Just like every home has a First Aid Kit for medical emergencies, it pays to have something similar for your PC. All you need is a pen drive that’s loaded with essential, troubleshooting software. The tools listed in this piece are free, and run straight out of a USB stick, so you don’t even need to install them. And yes, it also means you can carry this ‘First Aid Kit’ along whenever you want to help friends with their computer problems…
ClamWin – The portable version of ClamWin antivirus can be used to scan your PC for viruses. This is extremely useful because malware can sometimes disable the antivirus software installed on your PC. With ClamWin on your flash drive, you will be able to identify and remove infections.
To keep your PC spic-andspan, you will also need to routinely scan it for spyware and adware. These are pesky programs that get installed along with free software, or if you might have clicked on an unknown web link in an e-mail. To take care of these malicious programs, also keep SpyBot – Search & Destroy on the flash drive. Just make sure you have the updated versions of ClamWin and SpyBot on your USB stick at all times.
CCleaner- If your PC seems sluggish while performing basic tasks like opening a document, or during web browsing sessions, it’s probably because of the temporary files created by the software you use. To purge your system of this junk, try CCleaner. Extract the contents of CCleaner’s ‘.zip’ file to a folder of the same name on your pen drive. Now, launch the software by double-clicking the ‘.exe’ file and start spring cleaning your machine.
Recuva -Recuva comes with a simple, wizard-driven interface that makes it easy to retrieve files that you might have permanently deleted from your PC. A ‘deep scan’ lists deleted files in a friendly searchable format, along with the option to preview them if they are images. That said, there is no guarantee that you will always be able to retrieve deleted data. Also, if the files you’re trying to recover are extremely critical, it is best to handover this job to professional companies that do this for a fee.
Revo Uninstaller- Uninstalled software sometimes leave residue in the form of files and Registry entries. These are not easy to find and end up hogging precious space. Revo Uninstaller saves you the trouble of manually clearing these files by thoroughly uninstalling a program. It can also be used to remove those stubborn toolbars that refuse to go away. An alternative to Revo Uninstaller is PC Decrapifier – a portable tool that does just as its name suggests.
AutoRuns for Windows- If your PC takes time to boot to the desktop, then it is probably because of the number of programs that are configured to launch during the Windows start-up process. With AutoRuns, you can cut down on these programs. It analyses your machine and shows you the services and programs that are scheduled to run during the boot process. Carefully deselect the ones that are not required at launch and you will improve start-up times. You can also use WinPatrolToGo to the same effect.
How to prep your USB flash drive –
To create your PC First Aid Kit you will need a pen drive with at least 2GB capacity. If possible, invest in one that supports USB 3.0 – this will guarantee faster read-write speeds on newer PCs that support the standard.
*Format your drive: Double-click My Computer and right-click the external drive icon that appears under Devices with Removable Storage.
*Click on Format and select FAT32 from the drop-down list as the file system of choice.
*Check the Quick Format box and click Start to initiate the process.
*Your USB flash drive is now ready to be filled with portable apps. It is recommended that you regularly replace the software on the flash drive with latest revisions. For example, an up-to-date antivirus will be more capable of detecting new threats.