We all spend a lot of money on our PCs and over time, without us ever really being able to pinpoint when it happened, they slow down. Then one day, it hits. We don’t remember things ever taking that long to load before. And before you know it you are in the market for a new PC, maybe with the help of our Builds section.
It doesn’t have to always be that way though. By keeping on top of your file optimization you can often keep your system in as trim a shape as if it were preparing to run a marathon. Minus the spandex. And then incessantly telling you it is going to be running a marathon at every opportunity.
There are plenty of options out there, and this is the kind of area where if you are not careful you can just google for a solution and end up installing a pile of malware onto your system. So, let us help you through the murky swamp of PC optimization and go through our recommended programs for a better system experience.
We looked at the full range of options from free, to paid to subscription and weighed up the feature set ratio to cost. Some cost considerably more than others. Some you will have heard of others maybe not but that doesn’t mean you should go with the big players. We certainly don’t.
We looked at main factors such as boot time. We booted up our older, slower PC timed it with a utility and then ran the test again having run the optimization process to see what benefits we had found and measured other things such as removed registry entries, etc. Then we did a System Restore back to our original poor state, went for a coffee while it completed and came back and ran the test again with the next piece of software. Simple but effective.
Best PC Optimizer software
Full registry backup
Not always on sale so be careful when you purchase it.
Long a favorite piece of software for many a PC tweaker, System Mechanic has been now been around in 20 – yes 20 versions. There are often deals on meaning you can often pick it up for around $25 – if you were cynical you might say it is on a deal that often it’s true price is $25, but that’s not us. Oh no.
Iolo says that System Mechanic will find and fix over 30,000 different Windows problems using it’s bespoke Intelligent Live updates from Iolo Labs to help keep everything error-free.
It will remove junk files and optimize your boot up settings and if your PC is really struggling like ours was it will make a noticeable difference. Not as noticeable as a fresh Windows installation but this is a lot less fuss. It also backs up your registry in case of disaster.
For an extra $10 you can get it in a bundle of other Iolo software too which might be the option you will go for.
Iolo System Mechanic is a hassle-free way of performing above basic maintenance on your Windows installation.
Plenty of options like the file shredder
The free version won’t actually let you fix anything
AVG is another trustworthy company that has been on the scene for a very long time. Better known for its great anti-virus software, its optimization package AVG TuneUp is growing in popularity.
One of the novel features of TuneUp is Sleep Mode, where the software running in the background monitors what you are using and what is just loitering around hogging all your memory and processing power, and puts them to sleep – like a technological hypnotist if you will. Waking them up only when they hear something like an Elvis song, or you actually need them to carry on with your work.
It does come in a free version as well as paid, but this is just annoying as it tells you about problems but doesn’t let you actually fix them. In that respect, it’s just a sales tool and I don’t really like it doing that.
It does add a “smart shredder” to the package which will overwrite time and time again your sensitive documents which will be of use for some more than others.
The performance boost here wasn’t as good as our other choices but it is a tried and trust name that is always updating and improving.
Slimware Utilities SlimCleaner
Novel community-based approach
Very restricted free version
SlimCleaner is a bit of a novelty in a crowded market all looking for unique selling points. SlimWare has gone for a community-based system that not only lets you carry out the recommendations suggested by the software package but also allows you to include community-based recommendations.
This means that the software can react to issues, in theory, faster than it would do if you were having to wait for an update. There is a free version that allows you to perform a scan a very limited fixes butt overall a license is cheap although you can only have it on the one machine which seems a little mean.
We like SlimCleaner though. It’s fast, made a difference to our PC and the community aspect is an interesting twist, Worth checking out
Things To Consider
How much benefit you might get out of software like this
PC’s age, hardware becomes obsolete and no $25 piece of software is going to fix that. Sometimes you just have to let them go. Why are you still running that Windows XP setup anyway – you may have a legitimate need for a certain piece of software – I have an EPROM programmer that will only run on XP – in which case it might worth a go to eek some more life out of it. But software is not a magic dust for aging hardware. It can only ever fix software problems
Do I need something like this?
Well no, but it might help. Not everybody wants to reinstall Windows to restore a PC back to a pristine state and while optimizer software might not get you that freshly-installed smell, it might get you closer, and with less risk of your damaging it yourself that if you didn’t try it.
I’ve seen programs online offering to optimize my PC for free. Should I trust them?
Absolutely not if you have never heard of the brand and the website doesn’t look quite right. There are a lot of bad guys out there just waiting to cause you and your PC problems. Stick with the programs mentioned here.
All three programs here will, or at least should, improve things such as your boot time and clean your registry. They may not give you that new PC feel but for a short time at least you should see a marked improvement. We almost chose SlimCleaner here for its low pricing and novel approach to community help, but in the end, the constant work on Iolo System Mechanic and its already trusted status over many years means it is the winner here today.