Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
While going through most popular software stats on Download.com, I decided to pull out top 10 most downloaded FREE security AND Windows optimization programs. Not surprisingly, I ended up with 10 excellent FREE programs. Check them out below, most of them seem to be really good. (Note: Program popularity was measured by the total number of downloads during the last week)
TOP 5: Free Security Programs (Antivirus, Spyware Removal, etc.)
(1) AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition Memory-friendly free antivirus program that comes with lifetime free access to virus definition updates. Highlights include automatic update, real-time protection, free virus database updates, and some more. With nearly 1 mil. downloads (926,832) last week alone, this gotta be a good tool.
(2) Ad-Aware 2007 – Free utility to remove Spyware, Adware and whatever Crapware you may have. Scans your RAM, Windows Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components. One of my personal favorites. Note: After installation, it will ask you for a registration code. Just hit Cancel and you’re good to go. (Nr. of downloads last week: 864,874)
(3) Spybot – Search & Destroy – Yet another spy/ad/craplet removal tool. Also lets you clean-up program and web-usage tracks, and even fix spyware-caused Registry inconsistencies. I have been using it for more then a year now and love it. (Nr. of downloads last week: 184,292)
(4) Advanced WindowsCare Personal – Comprehensive PC health maintenance utility that offers one-click clean-up and repair wizard. Features include: Spyware removal, security warnings, privacy protection, Registry fix, temporary files clean-up, Windows repair and more. (Nr. of downloads last week: 101,321)
(5) Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic – By far less popular than above AVG, also some users report rather slow scan process. Nonethless, with 85,154 downloads last week still remains listed as the second most popular free antivirus software.
TOP 5: Free PC Maintenance / Optimization Programs (Disk Defragmenter, Registry Cleaner, etc.)
(1) Advanced WindowsCare Personal – see above (Nr. of downloads last week: 101,321)
(2) Auslogics Disk Defrag – Faster, more efficient and dead-simple alternative to Windows Disk Defragmenter. Looking at it’s feature set the only drawback I can think of is lack of auto-run scheduler. Other than that, seems like an excellent program. [Note: Disk Fragmentation leads to system slowdowns, PC crashes, slow startup/shutdown and sometimes to system failures] (Nr. of downloads last week: 44,967)
(3) CCleaner – Extensive and rather fast registry fixer + browser junk clean-up tool. Includes registry backup feature. Make sure to back up your registry before running CCleaner cleanup. (Downloads last week: 36,940)
(4) XP SafeGuard – XP SafeGuard lets you alter and disable several Windows settings to boost system performance. Disable questionable services, remove windows messenger, performance tweaks, disable windows automatic update, and lots more. (Downloads last week: 21,777)
(5) WinDirStat – Handy piece of software that offers an informative visual display of your hard-drive usage. Lets you quickly figure out what occupies most of your disk space (movies, documents, pics, those hidden videos :-) , etc.) Downloads last week: 11,566.