The best free system utility software for your Windows PC

Want to keep your computer in tip-top shape? Then you could probably use a few good system utilities on your side when it comes to fighting the good fight and keeping your PC clean and streamlined. These are all Windows offerings, although there is one program in here which is also compatible with the Mac.

So here's our selection of excellent Windows system utilities which you won't pay a penny for.

Boasting a clean and simple-to-follow interface, Advanced SystemCare 7 will do a quick malware scan, optimise the registry, get rid of junk and temp files, and then perform "Deep Care," which is like regular care but, well, deeper. This is a sterling freebie.

Nothing needs cleaning quite like a PC filled with the digital crud of everyday use. CCleaner has earned a reputation for zapping that crap (that's what the extra C is for) and giving your system a shot in the arm in the process. It'll zap temp files, log files, cookies, browser histories, old registry entries, and even wipe free space clean, so files can't be recovered.

Don't trust the Recycle Bin to truly get rid of your files (it doesn't). If they must be destroyed with no hope of recovery, use Eraser to make sure the spot where the file once lived is overwritten entirely.

Scan and clean the registry and your hard drive, manage what automatically starts with Windows, erase files completely, kill your browser history, and much more with GlarySoft's set of tools.

Pull out Recuva to recover files you've accidentally trashed, and even those lost during a system crash.

SlimCleaner is all about keeping your system slim and trim for good performance. This freebie uses "community-sourced" info to determine what's best for your system; it's like asking your social circle how to optimise your system. And it works really well.

Microsoft's own Sysinternals site has lots of great utilities that we love and that every power user should have on hand. All of the best of them – such as Autoruns, Desktops, Process Monitor, and Process Explorer – are part of the free Sysinternals Suite.

For those times when Windows seems just on the edge of being truly borked, give SIW a try to diagnose what is wrong. It'll check software, the registry, your memory, BIOS, hard drives, ports and the network, just for starters.