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.

Troubleshoot hardware

Got hardware troubles? We've got help. These two freebies will catalog your hardware so that you can more easily troubleshoot it, and monitor your PC's temperature so you can see whether it may overheat.

Belarc Advisor

If you've got an aging PC, you run a chance of running into hardware trouble -- so be prepared to get friendly with tech support, or be ready to do some hands-on work. The first step in any kind of hardware troubleshooting is to know exactly what kind of hardware you've got, and this free program is the best for getting an exceedingly detailed audit of every part of your PC.

It details computer manufacturer, installed RAM, hard disk size, processor type and speed, for a start. But it goes well beyond that. You'll see the maker of your PC's motherboard, hard disk manufacturer, chassis serial number, your PC's service tag, bus type and speed, multimedia devices, whether you've got free memory module slots ... and plenty more as well.

In addition, it provides similar details about your software and Windows installation, including which security hot fixes you've got, which ones you're missing, a list of all user accounts on your PC, the name of your antivirus software and whether it uses real-time scanning, and lots more.

Works with: Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP/Vista

SpeedFan

One reason that PCs fail is that the system temperature gets too high. Overheated PCs can lead to system hangs and crashes, and ultimately to failures as well. This is particularly true for people who overclock their PCs -- that is, force them to run at faster than their rated CPU speed.

SpeedFan by Alfredo Milani Comparetti, who warns that the program is meant for advanced users only, monitors your PC's system temperature so that you can find out whether you're running into trouble. On some systems, it will also monitor your fan speed and let you adjust the fan speed to better cool your PC. It will also monitor some hard disks to see if they show any signs of impending failure.

Note that SpeedFan can't monitor all hard disks and fans. If your hard disk uses SMART technology, the software will be able to find a great deal of information about it. However, even if your hard disk doesn't use SMART, the software may still be able to get fan speed information as well as some hard disk information. The only sure way to find out is to give it a try. But it's free -- what have you got to lose?

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

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Preston Gralla

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?