57 free tools to boost your PC

Downloads and tweaks that help you get more done

Boost security

Avast Home Edition

The big names in security software charge a lot for complete suites full of big, bloated software. This excellent antivirus tool does everything the major players do, but for free. It scans your system for malware and eliminates what it finds, and it gives you seven different ‘shields' to keep you safe from dangers lurking on websites, peer-to-peer attacks, instant-messaging threats and so on. And it does all this without hogging RAM or system resources.

Download Avast Home Edition

Trusteer Attack Trace

Worried that malware is targeting your website? This service checks whether your site is under assault. Enter your website address into the search field and Trusteer will let you know whether you're under siege.

Comodo EasyVPN Home

This download allows you to create secure peer-to-peer networks over the web for sharing information, chatting and so on. Everything sent over the network is encrypted using a 128bit key, and it uses a cabled connection so wireless packet-sniffing can't take place.

Possible uses include remotely and securely connecting several office locations, accessing your home photo library from your office PC and setting up multiplayer gaming.

Download Comodo EasyVPN Home

EULAlyzer

Hidden in some software end-user licence agreements (EULAs) are indicators that the application may be spyware, or that it might invade your privacy in other ways - it's what made the MBS billing ploy legal. This downloadable analyser examines EULAs and warns you about potential dangers.

Download EULAlyzer

Online Armor Personal Firewall

This is the best personal firewall you've never heard of. It provides solid protection, but does so unobtrusively. Lots of firewalls pester you constantly when you first install them, asking about any program that wants to access the internet. This software starts out by allowing known safe applications to access the web and bothers you only about the programs that it's unsure about. It also has a clever ‘Safer mode' that allows certain apps to run with stripped-down privileges.

Download Online Armor Personal Firewall

a-Squared HiJackFree

Spyware can evade even the most rigorous system cleaners, so you need to have more than one antispyware utility on your PC. HiJackFree is an ideal tool to use alongside your main antispyware application. It checks for spyware and then eradicates it. It also provides lots of detail about what's happening on your PC, should you be interested. This includes tools for viewing what programs are using your TCP ports, and for examining programs that run when your PC starts up.

Download a-Squared HiJackFree

PC Tools Threatfire

Most security suites work best on their own, but Threatfire is designed to complement your existing antivirus setup. It's on the constant lookout for suspicious behaviour and is able to automatically block malware without first needing for a virus to be announced or a patch issued.

Download PC Tools Threatfire

SpywareBlaster

This download helps you ensure that your system won't get infected with spyware in the first place. SpywareBlaster works differently from most of its rivals, restricting the actions that potentially dangerous websites can perform. It also guards against dangerous ActiveX controls and repels tracking cookies.

Download SpywareBlaster

SuperAntiSpyware

This is an excellent antispyware tool that does a thorough job of scanning your system for dangers and then removes any it finds. This download scans not just your files and memory, but also your Registry. Note that it doesn't offer real-time protection.

Download SuperAntiSpyware

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