Ashampoo WinOptimizer 8
At a Glance
Note: This review addresses v8.02 of the software.
Ashampoo WinOptimizer 8 is one of those everything-but-the-kitchen sink programs for tuning up your PC that says it can do everything from cleaning your Registry, clearing your PC of Internet traces in order to protect your privacy, offering general tuneup tweaks, shortening bootup. Oh, and there's a process manager, a file associator, and icons saver, and a context menu manager. And more. Much, much, much more.
It's unlikely you'll want to use every one of WinOptimizer's modules, simply because there are so many of them, that if you tried using them all, you'd have no time left in your day to do actual work. So your best bet is to pick only those modules that you think will help the most.
The One-Click Optimizer is a particularly useful tool, because it cleans your drive, optimizes your Registry, and cleans your PC of Internet traces in a single step. Before you run it, you'll be asked whether Ashampoo WinOptimizer 8 should scan for problems and fix them automatically, or else scan for problems and then ask you if it should fix them. I would suggest selecting the latter option, just for safety's sake, so you can see what it will do before it makes changes.
Those who like Registry Cleaners will find WinOptimizer's Registry cleaning tool simple to use; it scans your system, then fixes any problems. As always, it's a good idea to create a Restore Point before using a tool like this, so you can quickly undo any changes that don't sit well with your system.
Most of WinOptimizer 8's modules are similarly simple to use and useful, although that's not universally the case. The Startup Tuner, for example, merely shows you what runs on startup, but offers no advice on which programs you should allow to start, and which you shouldn't. The free Soluto tool is a much better solution for those who want to tweak startup.
If you're only interested in the basics, such as fine-tuning startup, cleaning your system of Internet traces and junk files, and Registry cleaning, it won't be worth paying for this Ashampoo WinOptimizer 8. You can do all that for free with a combination of Soluto and CCleaner.
But if you want lots of extras, such as one-click tuneup, a file encrypter, file shredder, hard disk doctor, and tools for customizing Windows, you may want to give WinOptimizer a try. I'd suggest giving all the modules a runthrough before paying, so you can make sure you really need those extra tools.
The new version is faster than Ashampoo WinOptimizer version 7, and Ashampoo says that the cleaning modules Registry optimizer, Internet cleaner and drive cleaner, can also do more cleaning. So if you use version 7, and care about speed and extra cleaning, you may want to upgrade to version 8.
Note that when you install the WinOptimizer 8, it will install the MyAshampoo Toolbar, set the MyAshampoo web search as your default search engine, and set MyAshampoo as your home page. If you don't want that, select Custom Installation during search, and uncheck the box next to those options.
Also, after you install WinOptimizer 8 you can extend your 30-day registration period to 30 days rather than 10 if you send your email address to Ashampoo when prompted.