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PC World

Top 10 system tune-ups

top 10

January 31, 2000
Web posted at: 10:41 a.m. EST (1541 GMT)

by Linda L. Grubbs

(IDG) -- Okay, so maybe Y2K didn't obliterate your PC, but that doesn't mean other, more routine problems won't. Everyone has a crash-and-burn story to tell. Let yours have a happy ending. Run benchmark tests, customize your Windows interface, edit your boot options, or free up some RAM while shrinking your computer angst. These shareware utilities will have your system running faster, cleaner, and error-free. This list is just a sample of the system-tuning utilities FileWorld offers. To peruse all of them, click "More system utilities," link below.

Top 10 system tune-ups

  1. HardInfo Pro: Run benchmark tests on your Windows 9x machine with this $19 shareware utility. HardInfo Pro provides detailed test results on all your hardware, including your CPU, hard drives, storage devices, display adapters, audio devices, network cards, modems, printers, sound cards, and more. The intuitive interface lets you benchmark your CPU and see how it rates against the competition.

  2. Xteq X-Setup: Customize your Windows environment by personalizing icons, editing your start-up options, and choosing which programs to autoload. Its 17 wizards help you tweak your Windows settings quickly and easily.

  3. RAMBooster: Monitor Windows' use of your precious RAM, and free up system resources with this free utility. RAMBooster lets you see how much RAM is in use and can alert you when the available RAM falls below a specified level. This updated version includes HTML help files and the ability to restart Windows 9x without rebooting.

  4. RAMpage: This free applet displays memory information in your system tray and lets you free up unused memory either manually or automatically. This version fixes bugs and offers install/uninstall support.

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  5. System Mechanic: Get your PC running faster, cleaner, and error-free with this pack of 12 system-maintenance tools. System Mechanic lets you remove duplicate files and other junk, fix broken shortcuts, manage Windows' Startup menu, track system changes made during program installations, schedule maintenance, and more. The security tool erases cookies, clears cache files (including those from AOL), and expunges the history of Web sites you've visited. You can use the trial version for 30 days.

  6. DiskPatrol: This $15 program helps you remove space-wasting trash files from your hard drive. Its filters let you quickly find and delete unnecessary files.

  7. Cacheman: Tweak your Windows 95 hidden disk cache settings for better system performance with this free program. It has a graphical interface that takes you step-by-step through the changes you need to make to your system.ini file.

  8. More Space: Find and delete duplicated and outdated files, and recover valuable hard disk space. More Space scans your hard drive and displays file statistics, including file type, age, creation date, access date, and size. You can delete files, send them to another folder, or zip them from within More Space. This free utility displays advertising, but if you register the product, all ads are removed. The registration fee is $20.

  9. MemTurbo: This optimizer improves system performance by increasing the RAM available for applications and the operating system. It defragments physical RAM, increasing the efficiency of your CPU and motherboard caches. It also recovers memory leaks, and temporarily flushes unused libraries and DLLs out to disk. The program costs $20, but a 30-day trial version is available.

  10. Tweak UI: Customize your Windows user interface, including menu speed, window animation, and Internet Explorer with this free update from Microsoft. Note: If you're running Windows 98, you should download Tweak UI-98 ( It's intended for IE 4.0x users.

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