You download, create, delete, and move around countless files and endless piles of data on your PC every day. While your PC would ideally handle all of this data for you, it doesn't take long before you end up with a disorganized, cluttered computer. Earlier this week we asked readers to share their favourite Windows maintenance tools, and today we're back with the five most popular answers. Hit the jump for an overview of the five best Windows maintenance tools, then cast your vote for the best of the bunch.
Any application called CCleaner where the first 'C' stands for Crap has to be good, right? Okay, maybe not, but this one is, thoroughly cleaning out your web browser, Recycle Bin and temporary files, registry, unnecessary third-party application trash, and oh so much more. Running CCleaner on your system promises to free up space, keep your computer running smoothly, and protect your privacy. It's also very fast and very easy to use. (Read more)
Revo Uninstaller is a feature-rich replacement for the Windows default Add or Remove Programs feature (or Uninstall Programs in Vista). Why use Revo Uninstaller instead? Because not only does it just uninstall a program—it also removes all traces of the program from your system where the basic uninstaller may not. Revo also boasts a Hunter Mode for uninstalling apps by dragging a cross-hair onto the app you want to uninstall, whether it's the app's system tray icon or just a shortcut. It even helps manage your startup applications. (Read more)
Auslogics Disk Defrag
Auslogics Disk Defrag is a fast and effective disk defragmenter intended to replace the Windows default. It's quick and easy to use, and Auslogics DD provides a nicely formatted report of the latest defrag, including a motivating "Defragmentation has increased this computer performance by X%" message.
JkDefrag is an open-source disk defragmenting tool. Unlike Auslogics DD, JkDefrag boasts command line support to allow you to set up your disk defrags on a schedule. Perhaps even better, JkDefrag has an installable screensaver that will automatically start defragging your hard drive whenever the screensaver is launched—it even displays the defrag process. Out of the box JkDefrag isn't the most attractive application you'll ever use, but when teamed with the previously mentioned JkDefrag GUI, it's just as attractive and easy to use as any defragger you'll find.
Spybot - Search & Destroy
Even if you're using one of the best antivirus applications available, you may still end up with some form of malware on your computer. Spybot-S&D will ensure that it isn't there for long. Apart from removing spyware, adware, dialers, keyloggers, and trojans, Spyware-S&D can also cover your usage tracks—like browsing or file history—to give you enhanced privacy on your computer.
This week's honorable mentions pool is a big one, including start-up manager AutoRuns, system cleaner nCleaner, hard drive analyzer WinDirStat, and the FileHippo Update Checker. Whether or not your favourite made the big list, let's hear more about why you love it in the comments.
Adam Pash is a senior editor for Lifehacker whose computer maintenance is so intense that he considers it the PC equivalent of a Brazilian wax. His Hive Five feature appears every week on Lifehacker.