Feeds

PC tune-up software: does it really work?

Part One: Windows XP

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.