While Apple has made significant inroads into the PC market, most home and office computers still run on the Windows operating system. Windows-based computers may have gotten better in recent years, but they are still prone to sudden and unexplained restarts, breakdowns and other problems. If you own a Windows-based computer or use one at work, you can take a few simple steps to make it more stable and less frustrating.
One quick note for office users – you should not download or use any of these tools on your own. Instead, talk to your IT staff about them and see if they might be useful. The IT people at your office may already be aware of these tools, and they may be able to deploy them to help employees overcome problems and become more productive.
Let’s take a look at a few third-party applications that can make your Windows-based computer more stable, more useful and more fun.
Many IT professionals are already familiar with this third-party program. You can think of Process Explorer as a vastly superior version of Task Manager. Task Manager is a good start, but it does a poor job of labeling programs, and that makes it difficult to tell which programs are really slowing things down and making Windows unstable.
Process Explorer is much better at determining which programs are causing the instability. Once you have that information, it is easy to update, repair or uninstall those problem programs and get back to work.
Uninstalling the programs that are making Windows unstable can be a problem in itself. While the uninstall process has gotten better over the years, it is far from perfect. Even when the built-in Windows uninstall process seems to work flawlessly, the operating system often leaves registry keys, file folders and other detritus behind. Those tiny pieces of the uninstalled program can still cause instability and even slow the computer to a crawl.
Revo Uninstaller is designed to solve that problem by making the uninstall process easier. This third-party program goes much deeper than the traditional uninstall, removing registry keys, folders and other items related to the problem program.
While Windows gives you the ability to copy files, it works best when you are copying one or two files at a time. If your job requires you to copy hundreds of files from one place to another, Windows can be frustrating to say the least. The operating system often locks up during those large copies, making it difficult to determine which files have already been copied and which have not.
Teracopy is designed to make the file copying process easier. This third-party app seamlessly integrates with Windows Explorer, so there is no need to learn a new way of doing things. Once Teracopy is in place, you still use Windows Explorer, but now it will actually work.
F.lux may not make your Windows-based computer smarter or more stable, but it will make it more comfortable to use. F.lux automatically adjusts the tint on your monitor screen based on the time of day, something your eyes will thank you for.
When nighttime arrives, F.lux automatically changes your monitor from white to a reddish tint. That makes the computer easier to use and reduces the eye strain associated with long-term computer use.
If you are running short of hard drive space, you need to know which files are hogging up that space. The culprit could be anything from an unneeded video or audio file to an ISO file you forgot to burn to CD. Finding those large files can be very difficult using the search criteria Windows provides.
Windirstat makes it much easier to find files based on size. Once you install this third-party program, you will be able to find, and delete, the huge files that are taking up all your drive space and slowing down your Windows-based PC.