15 free downloads to pep up your old PC

Can't afford a new PC? These free tools for Windows will help breathe new life into your old machine.

Keep your PC running in tip-top shape by cleaning its Windows Registry with Eusing Free Registry Cleaner.

Keep your PC running in tip-top shape by cleaning its Windows Registry with Eusing Free Registry Cleaner.

Clean your Registry

Think of the Windows Registry as if it were your basement -- there are plenty of useful things down there that your house needs, such as plumbing, heaters and boilers, but there's probably plenty of useless junk as well.

In the case of your home, the junk is harmless. Not so with your PC. A junked-up Registry can slow down your system and cause conflicts and freeze-ups. The following free Registry utilities will clean it out and help your PC live longer.

Eusing Free Registry Cleaner

One of the main reasons your PC gets more sluggish with time is that the Registry gets clogged up with old entries left behind by badly behaving software, and with outright bad Registry entries. The problem: It's not humanly possible to find these bad entries and fix them.

This excellent free program does the job for you. Run it, and it looks through your Registry for many different kinds of problems, then shows you what it finds. Select the bad entries you want the program to fix, and it fixes them all.

Don't worry that the program will make a mistake and do damage -- it automatically backs up your Registry and lets you restore your old Registry entries if changing them causes problems.

Works with: Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista

Auslogics Registry Defrag

Your Registry, just like your hard disk, can become fragmented over time when you install and uninstall programs, change system settings and manually edit your Registry. When you uninstall programs or make changes that delete or alter Registry keys, the Registry's size doesn't shrink because it keeps the space for the keys. So over time, the Registry tends to grow, which can potentially slow down your PC.

This program can potentially make your PC run faster by doing a full Registry defragmentation. It first tells you how fragmented your Registry is and how much more quickly your PC can access your Registry if you defragment it. When you do a defrag, the program restarts your PC. It also creates a Restore Point, so that you can restore your Registry if you run into problems.

By the way, not everyone believes that shrinking the size of the Registry will make a significant performance difference, but it can't hurt to try.

Note: When you install the program, it also installs an Ask.com toolbar by default. If you don't want to have the toolbar installed, uncheck the box next to it before completing your installation.

Works with: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7

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Preston Gralla

Computerworld
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