utilities

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  • 9 free tools that make Windows much better

    Posted February 3, 2014 - 2:03 pm

    Windows is packed to the rafters with features, many of them great--and others, just meh. Luckily, there are free alternatives that are more powerful, more efficient, and take only minutes to install. Read on, and we'll show you 9 built-in features of Windows that aren't up to snuff, and the free software you can use to replace them.
  • Review

    PCs fail. Be ready with the best boot-drive programs

    Posted October 21, 2013 - 1:36 pm

    These utilities can help restore order in times of crisis, allowing you access to your operating system and all of your data again.
  • Win the inbox war: Four utilities fight email onslaught

    Posted August 2, 2013 - 11:13 am

    Analyze, sort, file, delete: here's the help you need for your overstuffed inbox.
  • I'll take mine to go: 12 apps to carry with you at all times

    Posted August 1, 2013 - 3:51 pm

    With mobile devices, personal cloud storage, and easy access to the Web, there's far less need to tote around software. But "less need" isn't the same as "no need". And there are still plenty of reasons to carry your apps with you on a USB drive. Here are 12 (mostly free apps) you won't want to be without.
  • 12 must-do PC tasks

    Posted April 5, 2013 - 1:43 pm

    The excuses end here! Get your PC into tip-top shape by performing these 12 simple tweaks.
  • Review

    6 software and driver update utilities compared

    Posted March 19, 2013 - 3:27 pm

    If you dismissed update utilities as something only for home users (as I did until recently), now might be the time to take a second look.
  • Supercharge your laptop with 6 powerful utilities

    Posted March 2, 2013 - 8:45 am

    No laptop load-out is complete without software tools for expanding screen real estate, collecting battery data, and more.
  • Review

    Panacea or pariah: Five PC cleanup utilities put to the test

    Posted March 2, 2013 - 8:28 am

    We test five free PC cleanup utilities to see if they're the real deal and save you the risk.
  • Review

    Managing data trash: 6 tools to improve privacy and free space

    Posted January 23, 2013 - 12:35 pm

    It's time to think beyond the Recycle Bin with a new echelon of waste management utilities.
  • 6 awesome built-in Windows 8 utilities no one knows about

    Posted December 4, 2012 - 4:51 pm

    Buried deep inside Windows 8, you'll find great tools for tweaking and improving the OS. And they're all free of charge.
  • Five Android apps that fix something about Android

    Posted October 15, 2012 - 3:38 pm

    Independent developers who care a lot about their phone experience, and yours, too, have quietly filled in missing features and fixed annoyances in Android while nobody was looking. Now’s the time to look at what their fixes can do for you.
  • Review

    Free and affordable software to sync your work and your life

    Posted March 4, 2012 - 8:36 am

    If you're like plenty of people these days, you have more than just one computer--and I don't mean just a traditional desktop or laptop PC, but also a smartphone or a tablet. A smartphone is little more than a computer wrapped around a cell phone; and a tablet, of course, is merely a computer in a convenient portable package.
  • Review

    Review: DriverUpdate handles more than just drivers

    Posted January 28, 2012 - 8:50 am

    Don't be fooled by its name: DriverUpdate isn't simply a utility for keeping drivers up-to-date. It handles that task, certainly, but it also does more. This $30-per-year program streamlines the process of updating your Windows OS, as well as those apps, like Java and Adobe products, that frequently seem to be in need of updates, too.
  • Review

    Review: Driver update utilities

    Posted December 10, 2011 - 9:24 am

    We recently reviewed several utilities that pledge to make the task of updating drivers less onerous. Some of these programs (particularly the free and demo versions) identify driver updates for you. The full-featured, more expensive ones will update them as well. We show you which programs are worth the download, and which you should give a miss.
  • Nine absurdly useful file management utilities

    Posted August 18, 2011 - 9:51 am

    Show your messy file system who’s boss with these high-quality tools.
  • Cleanup utilities: Can they speed up your PC?

    Posted June 25, 2011 - 8:05 am

    What happens when you take a clutch of cluttered old PCs, install four Windows optimizers, and check for improvements?
  • Free beta of Bins improves Windows 7 taskbar

    Posted May 16, 2011 - 10:34 am

    When Windows 7 first came out, there was quite a bit of excitement about its innovative taskbar. Some went so far as to say it was more Mac-like than ever. Overall, users seemed to like the new look for one of the most-often used parts of Windows. But could the Windows 7 taskbar be improved? According to utility Bins (free beta, price to be determined), the answer is a definite yes.
  • 'Wind turbine hacker' full of hot air

    Posted April 19, 2011 - 11:33 am

    Though noted as probably fake, the wind turbine hack hoax got lots of attention for its target and 'evidence;' could propaganda-generating fake attacks be the next hactivist weapon?
  • Smart Defrag 2 keeps a hard drive running smoothly

    Posted March 30, 2011 - 8:59 pm

    If, while troubleshooting your PC, a tech-support person says you need to defrag your hard drive, you have our permission to laugh directly in his or her face. Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it once in a while.
  • Review

    11 tremendous free PC utilities

    Posted March 29, 2011 - 9:36 pm

    Instant organization: Instead of clicking around in Windows Ex­­plorer to find where Windows hid your newly downloaded MP3 file, try DropIt. This open-source utility lets you set up folder associations for specific file types. Just drop files on the big target icon on your desktop, and DropIt will automatically whisk them away to their appropriate (and easy-to-find) destinations.
  • 5 sizzling speed boosters

    Posted March 29, 2011 - 9:33 pm

    Comprehensive benchmark: SiSoftware's Sandra 2011 Lite performs a remarkable number of tests to pinpoint exactly how well each component in your system is running. It even tests power efficiency.
  • 10 must-have free downloads

    Posted March 15, 2011 - 9:25 am

    Setting a high bar for PC software shouldn't hurt the bottom line. These freebies will make your life easier.
  • 10 utilities to secure your data

    Posted March 7, 2011 - 10:21 pm

    Very few people (certainly not the smart, savvy, people who read PCWorld articles) run their computers without up-to-date firewall and antivirus software. Most users know better than to click a message from "Bank of Amerika" that tells them "Your account is much suspect of risk, please input number for verify." Regardless, there's always a new security hole, exploit, or social-engineering trick that can catch even the intelligent and cautious in a moment of weakness. Another threat is the possibility that someone might gain physical access to your computer--whether it's a laptop thief, a sneaky coworker with dubious intent, or an aggressive lawyer for the RIAA. This feature discusses several ways to keep your digital valuables safe, even if someone is prowling around your house.
  • Problem-Solving Sites: Convert Files, Find Deals

    Posted October 20, 2010 - 9:57 am

    These immensely useful Web sites let you convert files to almost any format and get remote tech support.
  • NIST Lays Out Spec to Turn Power Grid to Network Grid

    Posted October 15, 2010 - 2:59 pm

    The federal government has committed billions to enhancing national power grids to load balance, save power and, eventually, use the same cables to carry data and power.
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