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Goodbye Geeks, Hello Crowd-Sourced Tech Help Getting good tech help doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. See how one company is enlisting the crowd to keep your PC running optimally.

By Jonathan Blum

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Goodbye Geeks, Hello Crowd-Sourced Tech HelAnybody who has ever been stuck waiting as their PC strains to boot up, load programs or even open simple Web pages should know the value of keeping a clean, organized hard drive and up-to-date software.

Unfortunately, few small-business owners have the luxury of an in-house IT department. And even the Geek Squad can get pricey. So as apps age, driver connections erode and storage space dwindles, small-business PCs tend to get weighed down -- robbing you of an optimal computing experience.

But rather than paying an IT specialist to whip your computer back into shape, you can now outsource to the cloud for free by way of PC optimization. The D'Iberville, Miss.,-based SlimWare Utilities offers a trio of free products that use the collective wisdom of an entire legion of tech geeks to get your computer back into prime condition.

Here are the details for small-business users:

What Is It:
SlimWare Utilities offers three free-to-download programs that update and optimize your computer's hardware and drivers to make them run more efficiently. The unique feature here is that these programs learn by crowd-sourcing their recommendations. Users rank programs and other fixes to tell SlimWare which tweaks work and which ones don't, what a computer needs to have installed and what it doesn't.

What's Available:
SlimComputer cleans up new PCs by getting rid of all the pre-installed software that can gum up an otherwise pristine new machine. The program uses crowd-sourced recommendations for which of these programs actually get used and which ones don't. Un-installed programs are stored in the cloud in case you actually need one of them someday.

SlimCleaner uses SlimWare's crowd-sourced recommendations to analyze and get rid of unneeded files on your computer as well as keep other programs updated. The program analyzes your system's performance and then streams that information back to the cloud where it can help other users.

SlimDrivers keep drivers for peripherals such as printers and Bluetooth up to date by scanning your PC for those that are missing, broken or out-of-date.

Bottom Line:
While nothing beats an in-house IT team, these tools can certainly help out many a cash-strapped owner aiming to stretch more life out of an old computer. The service takes a few minutes and works reasonably well, especially considering what an IT specialist would charge for an hour of their time.

Could your computer benefit from a little house-cleaning? Leave a comment and let us know.

Jonathan Blum is a freelance writer and the principal of Blumsday LLC, a Web-based content company specializing in technology news.

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