By Charles Costa for Smallbiztechnology.com
As a techie, for years I have always laughed at utilities claiming to prevent crashes, speed up your computer, and even make your computer run just like you did when you first bought it. Aside from personal skepticism, I also have seen computers ruined (including mine) from such utilities.
Not just freebies downloaded from the internet, but even brand name applications, totaling around $60-$100 from McAfee and Norton managed to destroy my computers. Due to those prior experiences for years, I’ve been very reluctant to install programs on my primary computer.
Moving forward ten years to today, I’m brought to the topic of iolo technologies’ System Mechanic. A computer optimization program which totes itself as “A safe and easy problem-solver that anyone can use.” When I first was invited to test and review the product, I initially was hesitant given my prior experience with similar utilities, however thanks to my rigorous backup regimen, and three years of wearing down my Dell XPS m1530 – running 4GB of ram, Windows 7 32bit, a 2.4ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, Nvida 256mb graphics card, and a Intel Wireless B/G/N Wireless Card – I decided to see if System Mechanic would make a difference on a system which although relatively clean, is somewhat sluggish due to the rigorous stress I put on all my computers.
Before installing iolo’s product, I did some research and discovered that System Mechanic is highly rated by users on sites such as Amazon. At around four stars, I was assured of the reliability, however some of the tools within System Mechanic are subject to controversy.
In particular, much of the debate related to the registry repair features of System Mechanic. Generally in modern computers registry tools are unnecessary and often do more harm than good – as a single incorrect change can ruin your entire computer. Now, this is an issue with all programs dealing with the registry, so it isn’t isolated to System Mechanic, however before running any registry tool, be sure to make a back up of your registry (which System Mechanic lets you do).
Going back to my testing, overall the installation of System Mechanic went very smoothly and after first opening the program, I was amazed at the simplicity of the suite. While I initially rushed to look at each individual tool and their features, System Mechanic also has general optimization categories, from drive repair, registry optimization, decluttering, and a few other areas, System Mechanic lets users run catered optimization tools with a single mouse click rather than having to sort through each individual tool.
After getting acquainted with the impressive capabilities of the program, I did a fairly routine test of running the diagnostic tools to see how worn down my system was. Turns out, my system scored fair, mainly because I needed: a hard drive and registry defrag, had a few minor registry errors, and my system had various clutter which needed to be clean.
After performing those routine repairs, I went to System Mechanic’s Startup Optimizer because of all the things that cause computers to lag, unnecessary programs loading when you turn on your computer can bring even the most powerful system to a halt. While stopping such programs can be done on your own by tweaking Windows settings, unless you’re an expert, that technique is not wise.
System Mechanic stood out because the optimization tool color codes each program green, yellow, or red to indicate their legitimacy. Tight integration with Google search also allows you to search Google with a mouse click to confirm the purpose of the program. This feature alone was a lifesaver for myself because I was able to significantly cut my startup time, at least by a minute, through cutting the clutter.
Aside from the Startup Optimizer, System Mechanic’s other repair tools also helped to provide some improvement, however as I did not perform formal speed tests, I cannot provide exact figures.
Overall, is System Mechanic worth the $49.95 MSRP? To be honest, it depends on your needs and level of expertise. While I know of free applications or alternatives to getting the same tasks completed as System Mechanic, the convenience of having a single application to handle all your optimization needs, and also having the backing of a technical support department certainly is a major advantage considering how keeping computers functional is a must for virtually every aspect of our lives.
Going further, from my tests, I can say that System Mechanic is a great tool for the average user who has a modern machine which is bogged down with clutter, or even just worn from routine use and who doesn’t have time to learn about utilities and good practices,
While everyone’s mileage will vary, and this software will not work miracles for older machines, the program still is worth trying as it certainly addresses many of the issues I’ve witnessed with prior system tune up tools.
About Charles Costa – Charles Costa is a rockin business owner with a wide array of skills from surviving in the wilderness, negotiating peace treaties in games like Call of Duty and Battlefield Vietnam, and solving calculus problems; however the majority of Charles’s’ clients only notice his extraordinary expertise with computer software, attention to detail in the code he writes, and his witty style of commentating on even the most boring technological subjects.
A modern Renaissance man, however Charles is content with being called virtually anything (positive) except a Geek Squad agent because despite his love for technology, Charles despises the task of repairing computers due to the trauma he suffers at seeing the demise of miraculous machines. In some cases however he simply does not want to touch a decades old machine which takes an hour to load Google.