capsule review

Iolo System Mechanic Pro 7.5 Tune-Up Software

At a Glance
  • iolo technologies System Mechanic Pro 7.5

    PCWorld Rating

    An easy to use and effective tune-up program with security features.

Iolo's System Mechanic, now in version 7.5, has been garnering positive reviews for ages--for good reason. Its two flavors, regular and Professional, offer Windows repair, tune-ups, and preventive security features that work well and keep a relatively low profile, providing the software equivalent of the "geeky friend" many users lack.

In its $50 regular incarnation, System Mechanic 7.5 will back up, repair, and compact the Windows Registry; detect and remove many types of spyware; optimize your startup files and system memory; and tweak your Internet connection settings for best performance. In my tests the Registry and startup optimizations worked well, but my Internet connection seemed no faster. (I did not test the spyware removal.) Using the program's ActiveCare feature, you may schedule most of these functions, so you don't have to remember to invoke them yourself.

The Pro edition, which costs $20 more, adds secure data wiping, data recovery, a firewall, and antivirus protection, though I didn't test the latter two. I found version 7.5 intuitive and a bit easier to use than previous installments. Users who wish to know exactly what is being done and why won't be disappointed; the program also offers complete and extremely granular explanations of each action to come. In fact, perusing System Mechanic's help file is an educational experience that might be worth the price of admission in and of itself.

Over the years, I've used System Mechanic mostly for recovering data and wiping hard drives, but the tune-up features have also worked well for me. That brings me to my only caveat about the non-pro version: Much of what the tune-up portion of the program does is automate tasks that an advanced Windows user (or your geeky friend) will already know how to perform manually using built-in Windows utilities.

If you're not comfortable delving into those Windows utilities--and you don't have said geeky friend to do it for you--the regular version of System Mechanic can easily pay for itself, helping you avoid forking over big bucks for a professional to clean up an aging, sluggish Windows installation. More-advanced users should spring for the Pro version to get their money's worth.

--Jon L. Jacobi

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    An easy to use and effective tune-up program with security features.

    Pros

    • Doesn't hog system resources
    • Intuitive and easy to use

    Cons

    • Many of its features are built into Windows
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