SlimCleaner is by far one of the more useful multi-utility tools I've run across. Aimed primarily at cleaning the junk out of your system, it has the capabilities of several popular programs, including Piriform's CCleaner and Trend Micro's HijackThis. Version 4 adds several new features.

SlimCleaner neatly divides its functionality over seven main tabs/tools: Cleaner, which removes detritus from the registry, temporary files, and so on; Optimize, which lets you to edit startup items and services; Software, which lists and uninstalls programs; Browsers, which does the same for browser plugins; Hijack Log, which lists software that might be cantankerous; Disk tools, which lets you optimize or wipe disks; and Windows, where you'll find all the native Windows utilities in one place and in an arguably better arrangement.

Run any of the above tools and you'll most likely see a list of results: Programs that are installed, registry entries that are obsolescent, plug-ins that are present, etc. Every item in every pertinent list generated by SlimCleaner has a Community Rating, More info, and View Results button next to it. Community Rating lets you see how other SlimWare users have rated the program and lets you rate it yourself, and More info tells you everything that SlimCleaner and its online database knows about the item. View Results launches your browser to take you to a database catalog telling you the safety and/or purpose of each item. You can easily add information to the databases from within SlimCleaner, and the company awards you status according to how accurate and helpful your reporting is.

New features for version 4 include a duplicate file finder, intelligent hard disk optimization, a software updater to compliment the driver updater, and get this - SSD optimisation. The latter has generally been thought of as no use performance-wise, and wasteful of an SSD's limited write cycles. This was certainly the case previously. However, the TRIM command, which simply marks a sector as containing no information without actually erasing it - thereby saving a write - has helped tremendously to up the practical write-life of SSDs, though the same are still limits. Please note that the TRIM command is only supported natively in Windows 7, not XP and Vista.

The test results that Slimware Utilities sent me showed an improvement of approximately 5 percent in performance after running the SSD defrag. Whether this is worth the time or write cycles is a value judgment, but five percent is hard to spot in everyday use.

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OUR VERDICT

SlimCleaner worked extremely well in my tests. It found lots of outdated registry entries, accurately reported temporary files, and was aware of a vast number of programs. It has a great interface and it's free, making it definitely worth checking out.