It’s finally spring and your computer can use some spring cleaning as well as other parts of your life. While being cooped up in the house all winter you may have clicked, installed, uninstalled and fooled around with some useful as well as useless software. Now is the time to undo the mess that has probably accumulated on your computer.

If there are more programs in your notification area than in your files and folders, it may be time to eliminate some totally useless, memory hogging start-up programs. Many of these magically appear next to your clock without any known action on your part, except perhaps to try out some new software, peripherals, and hardware.

The old standby of running ‘msconfig’ is one way of getting a handle on this but if you have noticed, msconfig does not give you a whole lot of information regarding the startup that is running. It can become something of a hit or miss proposition.

A program that I have come to depend on and use frequently is The Ultimate Troubleshooter, better known as TUT! For a quick and useful tool to keep unnecessary programs from starting up at boot I have not found anything more helpful and easier to use.

Upon opening the program, you will see a line of tabs with labels at the top of the window and descriptions of programs at the bottom. One of the tabs is labeled “Startup.” TUT color codes small circles in front of each process that is running. It uses yellow for “user’s choice,” blue for “multiple possibilities,” and green for “OK.” Red is used for “not OK.” As you click on each item on the top half of the window, the bottom half of the window will give you a description of the item and a recommendation as to whether you need to run that process at startup or not. TUT gives you the ability to make these changes from within the program in most cases.

There are many other housekeeping tasks that can be handled with TUT to keep your computer tuned up and running in a stable environment. The program also has a tab that, when clicked, will show you the hardware on/in your machine.

AnswersThatWork is the company that provides this software and it will have support for Vista beginning April 2, 2007 (today!). Download a trial copy here and if you like TUT, it is $30 for purchase with a $17.50 renewal fee per year. More programs are added and identified all the time and downloads to keep your TUT up to date are frequent. For me, the program is worth every penny.

I will try a copy of TUT for Vista tomorrow and will give an update on how it functions in that environment on my blog, Devine Reflections, in the coming days.

[tags]spring clean, PC, Vista, troubleshooting, answers that work, TUT, The Ultimate Troubleshooter[/tags]