A Disk Checker, a Finance Planner, and a Puzzle

Health, wealth, and happiness top everybody's wish list-and likewise we want health for our PCs, wealth and happiness from them. Here's software to help keep your hard drive healthy, improve your finances, and have fun.

SMARTen up Your PC's Hard Drive

Most people don't know their hard drive feels bad until it crashes. But LSoft Technologies' free Active@ Hard Disk Monitor might provide some warning. It uses SMART (for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology), which is built into most hard drives to keep tabs on such key attributes as disk errors and suspect patterns.

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Trim RAM Usage, Clutter, Kitchen Consternation

More isn't always better-especially when software, desktop clutter, or your list of kitchen duties is involved. This month's programs rein in RAM gluttons, declutter your desktop, and stimulate your culinary spirit. One offers a free trial period, and the other two are free forever.

Minimize Greedy RAM Gobblers

Do certain programs slow your PC to a crawl? Minimem helps you put memory hogs in their place. Unlike most memory-freeing utilities, this freebie lets you decide which programs to optimize and which to leave alone.

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Simplify Your Desktop With Docking, Tabs, and Macro Software

You want to live in harmony with your PC, but Windows is very rigid. So step out on the road to Utopia with any of these three approaches: a clever launching dock, a folder organizer, and a far-reaching macro program.

Pull Your Programs Into This Dock

Circle Dock arranges icons in an elegant spiral or in concentric circles.
If you're looking for a visual way to launch programs and open folders, try Circle Dock. This handsome freebie's intuitive shapes and its ability to appear in response to a single keystroke make these tasks blissfully convenient.

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Software for Webmasters, Wordsmiths, and Whodunnit Fans

Busy, analytical people need special tools to help them sort things out efficiently. And when they take a break from their detail-oriented work, they may enjoy a detail-oriented diversion. With these programs, you can get the scoop on who's visiting your Web site, pinpoint word meanings, and solve a slick puzzle.

Woo-Hoo for Web Analytics

Go metric with Woopra--and gather all kinds of data about the people who visit your Web site.
There's more to Web page data than hit counters. But some really useful tidbits--where your readers are, what OS and browser they're running, and so forth--are hard for the average site owner to find. Woopra serves up all kinds of data in a clean, easy-to-understand interface.

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