Feeds

PC tune-up software: does it really work?

Part One: Windows XP

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Conclusion

The short answer for which option is best, tune-up software or a Ram upgrade, is: the Ram. But that’s an over-simplification because other computers will behave differently. If you've already upgraded, that conclusion won't help you. But many XP PCs and laptops were sold with 512MB or even 256MB of memory, so these really can benefit from a Ram upgrade. We weren’t expecting the Ram upgrade to improve Windows start-up times, but it did.

PC speed-up software

Desktop Maestro 3.0’s overall package feels dated, but a new version is due in October
Click for full-size screenshot

Our testing produced very little evidence that registry fixers and third-party defragmenters do any good at all, although other users with serious computer problems may experience otherwise. There is definitely the risk of choosing the wrong option - which was our experience with Fix-it Utilities 9 and Desktop Maestro 3.0 - and then getting significantly worse performance.

All the utilities were, however, able to shave a few seconds off our start-times, but not by using their one-click tools. Instead, you have to explicitly disable services and applications to get the increase in performance. It’s worth remembering that you can also run msconfig, from XP's Run box, to disable start up programs, although you get a barebones interface with no guidance.

If we had to pick a winner from the list of apps, we'd go for Iolo's System Mechanic 9. It produced the best results - where the apps actually made a difference - and has a decent UI. It also has a good range of features.

CCleaner deserves a special mention becuase, though it doesn't offer as many features and has its flaws, it is free, so it's the obvious one to try first.

We’ve also tested these software packages on a higher spec Vista PC, where we got some quite different results, but we’ll tell you about in an upcoming article... ®

Verdict: Windows XP Apps

Iolo System Mechanic 9
Rating 70%
Price £30
More Info Iolo

CCleaner
Rating 65%
Price Free
More Info CCleaner

Tune-up Utilities 2009
Rating 60%
Price £30
More Info Tune-up

PC Tools Desktop Maestro 3
Rating 50%
Price £40
More Info PC Tools

Avanquest Fix-it Utilities 9
Rating 45%
Price £30
More Info Avanquest

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.