15 useful tools for your Windows desktop - most free

Create a faster, more productive Windows environment

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Auslogics Duplicate File Finder
Download: Auslogics Duplicate File Finder
Purpose: Find and eliminate duplicated files
Platforms: Windows 7, Vista, XP; Windows Server 2008, 2003
Cost: Free

If you're a card-carrying member of the Ready, Shoot, Aim school of hard disk maintenance, pass this one by. But if you're willing to look and carefully consider the information presented, Auslogics' free Duplicate File Finder can help you reclaim enormous amounts of disk space.

The trick with any duplicate file cleaner lies in judicious use of the gray matter between your ears. That said, Auslogics' easy-to-use interface makes it relatively simple to find and select the files you want to delete, then stick the selected files in the Recycle Bin, where you can bring them back if need be.

As a general rule, you're safest restricting the duplicate search to locations with data files: documents, music, pictures, and the like. If you venture into locations with system files, be especially cautious before hitting the Delete button.

Top free tools for Windows: Auslogics Duplicate File Finder
Auslogics Duplicate File Finder identifies duplicated files and gives you tools to easily select the files you want to delete.

Revo Uninstaller Freeware
Download: Revo Uninstaller Freeware
Purpose: Uninstalls programs
Platforms: Windows 7, Vista, XP
Cost: Free; additional features in Pro version, $39.25, or $19.62 each for four or more computers

Revo Uninstaller well and truly uninstalls programs, and it does so in an unexpected way. When you use Revo, it runs the program's uninstaller and watches while the uninstaller works, looking for the location of program files and for Registry keys that the uninstaller zaps. It then goes in and removes leftover pieces, based on the locations and keys that the program's uninstaller took out. Revo also consults its own internal database for commonly-left-behind bits and roots those out as well.

Revo gives you a great deal of flexibility in deciding just how much you want to clean and what you want to save. For most programs, the recommended Moderate setting strikes a good balance between defenestrating problematic pieces and deleting items that really shouldn't be deleted.

The not-free Pro version monitors your system when you install a program, making removal easier and more complete. Pro will also uninstall remnants of programs that have already been uninstalled. Next: Paint.Net, Autoruns

Top free tools for Windows: Revo Uninstaller Freeware
Revo Uninstaller Freeware does yeoman's work uninstalling programs, even if you weren't running Revo when the program was installed.
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