In addition to the Windows Starter Kit, and its companion Security Starter Kit, we at CNET have decided to spin off the utilities section into its own freeware collection. The Utilities Starter Kit recognizes that there are far too many excellent freeware utilities to improve basic Windows features and functions to not give them their own place to live.

In the Utilities Starter Kit we focus on seven key areas: defraggers, system cleaners, uninstallers, Task Manager replacements, launchers and docks, and Notepad replacements. There's also a section for Essential Extras, containing two must-have utilities that more or less defy category and, for the moment, competition. One is the Belarc Advisor, which gives you a detailed list of what hardware, drivers, and operating system patches you've got, and what's in dire need of an update or a fix. The other is WinDirStat, which provides a visual analysis of your disk space, with quick access to adjusting it. There are a few other visual disk space analyzers, but nothing comes even remotely close to what the Linux-derived WinDirStat offers.

What other programs made the cut? Click through to the Utilities Starter Kit and find out, and let us know what you think in the comments below.