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WinMate does Windows

Clean and tweak your PC with this full-featured freeware.

WinMate is a free system cleanup and optimization toolkit from T55. Unlike some so-called free tools, it doesn't find hundreds of flashing-red dangers lurking in your PC and then only clean a handful, requiring you to buy something; T55 promises that WinMate is "free forever," including updates. It does what it promises without hurting your system (provided you don't use it carelessly) and packs plenty of extras, too.

WinMate checked for and downloaded updates during its installation process, a good start. The program initiated a baseline scan of our system, displaying its findings in an attractive pro-style interface with a left-hand panel accessing its various tools and a tabbed main view giving access to each tool's various features. We could also initiate a new scan by clicking a prominent Scan Now button. A small right-hand panel, the Learning Center, offered FAQs and tips, which augmented a Web-based help feature that included user forums. The main tool, Scan and Clean, featured several cleanup functions: PC Diagnosis, Junk Clean, Trace Clean, Registry Clean, and Duplicate File Scan. The PC Diagnosis scan checked a lot of things on our system, most of which turned up Safe (to our relief). We could expand its findings to glean more detail and select or deselect items for individual or bulk cleaning. The IE Tools section included features to clean and optimize Internet Explorer, and we could also access Windows Update, Program Manager, and Backup functions as well as a wide range of other system tools from the main menu. The System Optimize section offered a wide range of operating system and memory tweaks as well as access to start-up menu items, Windows services, R-click Menu (context menu) options, and scheduled tasks. The OS tweaks ranged from disabling unneeded services and reporting features to making apps close faster to reduce shutdown time. The Memory Tweak section let us configure Auto Memory Release, including an option to defeat the tweak when CPU usage rises too high.

With any tool like WinMate, we recommend double-checking before performing major operations on your PC. However, we threw just about everything it had to offer at our system with no ill effects, even after rebooting, except for slightly longer loading times for a few big programs whose caches had been emptied. Used wisely, WinMate can help keep your system running fast, smooth, and clean.

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