30+ Awesome Utilities to Boost Your Windows PC

Despite what fanboys from the rival camp claim, Windows is a self contained operating system in most aspects. It has gotten better with every new version and given the number of legacy hardware and software it supports, it’s no mean feat to make the operating system so user friendly. Yes, there are some shortfalls when it comes security and maintenance.

But since all of us don’t need power user features and there literally are a ton of apps to bridge the gap, I don’t usually understand what the fuss is all about. While not very pretty looking, these apps get the job done and in most cases are available for free too. After the break we have compiled a list of awesome apps that help boost the performance of your PC. Do read on!

Performance

Process Tamer

ProcessTamer

ProcessTamer

Super efficient Process Tamer has a tiny footprint, yet does a splendid job taming all those processes that bring your PC to a screeching halt. It runs in the background keeping a watchful eye on the system resources used by all the applications. When it detects a process overloading the CPU, the priority level of the process is downgraded temporarily until the CPU usage comes backs to normalcy.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Soluto

Soluto

Soluto

When a lot of new generation developers diverted their focus to mobile, tablet and Mac app development, folks at Soluto remained steadfast in their goal to make the desktop experience a breeze. Their patent-pending low level driver technology detects when the performance of the desktop is low and tells you which application is causing it. Useful analytics is presented in simple, gorgeous screens making it easy even for the less tech savvy to understand the problems.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

ProcessLasso

ProcessLasso

ProcessLasso

At first glance, ProcessLasso might look like a task manager in steroids, but in reality even while designed like one, it is more than just a task manager. In the development team’s own words it’s a process priority optimization and system automation utility. This app is every power user’s wet dream and comes with a lot of nerdy features like priority optimization, affinity optimization, core optimization, automated rules, automated power schemes and the like!

Price – From $32.95
Free Version Available? – Yes

Glary Utilities

Glary Utilities

Glary Utilities

This freeware utility can do a whole lot of things from registry and disk cleaning, privacy protection to performance accelerator and more. Despite being an amazing multifunctional tool, Glary Utilities operations can be performed at once in a single click. Apart from speeding up the system performance, the app does its bit to secure the system from malware as well.

Price – $27.97
Free Version Available? – Yes

AntiFreeze

AntiFreeze

AntiFreeze

With such a cool name worth a great street cred that is also very self explanatory, the app is the ultimate solution for a hung CPU. Every Windows user should be familiar with the dreadful scenario when the system gets ridiculously slow one cannot even bring up the task manager to kill some processes. Instead of pressing the power button in the tower, try the AntiFreeze hotkey and it will kill all but critical applications.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Speccy

Speccy

Speccy

From the house Piriform, a popular freeware development house comes Speccy. The app is a dynamite resource to know all about your hardware and its health. Feel the system is slowing down quite a bit and you are sure that software isn’t the problem? Take Speccy out for a spin and see if everything is alright under the hood.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

SuperF4

At the press of Ctrl+Alt+F4, SuperF4 kills the application that is running in the foreground. The app might come in handy when you are unable to make the application you are currently running to respond. Do note that there is no way to save the data from the app you are going to kill when you deploy the app.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

File Management

xplorer2

xplorer2

xplorer2

After snooping around the app, I realized that xplorer2 is how the Windows file explorer should have been, as their homepage rightfully claims. Breadcrumb navigation, dual panes and multiple tabs allow for easy file access. Besides, the app is so much snappier than the stock file explorer even with so many features cramped in. Combine it with the preview pane, you gotta love xplorer2!

Price – $29.95
Free Version Available? – Only a free trial.

MediaMonkey

MediaMonkey

MediaMonkey

MediaMonkey wants to better iTunes on Windows. The app can organize and manage tens of thousands of media files and then sync them with modern day smartphones and music devices. If the files are missing any information from the metadata, MediaMonkey automatically imports them from the Internet.

Price – $19.95
Free Version Available? – Yes.

Drop zone

Drop Zone

Drop Zone

Ever feel that it is too much of a chore to copy files from one place to another in your PC? Drop zone lets you create, well, zones to drop your files that have to be copied or moved. Just drag and drop files into the drop zone to get the job done. You can have multiple drop zones and each one of them can have its own functionality.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Listary

Listary

Listary

Listary is an efficient file manager with a neat and clean user interface. With the help of the Listary toolbar you can quickly jump to your favorite and recently accessed folders. Among other notable features, the powerful find-as-you-type feature lets you find what you are looking for with incredible ease.

Price – $19.95
Free Version Available? – Yes

WinArchiver

WinArchiver

WinArchiver

WinArchiver can mount any archive as a virtual drive instantly. With the app installed, you can mount the archives and access the files inside them. This way you can save a ton of time spent unarchiving them. All archive types, including the popular ones like Zip, RAR, 7z etc. are supported. On top of this, WinArchiver can also mount regular ISO files (CD/DVD images) as virtual drives too.

Price – $29.95
Free Version Available? – Only a free trial.

FiletoFolder

FiletoFolder

FiletoFolder

FileToFolder is a simple app with just one goal – create and move the selected files into folders of their own. You can select files like you normally would, right click and those files will be tucked into their own folders. You can also launch the application from the Start menu and perform folder creation as well.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Disk Tools

Auslogics Disk Defrag

Auslogics Disk Defrag

Auslogics Disk Defrag

Auslogics Disk Defrag effectively does what every Windows user painstakingly goes through every few months – disk defragmentation. The app not only moves files around for better optimization but also places system files to the faster part of the disk for increased performance. The app can be set on auto pilot so that it can start defragmenting as soon as the system is idle for more than 15 minutes.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

WinDirStat

WinDirStat

WinDirStat

WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer cum cleanup tool. The app presents its analysis in three views – directory list, extension list and treemap. Based on the color code and the associated file extension, you can understand how data is organized in your disk.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

MyDefrag

MyDefrag

MyDefrag

Formerly known as JkDefrag, MyDefrag comes with a bundle of data optimization strategies. For those who are less tech savvy, the app has built in defrag scripts and for power users there is a scripting engine. Besides optimizing data, MyDefrag keeps free space chunks exclusively for storing temporary files, which means enhanced operating system performance.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Acronis Disk Director

Acronis Disk Director

Acronis Disk Director

Once you create a partition in Windows, you are stuck with it for good. There absolutely is no simple way to increase or decrease the partition size without data loss. Unless you use Acronis Disk Director, that is. The app manages to resize, split or merge partitions at will in a few clicks. Looking for a way to create reliable backups? Use the app’s mirroring feature to create redundant backups.

Price – $49.99
Free Version Available? – Only a free trial.

Ext2 IFS

Ext2 IFS

Ext2 IFS

Have you tried using a Linux and Windows dual boot PC? If so, you should be familiar with how insane it is to not being able access the volumes created under Linux. While Linux can read FAT32 and NTFS file systems out of the box, Windows can’t read EXT2 file system as easily. Ext2 IFS offers full read and write access to Linux file systems. It only does that one thing and it does that with gusto!

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

DrivePurge

DrivePurge

DrivePurge

DrivePurge makes cleaning the disk of unwanted files its mission. In addition to performing general upkeep like purging temporary files and unused system files, the app offers deleting useless data from every partition in the drive. You get to pick and choose which files need to be purged and which ones shouldn’t be.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

System Enhancement

Free Opener

Free Opener

Free Opener

It often is a hassle to find the right applications that open files with unfamiliar extensions. Install Free Opener and your problems will be solved instantly. Viewing your media files is a breeze with Free Opener. Start watching your videos, listening to your audio or viewing your pictures and documents in their full glory, from one single app. The app can open 80+ file types in all!

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

TeraCopy

TeraCopy

TeraCopy

This one is my personal favorite. After every clean installation, I won’t start using my PC until this tiny little file management buddy installed. The app boosts file transfer rates within the Windows explorer making it blazing fast. And if you are performing a huge file transfer that is going to take sometime and you are looking to take a break and work on something else, you can pause and resume the process at anytime!

Price -14.95 Euro
Free Version Available? – Yes

Everything

Until Vista came along, searching for files in Windows was a nightmare (Vista was a different kind of nightmare, but that’s a totally different story!). I used Google Desktop search for a while but then it was as resource hungry as it was efficient and has now been discontinued. From a clean and simple interface, Everything app lets you search for files quickly that it has indexed equally quickly. The index is updated in realtime as and when you add files and Everything also allows you to share files with others!

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Revo Uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller

Some apps make it their goal to muddle the desktop by not getting themselves removed properly upon uninstallation. The built in unintsaller does a rather lackluster job in removing apps and at times, installations might not be removed from the list or they won’t show up in the list in the first place. Revo Uninstaller acts as the pro version of the stock uninstaller and then some. Mac like drag and drop uninstallation, forced uninstall and real time installation monitoring make Revo Uninstaller a compelling choice.

Price -$39.25 Euro
Free Version Available? – Yes

Launchy

Launchy

Launchy

Have you ever used Alfred in a Mac? I can vouch that the app is so exquisite. Launchy, like Alfred (which one was developed first?), indexes the applications in the start menu. Once that’s done, you can launch applications, documents, bookmarks and more without having to access the Start menu at all.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Nemo Documents

Nemo Documents

Nemo Documents

If you are someone who has a ton of documents, you will love Nemo Documents. After installation, it inspects all the available documents and displays them in, wait for it, a calendar view. Yep that’s right, all your documents can now be accessed based on the date of creation/modification. It works with a wide range of files such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint, PDF, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, images, video files and more.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

QTTabBar

QTTabBar

QTTabBar

QTTabBar is a lightweight app for those who don’t want to drastically change their file explorer’s user interface. The app offers tabbed navigation allowing for viewing multiple open windows in a single screen just like in a modern web browser.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Security

OpenVPN

OpenVPN

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is a full featured SSL VPN software solution that comes with server, client and enterprise management capabilities. This app tunnels all your Internet activity using an encrypted connection making sure nobody is snooping your connection irrespective of where you are connecting from. I’m trying this one soonish!

Price -$5 per machine
Free Version Available? – Yes

MalwareBytes

MalwareBytes

MalwareBytes

I could write pages after pages raving what the app does to boost the security of a PC. A lot of security apps are capable of preventing malware, even zero day ones, from installing in the PC by using heuristics. MalwareBytes not only detects but also removes all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more even from a highly infected desktop.

Price -$24.95
Free Version Available? – Yes

ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarm is widely popular for making brilliant software firewall systems for Windows. The last time I used it was a couple of years ago, but even then the app had so many customization options. This fine grained control over what app or process gets beyond the firewall is what makes ZoneAlarm a great security tool.

Price – $29.95
Free Version Available? – Yes

AVG Anti-Virus

AVG

AVG

AVG needs no introduction. The fact that it is the World’s largest downloaded free anti virus solution speaks volumes about the quality of the app. Even with real time protection and multiple updates per day, AVG doesn’t hog your system resources and runs quietly in the background. The app and the updates are all free, but if you want professional support, you will have to go with annual subscription. The support on the forums is free and should be more than enough if you use it for personal use.

Price – Free
Pro Version Available? – No

Comodo

Comodo

Comodo

Comodo offers both anti virus and firewall solutions to all users. But it’s the firewall it has made it a top notch security brand. A rather minimalistic interface makes the app very intuitive to use and even noobs can tweak the settings for top notch protection. Their trademark Auto Sandbox technology tests apps and processes in a virtual environment to ensure that malicious software do not gain access to the core operating system.

Price – $29.95
Free Version Available? – Yes

ThreatFire

ThreatFire

ThreatFire

ThreatFire is a security utility with a twist. While it isn’t advisable to run this app alone, combine it with a traditional anti virus and you have got yourself dynamite protection infrastructure. ThreatFire acts as a layer on top of your existing anti virus, monitoring your PC against attacks by detecting malicious behavior, such as capturing your keystrokes or stealing your data. It’s the ideal solution if you are paranoid about unknown zero day threats.

Price – $39.95
Free Version Available? - Yes

Share Your Thoughts!

What do you think of the apps that made the list? Got any suggestions? Share them with us in the comments section!


  • Luis

    You missed Tuneup Utilities

    • http://afifplc.blogspot.com Afif

      Somehow this page showed up funny on my iPhone. Scrolling is a nightmare. Please check.

    • http://robcomm.net vrob

      I couldn’t live w/out tuenup utilities too. Keeps the drive defragged, uninstalls programs, shows hard drive space and what files are taking up that space, fixes hard drive errors, lets you set what processes you want at startup. And probably more stuff.

    • Kevin

      Same here, without TuneUp Utilities I’m lost. Simply does all you need, no more need for tens of tools, this one does it all..

  • Rafay

    Why Windows apps are so ugly? :(
    They got the functionality, how about a little eye-candy as well?

    • http://laranzjoe.blogspot.com lawrence77

      +1

      • SZH

        +1

        • http://asmodiel.de Asmodiel

          +1

          • Dino

            +1M ^^

    • Dilbert Asended

      +1B

  • SZH

    You missed the most important one: Heigh Speed http://www.heigh-tech.com/heighspeed

    • laccy

      maybe caus eits not free :P

      • SZH

        Not all of the other ones are free either

  • Jonathan Fuchs

    Microsoft Security Essentials is a good replacement for AVG.

  • Connor Stuart

    I’m a long-term Windows user, and I didn’t know about half of these utilities. Thanks a lot :)

  • puregreen

    I’d also like to recommend NexusFile as file manager application, http://xiles.net/downloads/#NexusFile from same developer of NexusFont you’ve introduced before. It looks like classic-dos style file mgr, really useful if you’re experienced similar things while ago. I cannot work everyday jobs without this application.

  • http://shahrez.carbonmade.com Shahrez Rafiq

    Process Tamer, Soluto and AntiFreeze are three most awesome applications i discovered from reading this post.

    I’d second Jonathan that MSE should have been mentioned instead of AVG. It is way better than the latter.

    Great, great site
    Well done guys. :)

  • Aegis

    VistaSwitcher– its tagline is “Speed up Windows Alt-Tab”. It definitely makes the process of switching through windows a lot more elegant and productive.
    http://www.ntwind.com/software/vistaswitcher.html

    Dunno about the Heigh Speed program that SZH mentioned (it does cost $15, after all), but a great, free and time-tested internet connection tweak tool is TCP Optimizer:
    http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php

  • http://www.pcfif.dk Rasmus Badstue

    I agree with the rest, AVG is crap.. The computers ive fixed that had the most malware/spyware and slow was the ones with AVG installed.

    Consider Avira Free or Avast instead. MSE is slow and not as strong in detection of virus according to http://av-comparatives.org/ and personal experience!

    But Process Tamer is quite nice, thank you for sharing that :-)

  • http://www.nunocarvalho.org/ Nuno

    i use humanized’s enso instead of launchy. cleaner looks, pretty fast
    http://humanized.com/enso/

  • http://techgyo.com Sreejesh @techgyo

    What a huge collection, I could keep installing these apps and check around for a week.

  • http://www.hoodwebmanagement.com/ Kane at Hood Web Management

    That QT Tab bar looks pretty handy…

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  • Sandra

    I think FileMenu Tools really needs a mention. It is a great context menu add-on that adds multiple file manager utilities to the right-click context menu.

    http://www.lopesoft.com/en/fmtools/info.html

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  • laccy

    i like webroot, avira, trustport, stopzilla

    avg and eset are dummy, kaspersky somewhy dont likes my pc, too

  • http://www.aeronaves.org Aeronaves

    It definitely makes the process of switching through windows a lot more elegant and productive.

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  • http://www.strokesplus.com/ Rob

    I’d also like to add my freeware mouse gesture utility: http://www.strokesplus.com/

    It’s great for productivity and automation.

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