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  1. #1
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    TOP STORY

    Freeware outdoes Windows' built-in system tools


    By Scott Dunn

    Most standard Windows maintenance tasks can be accomplished using the utilities included with the OS itself — but that doesn't mean those tools are your best option.

    Whether you're looking for an easier way to browse the image files in a folder, create a restore point, revert to XP's Classic Start Menu, or customize your file associations, there's a (free) app for that.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/02/11/01 (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-20 at 15:57.

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    Love the tips. Specifically for the registry tweaks to enable faster startups, it would be VERY useful to know what sort of speed-ups you guys find when compacting, defragging and so on the registry. It's hard to gauge what sort of improvement I'm going to see!

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Abraham View Post
    Love the tips. Specifically for the registry tweaks to enable faster startups, it would be VERY useful to know what sort of speed-ups you guys find when compacting, defragging and so on the registry. It's hard to gauge what sort of improvement I'm going to see!
    By far the biggest improvements come from managing what programs are started at boot time. If you have XP you will probably not notice a difference from any other registry "tweaking". Your boot time may be a fraction of a second or maybe even one or two seconds faster. IMO, that is not worth the effort and possibilities of trouble by trashing the registry. If you have either Vista or Win7 the Registry has a different architecture and is processed differently so you those "tweaks" are not needed.

    Joe
    Joe

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    A free utility that has impressed me is Search Everything by voidtools (website voidtools.com). It seems to find files from wildcard filename searches hundreds of times faster than the search facility built in to Windows Explorer on Win XP. I have no connection to the company, just a satisfied user.

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    Question

    Love these Freeware Columns too - However when I clicked on the link that sent me to STDU Explorer's home page - it got blocked by MalewarByte - Stating that ...

    Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Has successfully blocked access to malicious IP:90.156.153.20

    Is this a false positive ???

    Roger

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    For old-skoolers... there are some nice free apps at

    http://www.crashcoursesoftware.com

    and also for XP users

    http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm

    where you can find hidden gems and scripts to
    do those little things that Windows is missing.

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    Good article. It pointed out some good resources that I'll try out.

    I am surprised that you did not mention any of the SysInternals programs. They are spectacular for troubleshooting and really digging into what is happening in your computer. Sysinternals Site As well Mark Minasi's blog gives some amazing insight into how he uses the tools to diagnose different types of errors.

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    I really like these tips but I like the Revo Uninstaller as it seems to me to get more of the registry settings that are left over and it is also a free program and I have used it on XP, Vista and 7 all without any problems at all and when run it will tell you if there is a newer version ready for download.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Page View Post
    A free utility that has impressed me is Search Everything by voidtools (website voidtools.com). It seems to find files from wildcard filename searches hundreds of times faster than the search facility built in to Windows Explorer on Win XP. I have no connection to the company, just a satisfied user.

    I agree. I use this all the time. If you ever uninstall anything check 'everything' you will be surprised. You can delete things from the list. I understand that this program is an integral part of Windows but Windows don't advertise it.

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    I am surprised that you didn't mention 'myuninstaller'. This is the best that I have come across. It gives a tremendous amount of information on what programs are installed, where they came from and when,whether the can be cleanly uninstalled etc. I am a constant user of Glary Utilities but their uninstaller is not as good. I also use 'Everything' and always check after uninstalling to see what it finds left behind. Virtually anything can be deleted from its list. I understand that 'everything' accesses the information built into Windows but not advertised.
    Glary Utilities is also one of the most useful free programs. Like 'everything' it accesses Windows built in features like system file checker, disc checker and others but which are not easy to access for average users. I use it also to shut down start programs or to delay them.

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    I'm not surprised at all by what wasn't mentioned. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of great (tens of thousands of not so great too) freeware tweakers, apps and other customizations that were developed in the mature era of a stable OS, namely XP. In fact, while Win 7 seems perfectly acceptable, most of the included new features are easily matched or outdone by my arsenal of free programs and one or two spectacular paid for programs that complement XP so well, and its only when I complete a fresh install of just the XP OS and use it like that for a little while that I notice that comparing OS to OS, 7 does do some things that XP cannot. However I usually end up using an alternate tool or installing the freware feature that already exists in 7 on 7 because the native one is just not as good, at least not yet.

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    In this column, you recommend a program called "Absolute Uninstaller." How does it compare with "Revo Uninstaller"?

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    Pagedefrag won't work on my Vista64 Machine. Says it can't load the drivers and that I must be an administrator. Of course I am! Please advise

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    Great column. I'm currently using many of the tools mentioned. I am looking for two other tools to help. I need a tool to find duplicate files on my hard drive (and external drives) and a tool font manager. One that will search my drive and find all the fonts. Then I can make decisions on both files. I am currently running the lovely Vista.

    Thanks,
    Ken

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    I'll second the Search Everything app. Runs on Win 7 32 and 64, too. It only indexes the file path\names, so it is quick. It's helped me find many files, I even access it remotely where it runs on our server so I can help users find files that they have lost in their terrible filing structure of 10000 folders! Also recommend you check out http://www.ninite.com where you can automatically download and install this and many other apps unattended.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Page View Post
    A free utility that has impressed me is Search Everything by voidtools (website voidtools.com). It seems to find files from wildcard filename searches hundreds of times faster than the search facility built in to Windows Explorer on Win XP. I have no connection to the company, just a satisfied user.

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