Over time, your PC can become bogged down with programs you no longer use, desktop shortcuts, downloaded data and even duplicates files. However, using some free software you can spruce up your machine and get it to run smoothly and quickly once again.

Check out our five favourite downloads to speed up your machine.

1. Cleanup Assistant 2.0 (64-bit)

Freeing up your PC's memory is a good a place to start as any, and with Cleanup Assistant you can ensure your hard drive is free of junk and duplicate files.

The software will track down files left behind by both Windows and common applications, as well as searching for files that are exact duplicates by comparing their names and file types, and in the case of audio files, their ID3 tags.

2. SlimComputer 1.0

Once you've deleted unnecessary files and folder on your machine, it's worth turning your attention to the software installed on the PC. SlimComputer is a useful tool that will quickly scan your PC for unwanted software: unnecessary applications, toolbars, startup items, shortcuts and more.

It highlights surplus programs that could be slowing down your PC and will help you remove them at the click of a button.

3. Soluto 1.0.766

With your software slimmed down to just the programs that you need, you can think about delaying the start-up of some of these apps to ensure your PC boots faster. Soluto is an ingenious PC speedup tool that will analyse the programs launched when your PC boots, and point out any that you can really do without.

Install the program, reboot your PC and Soluto will run in the background, monitoring what's going on. When the process is complete you'll get a report telling you how long the boot took, and separating your startup programs into three groups: 'No-brainer' (apps that can safely be removed), 'Potentially removable' (you might be able to ditch some, but Soluto isn't sure) and 'Required' (these must be left alone).

4. CleanMem v2.0.1 Free

If you're using an older system, you many only have a small amount of RAM. To compensate for this, Windows has to make use of a section of hard drive known as the page file to act as virtual memory. While this enables your computer to keep running when you run low on memory, it is far slower than using actual memory, and can cause severe system slowdown.

CleanMem helps to ensure that you always have as much memory free as possible by enhancing the way in which Windows manages memory usage. Although the program has not been designed to speed up your computer, it does help to eliminate memory bottlenecks, leaving you with a smoother-running system.

The utility can also help with programs that suffer from memory leaks, but the main advantages come from minimising the amount of time Windows has to spend to read files from a slow mechanical hard drive.

5. Geekbench 2.1.13

Finally, now your PC is clean and (hopefully) running smoothly, why not use Geekbench to see how fast it is?

The easy-to-use benchmark tools will quickly deliver a verdict on your CPU and memory performance and you can even use the online Geekbench Result Browser to see how well your system performs against others. This trial version of the program is limited to 32bit benchmarks. You'll need to purchase the program to unlock the 64bit benchmarks.

See also: How to clean up your PC for maximum performance