TR Dojo: Five Free Windows utilities you should download right now
July 19, 2011, 9:46am PDT | Length: 00:05:53
From defragmentation utilities to password reset tools, Bill Detwiler lists several free Windows utilities that are favorites of TechRepublic members and editors. Once you’ve watched this TR Dojo video, you can find a link to the original TechRepublic article and print the tip from our
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However, in a time where a 500GB HDD for a new desktop system is considered small, Windows Defragmenter will take far too long for most user's comfort.
We have customers that buy our systems with 500GB HDDs and can fill them up to 75% usage in a month. When we have to service a system, if it requires a defrag, then we start it in the morning and leave it running all day for it to complete.
This is not what you want to do on your own systems, is it?
Another "MUST HAVE"
When HDD space is running low, and computer performance is suffering, it very quickly finds the files that are taking up the space, and shows the path to where they are located, enabling them to be deleted quickly and easily (if that is the solution).
It is one of the essentials for my software toolbox.
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Bill Detwiler: Every IT pro and power user has theirfavorite Windows utilities and tools. But, there are a few tools that everyonewho uses or supports Windows should have.
I'm Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo, I'llshow five free Windows utilities that you should download right now.
There are hundreds of Windows utilities out there. Andalmost everyone who works on a Windows computer has his or her favorites. But,there are a handful of must-have tools that no Windows user or support proshould be without.
To keep things simple, I’ve divide this list into fiveseparate categories:
- Remote support tools, and
- Password recovery and reset utilities
And while dozens of applications may fall into eachcategory, there are a few that really stand out. Those are the ones I’m goingto focus on. And best of all, they’re all free.
Now, the tools in our first category -- "Cleaners" help youkeep you system free of all those unwanted files that build up over times onyour hard drive -- like temporary Internet or installation files. This unwanteddata could take up valuable disk space, cause program errors, and even slowdown your computer.
That’s why you should download Piriform’s CCleaner rightnow. With just a few clicks of the mouse, this free utility lets you empty theRecycle Bin, delete all your temporary files, clear the clipboard, and evenclean out the Windows registry. Sure, you could do most of these tasksmanually, but that would take a lot more time.
Now, I’ll provide a download link for CCleaner (and all theother tools I’ll mention today) in the TR Dojo blog.
I’ll also provide links to several TechRepublic articles thatprovide a bit more detail about each one.
Since we’re talking about cleaning unwanted files off yoursystem, this is a perfect time to the second category on our list -- uninstallers.
Now, you can uninstall programs using the Windows Add orRemove Programs wizard, but sometimes it doesn’t get rid of all anapplication’s bits and pieces. This is where dedicated uninstallers can help.
And the while some cleaner utilities, such as CCleaner, canalso act as uninstallers, the one that really stands out with the TR communityis the Revo Uninstaller.
This handy utility from the VS Revo Group is available inboth freeware and professional versions and makes removing an unwantedapplication and all its remnants a snap.
The third category of must-have Windows tools aredefragmenters. These tools can help keep your mechanical hard drives runningsmoothing.
And while Windows’ built-in defragmentation utility is oftensufficient for the average user, IT pros and power users often choose athird-party defrag tool.
In a previous TR Dojo episode, I looked at four free defragtools that were popular with TechRepublic members:
- UltraDefrag tool
- Smart Defrag
I’ll link to each of these tools and the video in the TRDojo blog.
Now that we’ve covered the general maintenance utilities,let’s get a bit more specific. The utilities in our fourth category are mustwhen support remote users.
Sure you can talk someone through a complete series oftroubleshooting steps over the phone, but wouldn’t it be quicker and easier tojust do it for them? Remote support tools let you do just that.
And one of my favorite, and free, tools in this category isCrossloop.
I first covered this remote support utility way back in2008. And while there are lots of alternatives from companies such as Citrix,LogMeIn, and Bomgar.
Crossloop is still one of the easiest to install and use.
Well, we’re down to the last category on our list ofmust-have Windows utilities. And while, you may not use them every day,password recovery and reset tools can be a lifesaver when you need them.
I was reminded by this fact recently, when I forgot thepassword to one of our Windows test machines that I rarely log into. Afterwasting 30 minutes trying every possible password I could think of (and gettingnowhere), I threw in the towel and reset the password with the Offline NTPassword and Registry Editor.
This Linux-based utility that can reset passwords onWindows-NT based systems that use NTFS, such as Windows Server (2003 and 2008),Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.
This utility is so cool I devoted an entire TR Dojo episodeto it back in 2008. I’ll like to in the TR Dojo blog.
Well that does it for my list of free Windows utilities thatyou should download right now. If you didn’t see your favorite tool on the listor think I overlooked a critical type of tool, tell me about in the TR Dojoblog.
And as always, for more teachings on YOUR path to becomingan IT Ninja, visit trdojo.techrepublic.com, sign-up for our newsletter, orfollow me on Twitter.
Thanks for visiting the TR Dojo.