Soluto Kills Two More PC Frustrations, On Track for Utility of the Year

Last Updated May 25, 2011 9:39 PM EDT


Have I mentioned lately how much I love Soluto? Oh, right, I listed it among the 5 Best Free Software Utilities for Business Owners. And for good reason: the program makes your PC boot faster.

Now it's even better. The newly updated Soluto promises to "lighten" your Web browser and help resolve application crashes. Here's how the developer explains the former:
It has become very common for non-techie PC users to get bombarded with crappy toolbars and other add-ons installed by applications and websites that build on users' inability to disable them. Even techie users get annoyed by that, either for themselves or for the people they support. Soluto now lets you see which toolbars and add-ons are installed, whether they are needed, and if they're not, helps you to quickly remove them.
The program can also restore your favorite search engine if it got hijacked by one the aforementioned add-ons. Just one thing, though: the new version recommend disabling Firefox add-on Xmarks, which for me would be a critical mistake. So don't blindly follow its suggestions, at least when it comes to browser stuff.

As for crashes, you've no doubt been on the receiving end of Windows' infamous "Send Error Report" option, which accomplishes exactly nothing. How does Soluto's solution differ? Read on:
Whenever a crash occurs, Soluto analyzes it and compares it to millions of other crashes. In many cases, we'll have a solution for the crash, and we'll explain exactly what you need to do for the crash to never happen again. The amount of solutions grows every day, as new solutions are being written by our team, discovered by automatic algorithms, and suggested by our community of users. (If you experience a crash that has no solution yet, we provide you with tools to research it and submit a suggested solution.)
In other words, Soluto works the way Windows should -- but doesn't. Awesome, right? Amazingly, the program is still free -- though the developer is building an interesting business model around Soluto's data gathering and analysis. If you want to learn more about it, check out Rafe Needleman's Soluto: Cashing in on Windows Crashes.

I've been a Soluto user for the past few months, and I can't recommend the utility highly enough. My only hope is that it doesn't try to pack in too many more features, lest it turn into the kind of bloatware that it's ultimately trying to protect you from.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.

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