Keep your hard disk in tip-top shape with O&O Defrag

Keeping your spinning media running at peak performance isn’t always as easy as it might sound. Yes, Microsoft has included Defrag in Windows since Windows 95; but the application is basic, and does only the bare minimum in keeping your hard drive running well. This is why I like O&O Defrag. It’s one of the best Windows hard drive defrag utilities on the market today.

O&O Defrag helps you maximum the performance on your PC. If you work on your computer a lot, then after a while, you’re going to notice slow system and program starts, endless rendering and memory processes, or even system crashes. The first thing most people will recommend you do is to try optimizing or defragging your hard drive.

The benefits are well documented. Defragmenting your PC can accelerate the speed your runs and responds to disk activity requests. In the latest version of O&O Defrag, you can now see what the program does for your system thanks to its graphics and statistics displays. They give you a before-and-after Defrag contrast on your hard drives usage as well as file fragmentation status.

Aside from the basic PC performance features you get, O&O Defrag offers some really nice advanced features. The application adapts itself to your PC usage patterns and system loads with Activity Guard. It’s only going to run when you need it to, based on historic use; and won’t get in the way of your computing activities. Best of all, it works on both conventional, spinning media hard drives as well new SSD, without damaging these new solid state storage devices.

Download O&O Defrag

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Keep your PC running at peak performance with Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro

One of the biggest problems that most Windows PC’s have is poor performance.  After all the hardware tweaking is done and you’ve maxxed your RAM out, if your PC is still slow, and you don’t have a virus, you might need to check the fragmentation level of your hard drive. That’s one of the reasons why I like Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro. It’s a hard drive utility for Windows; and its one of the best.

Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro has four different disk optimization algorithms. Use the Optimize by Access Time method when you want to access frequently used files. The Optimize by Prefetch Layout algorithm speeds up your system loading and application startup. If your goal is to reduce future file fragmentation, the Optimize by Change Time algorithm is the one for you. For complete, refined control, the Optimize by Disk Zone algorithm allows you to manually specify which file types or individual files should be written to faster parts of the drive. Its just a matter of choosing the right method that’s best for you.

Keeping your free space free and uncluttered is important to fast disk access.  With the Free Space Consolidation algorithm, you can greatly slow down the process of file fragmentation. This optimization algorithm merges your drive’s free space into a large contiguous block, making it possible for new files to be written without fragmentation.

The one thing that won’t defrag on a Windows system while its running, are system files currently in use.  These are often in use when a defrag program runs, and as a result, they won’t defragment. Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro’s new Offline Defragmentation engine makes it possible to defragment these important system files. Offline Defragmentation is performed on system boot, before the operating system loads and consolidates the MFT, your Paging file, your Hybernation file and your Windows Registry. Defragmenting system files will make your PC more responsive, speed up system loading and boost its overall performance.

Read full review | Download Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro

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Keep your PC running in top condition with Norton Utilities 15

I remember back in the day when Norton Utilities was actually written by Peter Norton. They were THE set of utilities to have for your DOS based PC, and in many ways today, offer a great deal of protection and peace of mind. That’s why I feel that this PC based, Windows utility package is a must have.

Norton Utilities helps your PC run like new. With them you can speed up PC performance and boot time, fix common PC problems with a single mouse click, reduces launch time of applications by optimizing the registry, increase storage and performance by defragmenting and cleaning up the hard drive and of course, recuing accidentally deleted files. It’s a package that most every Windows user should seriously consider purchasing.

Norton Disk Doctor identifies and fixes potential problems that can lead to hard drive crashes. You can use it to save your bacon, should you start experiencing random data errors in files you know are uncorrupted elsewhere. Norton UnErase lets you quickly restore accidentally deleted files that may be hidden on your hard drive, provided they space they occupy hasn’t been overwritten with other data. Norton Smart Updates keeps Norton Utilities up-to-date by automatically installing product updates. Startup Manager improves PC boot time by choosing which programs will load at startup time and Norton Service Manager optimizes active Windows services so applications can run simultaneously without your PC experiencing any slowdowns.

Read full review | Download Norton Utilities 15

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Browsing performance of the new iPad is the same as the iPad 2 – Futuremark

While web pages may look sharper on the new iPad’s improved display , the benchmark results show that the browsing performance is the same as the iPad 2, suggesting that the computational processing power in both devices is near identical (A5 vs A5X). The test was made by Futuremark using Peacekeeper, its browser speed test.

Peacekeeper is an HTML5 based browser performance test that can be used to measure and compare the performance of any browser on any Internet capable device, from desktops and notebooks, to tablets and smartphones.

Considering that device’s browser performance is strongly linked to the power of its CPU, Peacekeeper can compare the performance of competing devices regardless of differences in operating system. Here are some popular tablets ranked by browser performance as measured by Peacekeeper (higher scores are better):

  • Acer Iconia W500 (Windows 8 consumer preview) – Peacekeeper score 405
  • Apple iPad 3rd gen (iOS 5.1) – Peacekeeper score 384
  • Apple iPad 2 (iOS 5.1) – Peacekeeper score 383
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – Peacekeeper score 356
  • ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime (Android 4.0.3) – Peacekeeper score 344
  • Apple iPad 1st gen (iOS 5.1) – Peacekeeper score 234

If you would like to try Peacekeeper on your device, fallow this page. The test is free and takes around 5 minutes.

 

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Good functionality outweighs some real problems – System Mechanic

As the pared down version of the pay-version System Mechanic Free is of course not going to offer quite the same level of options and functionality, however it performs all the basic tasks of privacy protection, registry cleanup, optimization and removal of hidden files. The ActiveCare automatic feature is handy for giving a basic level of optimisation for novice users, and the experienced can get in behind the hood and customise it to their preferences. System Mechanics Free also incorporates extra features that would normally be handled by other programs such as spyware removal, disk defragmentation and control of programs that run automatically on startup.

That’s not to say there aren’t a few downsides. Some of the more advanced tools can be difficult to handle such as the option to restore your system to a previous state. This function is less than obvious in the interface and doesn’t allow restoring of individual items. System Mechanic Free can also interact poorly with programs like AVG, which can be quite frustrating.

Overall, System Mechanic Free is a good program that can outperform many other free programs with its core features and also offers some handy extras. However the difficulty of using some advanced features and its problematic interaction with other programs can be a cause for frustration.

Download System Mechanic

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Keep your computer clean with Comodo System Cleaner

When it comes to system cleaners, CCleaner is one of the most popular. However, that doesn’t mean there is no other software with this purpose which is less popular, but with great features. Meet Comodo System Cleaner – a free package of useful cleaning utilities: Registry Cleaner, Disk Cleaner, and Privacy Cleaner.

The registry cleaner has the purpose of removing any corrupted or unnecessary Windows registry entries. The disk cleaner has the purpose to clean out any system junk files, duplicate files and needless archives. The privacy cleaner has the purpose to protect your privacy by removing all traces containing private data from your system. Talking about what’s different in this program, the data Shredder has the purpose to permanently remove files, partitions or entire disk data and the Force Delete will let you delete any locked files or registry entries.

Apart from the default tools that any decent application with this purpose should have (as mentioned above) Comodo System Cleaner has some nice built-in tools that kept my attention: Force Delete and Shredder. Also, an interesting feature that I’ve found in Comodo is ‘Active Clean’. When this option is enabled, Comodo System Cleaner will scan your system in real-time to identify and delete invalid, corrupt and redundant files when they are created.

Download Comodo System Cleaner

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AMD launches ATI Catalyst 10.8 drivers

AMD just rolled out this month’s major Catalyst software suite release, Catalyst 11.8 WHQL. The software provides the latest WHQL-signed drivers for AMD Radeon GPUs, AMD accelerated processing units (APUs), and AMD chipsets with integrated graphics. This release sees the fusion of AMD Overdrive System (CPU) with GPU overdrive. Both AMD processors and Radeon GPUs can be tweaked using a single application in the Vision Control Center. CPU Overclocking in Vision Center, however, is only supported on Black Edition processor models.

In the GPU driver front, Catalyst 11.8 brings a few major performance improvements, including a 10% performance improvement for Crysis 2 DirectX 11, for both non-Anti-Aliasing, and application enabled Anti-Aliasing modes; 8% performance boosts in FEAR 3 DirectX 11 with application enabled Anti-Aliasing; and a significant 20% boost in Call of Duty Black Ops for single and multi-GPU setups. AMD has redesigned Morphological Anti Aliasing (MLAA) code to boost performance of all applications with MLAA enabled, by up to 30%.

The ATI Catalyst 10.8 drivers can be downloaded here.

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Optimize, clean up, maintain and speed up your computer with Windows Winset 2011

Anyone who installs a lot of programs or has been online as often as most computer users are today will bump into performance issues. Caches get full, drives get fragmented, registries get littered with orphaned entries. It can be a real mess in there. Sometimes the only way to fix the problem is to sweep it all out. This is one of the reasons why Windows Winset 2011 could be the best choice for you. It’s an all-in-one system utility to optimize, clean up, maintain and speed up your computer.
Read the full review | Download Windows Winset 2011

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