Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tuning up the old jalopy


Like any new computer, my PC rocket fast out of the box. Windows 7 booted quickly and applications snapped to attention.

But that was then. Over the last couple of years, my computer has continued to slow, like a ship festooned with barnacles. That's why I was curious to try System Mechanic, a program from Iolo Systems that promised to give my PC a fast and easy tune-up. Some earlier versions of System Mechanic had taken a beating in user reviews but the new Version 11 was supposed to have fixed the past issues.

Less than an hour later, my computer had regained much of its initial energy. Start-up was noticeably faster and it no longer starts doing background processing tasks when I want it to give full attention to something else.

The program performs an initial analysis and presents a list of current and potential issues. In my case, System Mechanic found useless code in my system registry, programs that launched on start-up that I didn't need, and megabytes of memory clutter. The program's dashboard offers to do a one-click automatic repair, or you can examine each each task and decide if if you want to proceed. I chose the latter option and was able to keep some start-up programs that System Mechanic would have turned off (though not deleted).

During the process, my system displayed a blue screen during reboots, but each time the computer went on to load properly when I told it to continue. Now I have a widget on my desktop screen that clocks my system's health and security and lists the last functions that System Mechanic performed. And, I have a computer that has regained its youth.

You can download a free version of System Mechanic at the Iolo website or get the upgraded version for $49.99.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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