50 tools to speed up your PC

Get Windows humming again, supercharge your browser, and clear out the crud with these (mostly) free downloads.

Browser Optimization

Want to make your browser run better and give it new capabilities, including optimizing the way you browse the Web? Check out these browser utilities.

Adblock Pro

Here's a great way to optimize your use of Internet Explorer. (Be aware that this tool works only with IE.) It blocks ads of all kinds, including banner, Flash-based, and embedded. You have plenty of configuration options, too, such as the ability to have it display ads only from specific domains or pages. If you turn on the Flash blocker, you won't be able to view YouTube videos, so you may want to instruct the program to display Flash only from specific domains.

Download Adblock Pro | Price: $20 (Shareware)

Adblock Plus

If you're a Firefox user looking to rid your browsing sessions of ads, this add-in is worth a whirl. It claims to block 99 percent of ads on the Web, and based on our experience with it, that may well be true. You can selectively block ads or choose a filter that blocks them all. With a bit of work, you can even allow certain ads through while blocking the rest.

Download Adblock Plus | Price: Free

Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer

Do you use Firefox on more than one PC? If so, you know how maddening it is to keep bookmarks in sync. This free tool automatically syncs all Firefox bookmarks on multiple PCs, and backs up your bookmarks to a server so they'll never be lost. And if you're on a PC that isn't yours, you can pull up your bookmarks from the server.

Download Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer | Price: Free

Greasemonkey

If you're willing to get your hands dirty by digging under Firefox's hood, this may be the best Firefox optimizer around. Through JavaScript, it allows you to customize how Web pages look and act so you can change them, add extra features to them, and so on. Actually, you don't even need to tinker much yourself, because plenty of people have written useful scripts that you can simply plug into Greasemonkey.

Download Greasemonkey | Price: Free

IE7 Pro

Optimize Internet Explorer with the help of this no-cost utility. It juices up the browser's tab handling, restores all tabs in the event of a crash, lets you use "mouse gestures" for controlling IE, blocks ads, checks spelling, and much more. It also has a scripting feature similar to Greasemonkey for Firefox.

Download IE7 Pro | Price: Free

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Preston Gralla

PC World (US online)

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