"Swiss Army Knife" of Utilities: JV16 PowerTools Does It All

JV16 PowerTools 2010 ($30, 60-day free trial) is a complete suite of tune-up, cleaning, and management tools for Windows. Despite a wide array of useful features, it's somewhat hampered by a clumsy and uninformative interface.

jv16 PowerTools screenshot
There are a lot of tools in JV16 PowerTools.

JV16 PowerTools 2010 opens with a typical "splash page" showing the different categories of tools, such as File Tools, Privacy Tools, and so on. Registry Tools can track down invalid or useless registry entries. File Tools can recover deleted files, wipe files so they can't be recovered, and find duplicate files--even if they have different names. System Tools includes an uninstaller which can clean up traces of programs that Windows might have missed, and offers access to a range of options for tuning up system speed, such as turning off some background functions (like Performance Monitoring, which logs thousands of bits of information most users will never see).

All of these functions work as expected. Nothing I saw in JV16 PowerTools made me go "Wow! I've never seen that before!" but there's a very good breadth of options here, with many things (such as file erasure or file duplicate finding) for which I currently have separate utilities. The "all-in-one" nature of JV16 PowerTools is a strong selling point.

Less strong is the interface. While functional enough, another round of polish and user testing was really necessary. Many functions that ask you to select a directory (recovering deleted files, for example) do not offer the chance to create a new directory. Other functions, including such powerful and "no tap-back" ones like File Wipe, have the target directories or drives on one tab and the options--which let you specify if you're wiping entire drives or just free space-on another. You can't tell, looking at the list of targets, what options you've selected, and that's nerve-wracking. Beyond these specific examples, the interface is just sub par: it's slow to respond, grid redrawing and sorting is sluggish, and there are simply a lot of little annoyances that make using JV16 PowerTools 10 less than it should be.

Back on the positive side, JV16 PowerTools 10 has a very long trial period--at 60 days, twice the industry average, and has no limited features, annoying advertising, or continual nag screens during that time. In combination with the large suite of tools and the low price, considering all that you get, it's absolutely worth downloading the trial and checking it out.

Note: In the course of testing this software, I used the "uninstall" feature and was not being very careful. JV16 PowerTools 10 found a program installed at the root level of my "Downloads" directory, and asked me if I should delete the directory (since most of the time, the .exe for a program is in the top level of a hierarchy which you'll want to wipe). I wasn't paying much attention and said "Yes", wiping out 1000+ files. Fortunately, I was able to use the JV16 PowerTools 10 file recovery feature to get them back. I don't mention this as a bug or flaw in PowerTools, as I should have been watching closely, but as a general warning: Programs like JV16 PowerTools will do what you tell them to do, and even an experienced user can sometimes make the wrong choice.

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