The best:

• Backup
• Defraggers
• Registry Cleaners
• Partitioning
• Migration
• Antivirus
• Browser Add-Ons
• Browser Toolbars
• Download Managers
• Trace Removers
• Remote Access
• Utility Suites
• File Compression
• Password Managers
• Desktop Customization
• File Managers
• Screen Capture
• Keyboard Utilities
• Miscellaneous Tools
• Microsoft Office Tools
• Digital Photo Tools

We use our computers to play games, surf the Web, communicate, and manage our lives. And anything we ask them to do can usually be done better with a few new utilities.

For this year's Utility Guide, we've tested and reviewed 161 utilities in 21 categories, including several that will boost your computer's performance and keep it safe, as well as dozens of digital photo tools, customization utilities, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office add-ons, and more.

You won't find firewall, antispam, antispyware, or traditional antivirus tools in here—they're essential utilities, but we've covered them recently; see our current favorites in the Editors' Choices section. But with new viruses coming at us faster than AV companies can write signatures to stop them, we take a hard look at alternative detection methods that attempt to root out new threats based on their behavior, not just their signatures.

Some utilities are less fun than important—yes, you do have to back up your data regularly, and your Registry probably could use a good cleaning. The following pages present a mix of tools that taste good and are good for you.,1759,1585315,00.asp