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System Mechanic results mixed: Boosts Internet speed

We're always looking for ways to increase our computer's performance, and here's a look at one product that might help.

We're always looking for ways to increase our computer's performance, and here's a look at one product that might help.

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I recently wrote a blog piece titled "Items to Address with a PC Tune-Up." As a result of that piece, I received an e-mail from a software vendor asking me to review and evaluate their own PC tune-up product, System Mechanic from iolo technologies.

I decided to run this program on a home computer, one that gets plenty of use by a couple of people -- and one that could probably use a bit of optimization.

According to iolo technologies, System Mechanic will speed up your PC by:

  • Cleaning, running a defrag, and repairing the registry
  • Accelerating PC startup 19 ways
  • Running defrags and recovering orphaned RAM
  • Boosting Internet speed
  • Completing low-level drive defrag
  • Turning off unused background programs

After an easy installation, I ran the program to perform a system analysis. I was given two options:

  • Perform a quick analysis: Checks the system for the most common problem (1-2 minutes).
  • Perform a deep analysis: Checks the system for all types of problems (5-7 minutes).

I selected the deep analysis. It took 45 minutes to run, not the stated 5-7. I ran the same analysis a second time, 12 hours later, thinking the first analysis might take longer, but it still took 45 minutes. However, it does warn that scanning the hard drives for errors could take several additional minutes, and perhaps up to an hour in extreme cases. Both times, the hard drive scans started 30 minutes into analysis. (This particular system has two hard drives: a 160GB C-Drive and a 500 GB D-Drive, with combined data totaling about 500 GB.)

When it's all said and done, however, the 45-minute analysis time isn't really a factor for me. I've run some disk defragmentation programs that took that long. Nonetheless, it reported my system status as poor.

And viewing the problems, it reported the following:

  • The system drive is 19% fragmented.
  • The computer has 14 repairable security vulnerabilities.
  • The computer has 317 registry problems.
  • The computer has 2.76 GB of system clutter.
  • The computer has 2 unnecessary start-up items.
  • The Internet configuration is not optimized for maximum speed.
  • The memory level is low (40% available).
  • The registry has never been backed up.
  • The registry is 10% fragmented.

I made the selection to repair all, which took an additional 10 minutes and a reboot. Another look showed that the system status was now reported to be good. The install, by the way, gave me an option to make the system status indicator a gadget item in Vista's sidebar, which I selected to turn on.

I timed my reboots both before and after the repairs, and it remained a painfully slow 1:55, so it didn't improve my reboot time at all. The system ran perfectly fine after the analysis and subsequent repairs, and I might have even noticed a slight increase in performance opening programs, documents, and such; it was hard to tell, and I had no way to test it against any kind of benchmark. The idle CPU usage remained the same, at around 4-6 percent.

The one thing that was quite noticeable, however, was an increase in Internet speed. And it was significant -- really obvious. Web pages opened much faster. I'm not sure what tweaks it performed in that regard, but iolo technologies calls it their NetBooster Technology. Well, it sure boosted my Internet.

Bottom line:

This would never replace the thorough tune-up I outlined in my original blog piece, but it might not be a bad addition to it. Like I said, the increase in Internet speed was pretty impressive, and that alone might make it worth the current price of $39.95.

21 comments
Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I've used System Mechanic for years, on and off anyway. I think right now I use Vista Manager instead but not for any particular reason, in fact I don't run Vista Manager too often, I just used it to manually tweak a few settings. As for Iolo's System Mechanic, I've always found that it gets better over time. Usually by the second or third optimization, it runs pretty slick. In your case, I suspect that your system is probably in pretty good shape as is, which is why you didn't notice much with the regular system speed . As far as the Internet, deleting temp files and manually tweaking MTU settings usually tweaks better than the basic system management does, but I've found that less and less relevant with the newer releases of Windows. Sinc eusing Vista, I've pretty much stopped lookign for optimizers as mine really does run just fine. If it gets buggy once a month or so, I'll reboot (which I don't normally do daily) and clean out temp files etc manually and run a registry cleaner but again I find Vista's process and HD management just fine for the most part, I find Vista's one of the better OS's to date, excluding Win7 as it's still a bit too new to tell yet. I certainly like it better than XP, by far and I think I've finally gotten over losing Win2KPro.

gmarti
gmarti

Sometimes it does some good; other times I do not see a difference.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Everysince Norton System Works 2004 trashed my old Dell, I've been extra careful about these kind of utilities. I've had to recover many clients who tried just about all of them, including the malware variants. One of them ended up involving Redmond level 3 support, and had them scratching their heads for a week! No - I think I'll stick with CCleaner for now. When Revo Uninstaller comes out with a x64 version, then I will use it too. Macecraft has the only other product worth a lifetime license.

gclifton_BANNED1234567891
gclifton_BANNED1234567891

I've used System Mechanic Pro since version 5. Always thought it was a good program and eliminated a lot of registry errors, etc. Never had any real problems with it. The Deep Analysis does take a little longer time, but it finds more issues than just the standard scan. I use the gadget and it does a pretty good job at keeping you informed of system staus.

giles.r.demourot
giles.r.demourot

My experience is similar. For registry cleaning and repair, in my knowledge nothing beats WinDoctor in Norton System Works 2009 (unfortunately this came very late in Vista's lifecycle), since it allows you manually to customize repairs by not only cleaning useless keys but also correcting errors in a sensible way.

HAMcomm
HAMcomm

I have been using System Mechanic for over two years both at home and at work. I am not sure if there is any clear increase in performance; however there seems to be less operating system failures and glitches. I run a complete scan every week or two and I (nock wood) have not had to re-image any of the computers except for one which got a virus which corrupted the boot record and was not repairable. I believe System Mechanic has saved many of the highly fragmented and cluttered registries that it has repaired. Thank You. -Mark-

Thack
Thack

I don't wish to seem churlish, but some kind of modest benchmarking might have been useful before and after using System Mechanic. :-) Right now it's unclear whether it's done ANYTHING useful apart from boosting the internet speed.

pamarths
pamarths

I am surprised how it can boost internet performance?

santeewelding
santeewelding

Forty bucks is a drop in the bucket. I might try it on the basis of your run-through. Getting pretty near, though, to changeover from XP to 7. So, I'll keep it in mind. Thank you, Joe.

d graham
d graham

Originally purchased to eliminate error messages that continually popped up when booting. Tried a couple of "free" registry cleaners to discover that they are only "free" until it comes to the "repair" part. "Grrrr..." I knew before running them that there was a registry problem. Satisfied with the performance, though there may be better products to do the same functions.

groundhog32
groundhog32

to optimize your browser; here is just one example that I googled in 3 seconds flat: http://www.pctipsbox.com/trick-to-increase-browsing-speed-for-ie-and-firefox/ It's an oldish article from 2007, but it gives you an idea of what can be done, manually, without purchasing 3rd-party software. I daresay using software is more convenient, if you're happy to pay for it. I believe also that certain "tweaks" are frowned upon by webmasters of particular websites and even ISPs - this is based on an article I read in a magazine a couple of years ago, sorry I have no reference to back this up.

Walthy
Walthy

I like their new purchase arrangement as an annual renewal for $19.95 a year. I was hoping for more updates. SM has been around a long time and I wish its database of file descriptions would grow. For a product that's been around this long I would think they would know about every Microsoft file out there and most others. I really dislike the health status because it doesn't seem to work on my machine. They used to have a mobile version of SMPro that a technician could carry with them to work on client computers. I would like to see that in a U3 format that can be updated regularly and carried to each machine as needed. It really is hard to beat their price for Utilities because an anti-virus and firewall are included. For quick and dirty use I like CCleaner and Defraggler. I would like you to test out Phoenix's software Registry Wizard. I can't believe how many more problems it ferretted(sp?) out than CCleaner or SMPro9. Is it a legitimate product? Does it really work? Why is it so expensive per computer?

Snak
Snak

I have used System Mechanic since version 3 and always been happy with it. The latest version however installs from the internet and cannot cope with a proxy - which we use. Sadly, this denies Iolo a potential 10,000 customers in my location alone..... Currently looking for something else...

JCitizen
JCitizen

than the three I mentioned. I must admit though, that knowing how to filter the user reviews at CNET-download.com can garner a surprise or two, occasionally. I have no brand loyalty, and will switch in a heart beat once something superior is found and tested.

JCitizen
JCitizen

of any utility that is not listed on CNET download.com, FileHippo, Major Geeks, etc. Believe me you can get into big trouble with untested registry utilites like that. CNET does not list a Registry Wizard made by any Phoenix software. They have one by another company but not that one.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I tried to get into the Marines in 1970, but I was too young. Later when they didn't need me, they didn't like my glasses. So I'll just have to be happy with 13 years of service with the good ol' Army/and National Guard. I'll take any service any day rather than not serve!

Walthy
Walthy

I do really appreciate your concern about squirrelly software. The reason it may not be on CNet is that doesn't have a trial version. System Mechanic has a lot of tools and other goodies with it. The anti-virus included is a great value, but I'm not sure I trust it, although if I didn't have others available for free that I do trust, I would use it. I may try it anyway on one of my systems, just to see how well it works. Happy Veteran's Day to you! I'll celebrating the Marine Corps Birthday today, "Semper Fi."

JCitizen
JCitizen

I didn't see any recognizable logo of Phoenix on their site, apologizes! It is weird that it isn't on CNET though!?!

Walthy
Walthy

I trusted it to download because it was from Phoenix. Phoenix, Award, or AMI Bios is the Bios used in all of my computers, all now owned by Phoenix. If I can't trust my Bios Manufacturer, who can I trust? Registry Wizard is too expensive for my blood, but I was able to try a copy for $9.95, so I tried it. The other software I purchased has been returned for a refund along with Registry Wizard. Thanks for the warning though!

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