Windows only: System optimizer and browser add-on pruner HijackThis remains a powerful tool for streamlining your Windows computer, but only if you can understand exactly what it’s telling you is running. Free utility HijackReader does the leg work of checking with trusted web databases and providing Google search links to help you understand what’s running on your system and whether you can safely get rid of it. It works by taking a HijackThis log file (by browsing or cut-and-paste) and analyzing its contents, then producing an HTML file with descriptions and relevant links to more information. Even if you don’t quite grasp every process it reports on, seeing the “OK” next to something you’re suspicious of can be a big relief. HijackReader is a free download for Windows systems only.

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