. I mean, does anyone really keep confidential data on their laptops?


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