One of the big problems with the later versions of Windows is you really have very little idea what programs and processes are running on your computer at any one time, which can cause performance problems or even mask a malware attack. Freefixer is a free program for Windows which helps you identify and terminate software and processes running on your computer. The utility keeps tabs of stuff which is legitimate and leaves it up to you to stop stuff which you think is suspicious or unwanted.
Caution is the word here of course, but the developers also run a forum to help people who need to identify something they’re not sure about. Could be pretty useful, and probably a little easier to use than something like Hijack This.
FreeFixer works by scanning a large number of locations where unwanted software has a known record of appearing or leaving traces. The scan locations include the programs that run on your computer, the programs that starts when you reboot your computer, your browser’s plug-ins, your home page setting, etc.