tune upWe installed the 2014 version of Tune-Up Utilities, $50 from tune-up.com. A new feature called the “deactivator” was a huge help. It stopped programs from running in the background and slowing down our test computer.

Disabling a program using Tune-Up doesn’t permanently disable it. It springs to life as soon as you launch it. The problem is, when too many programs run in the background when you don’t need them to, your computer slows to a crawl. You can check on its performance by using the right mouse button to click the taskbar, that strip along the bottom edge of a Windows screen. Our test computer frequently showed a CPU puffing away at 99 percent of its capacity. After running Tune Up, it’s typically at 11 to 22 percent.

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