Manage Your Browser
The new beta version of Soluto also analyzes your browser to help you tweak it to your specifications. The interface here is similar to what you see when you analyze your boot time. Soluto shows you by name every plug-in, add-on and toolbar in your browser and how many people have disabled each component. Your browser components are broken down into three categories: Safely Remove, Possibly Remove and Disabled. Items found under "Safely Remove" are components you can remove without worrying about your browser crashing or becoming disabled. Items under this category are typically toolbars and add-ons so make sure you don't disable something you use every day.
Components under "Possibly Remove" are items that Soluto is less sure you should remove, but things that many others have disabled. Let's say you're deciding whether to disable the Google Gears plug-in for Internet Explorer. Clicking on the component will show you what the plug-in does, what will happen when you disable it and what percentage of users have chosen to disable it. Then you can decide what you'd like to do. If you ever want to restore a browser component, you can do so by clicking on it under the Disabled category.
In my tests, Soluto did not have explanations for all of my browser's components; it didn't know, for example, what the LastPass toolbar did. But it does have descriptions for most of the major components, and even if you don't see a description, you can still see how many others have disabled each component. I also found that clicking through the browser extensions and plug-ins could be a little tricky. Several times I inadvertently disabled a plug-in that I didn't mean to, but restoring a plug-in is as easy as disabling it so this is only a minor quibble.
The browser feature also lets you manage your browser's default search engine and choose between alternatives such as Bing, Google or Yahoo. It's a handy feature to have in case a toolbar or program tricks you into switching your default search engine. This is exactly what happened to me several years ago after installing a free security program for my Vista machine. The program was particularly obnoxious and wouldn't let me easily change my search engine back. Soluto's new browser feature will come in very hand if I encounter problems like that again. Despite managing your browser's default search options, Soluto does not have an option to change your system's default browser.
Overall, Soluto was very usable, and as long as you don't mind sharing your PC's usage data, Soluto is worth trying out. The new app is also easy to uninstall through the Windows Control Panel should you want to get rid of it -- a problem several PCWorld readers had complained about. But keep in mind that once you delete Soluto any changes you made to your system such as disabling browser add-ons will be lost.
The company says it isn't finished with just improving your boot times, and helping you with app crashes and browser management. Soluto also plans on publicly sharing the data collected in its PC Genome project in the future via a Web app. That could turn out to be a handy guide if you ever want to know, for example, which laptops crash the most often with Photoshop before you head out to purchase your next PC.
You can find the new beta version of Soluto in our Downloads library.