Windows cleaner

Banish bloat with this software slimmer.

PCs are a lot like people: they tend to bloat up and slow down over time. Software is a lot like junk food, full of harmful crap that slows your system down. With people, inactivity worsens the problem, but with computers, it's the opposite; heavy use, frequent updates, regular software trials, and constant install-uninstall cycles leave behind ever-growing masses of "digital fat cells" that, left unattended, can cause serious PC health problems.

Alas for you but huzzah for your PC. Slimming down to a lean, mean computing machine is as easy as downloading yet another piece of software. But Bravura's Bloat Buster is different. It claims to be the first utility to specifically target PC "bloat," the unneeded and unwanted files, folders, and objects that accumulate in the Start file, system settings, and other critical performance choke points.

We love simple interfaces, but Bloat Buster is obviously determined to live up to its name because its main dialog is as basic as it gets. Bloat Buster's main weapon is the Cleanup Wizard, which is one-click automatic--and it actually functions in the free version, instead of being just a sell-up tease. You must buy the software to use the Programs and System Settings features, though. However, one pass with the Wizard improved an ancient XP Pro installation's efficiency by more than 25 percent.

Bloat Buster's functionality is limited during its free 30-day trial; registering unlocks the full version. It installs a desktop icon without asking and leaves behind folders when it's uninstalled. It's also ready to go with Windows 7.

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