The way Windows handles software is far from perfect. Every time you install a program, bits of it are scattered all over your system, and the end result is a slower PC.
You’ve probably encountered this; old computers tend to feel clogged up and sluggish. The parts inside haven’t degraded – they’re still as capable as the day you bought the PC – it’s your programs that are to blame. This even applies to programs you’ve already uninstalled, which leave traces of themselves behind like litter after a particularly fine picnic.
It’s not surprising, then, that the primary method of speeding up a system is to clean it thoroughly. Remove the artefacts of past programs and you remove the dilly-dallying of Windows looking for things it will never find.
But there’s more to a fast system than a tidy hard drive. There are many subtle tweaks that can be made to Windows itself that lead to a slicker experience.
In this test, we’re looking at a selection of programs that do both. We’re judging our subjects based on some real-world tests, such as system boot time and the time taken to load Internet Explorer 8, although these are subjective – your results may vary from ours depending on the content of your system.
Each time we test an application, we’re starting from the same point: a worn-in Windows 7 installation with apps such as RealPlayer, AVG Antivirus, OpenOffice and Apple iTunes installed – a selection of the most treacle-like applications you can install on your PC. We’re also looking at how easy these programs are to use.
It doesn’t matter how effective software is if it looks as though it’s written in Sanskrit, because you’re unlikely to understand exactly what you’re doing to your computer. A good system speed-up is one done without much prodding from you; you wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic and expect to be referred back to a Haynes manual, would you?
Avanquest Fix It Utilities 11 Pro
Fix It Utilities, obsessed with doing everything it possibly can, digs its claws in deep to your computer. It leaves a little program running in your taskbar at the bottom-right of the screen that doesn’t seem to go away even if you ask it to, and pushes the option to use its built-in antivirus facilities even if you’ve already got your own antivirus software installed. It’s not the best of starts, frankly.
The language used within the app is also a bit weaselly – it lists scans not yet run as problems with your system, for example – but we can’t fault it for simplicity. There’s a single button marked ‘One click fix all’ which seems to do just that, running through its battery of tests and fixes to make sure your computer is in tip-top condition with little input from you.
It’s not entirely concerned with system speed-ups, but that’s definitely a large amount of Fix-It Utilities’ remit. There’s an internet optimiser, a section dedicated to Windows speed-ups, and a scan that promises to shuffle your computer’s memory into a fast order.
Go deeper than the one-click option, though, and you might start getting a bit baffled; the presentation of deeper sections such as the Startup Commander are tough going to say the least, full of check boxes and changes that don’t immediately shout about what they might do to your computer.
Leave them to run on their own, though, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed – Fix-It Utilities did a good job at making our system feel quicker, and its active protection facility (which monitors your computer regularly for issues so it doesn’t get sluggish again) is an excellent touch.
You shouldn’t have to go in and run programs like this – they should look after you.
Ostensibly simple interface
Great hands-free tweaking
Can be surprisingly complex
Does a lot of things well, but it’s too simple in some places, too complex in others.
iolo System Mechanic 10
Where other apps might over-simplify things, System Mechanic makes a good stab at saying exactly what it’s doing with the clearest language possible. You won’t be mystified as to what any of its functions do, but be prepared to read for a while; everything is described in excruciating detail.
Compared to, say, Fix-it Utilities, System Mechanic seems a bit more honest; when it says “problems”, it means problems with your computer rather than problems with the way you’ve used the software.
You’re given complete control over the way you go about fixing issues, too. You can certainly whack the Repair All button and let the program do all the work for you, or you can methodically go through System Mechanic’s repair sections and fix your issues one by one.
System Mechanic also has what it calls a tool box, containing a bunch of mini programs sorted by category, so you don’t need to know that you want a registry compactor, for example – if you know you want to improve your computer’s performance, you just go to the appropriate section.
OK, System Mechanic isn’t for everyone. If you’re completely averse to any kind of technical language, you’ll probably turn away in horror, even though it does a competent job at explaining things clearly. But if you want a piece of software that’s going to speed up your PC and make sure it’s in tip-top shape, this is definitely it.
Iolo’s ActiveCare technology sensibly keeps an eye on things when you’re not using your computer, which means it doesn’t slow down when you’re in the middle of something, and with a year of updates included and a three-PC licence we’d even go as far as to say this was a bit of a bargain.
Best speed improvement here
Clear explanations throughout
Can be overly wordy
Easy to use, well laid out: this is an app with speed at its very core, and we love it.
I do hope these two software can help you to speed up your Windows PC. For more software like media data rescue software, just view more article on our site.