PC Booster is not going to cure everything that ails your PC, but it can give you a good idea of its overall health.
If your computer’s running slow, you’re probably wondering what will give it the jolt it needs. PC Booster aims to help: This $35 application is designed to boost your PC’s performance by optimizing your system from top to bottom. It’s easy to use and sports an attractive interface, but PC Booster may be overwhelming for some users.
PC Booster scans your computer, looking for clutter and faulty settings that may be impacting its performance. It’s designed to look for errors and other issues causing system slowdowns, instability, slow startups, and potential privacy hazards. It does this by looking for hidden junk files that you no longer need and temporary files that are using up space. Once the errors are identified, PC Booster goes to work fixing them, with a goal of delivering you a more stable, faster-running system. (Note: PC Booster’s free version, which PCWorld tested, will fix only 15 errors.) Gauging just how well it works, though, can be difficult.
I tested PC Booster on a Windows 7 laptop that was running very slowly and suffering from frequent system crashes. The computer had been used to test dozens of software programs, many of which had since been uninstalled, and was frequently used by young children who didn’t always operate it with care. PC Booster scanned the system quickly, and I liked that the scan did not start automatically. Some products, such as PerfectRegistry, begin a scan as soon as you launch them, without any warning. System scans can impact performance as they’re running, so it’s nice to have control over them.
In just a few minutes, PC Booster found 557 errors on the PC, with a total of 23,441 items to clean. While that seemed overwhelming—and slightly alarmist—PC Booster made it easy to dig a little deeper into the actual issues themselves. The scan results are organized into four groups: System Registry and Integrity, Disk Performance Issues,
Privacy Traces, and System Tweaks. PC Booster nicely displays the number of issues in each category and uses a colorful graphic to illustrate the expected Damage/Speed Loss associated with each. You can click on error category to see more details, and then browse through the subcategories to get specific error details.
This is where using PC Booster may overwhelm some users, as the results will likely look like gibberish to many folks. PC Booster does include a set of videos on its Web site that explain how the program works, which will be helpful to PC novices. But these videos can’t answer all questions, and some users will rightfully be concerned, given that some PC tune up utilities, especially those that clean out your PC’s registry, as PC Booster does, are known for going too far, causing more trouble than they’re worth. The folks at PC Booster acknowledge that, in the past, some registry cleaners were overly aggressive, and caution that a program that only cleans a registry is not going to solve all of a PC’s problems. That’s why PC Booster aims to provide a more comprehensive system tune-up, and allows users to select which fixes they would like to apply, and which they would not. It also offers an option to set certain items that the program will ignore.
I tested the program by blindly agreeing to all of its suggested fixes, and was pleased to see that doing so did seem to boost my PC’s speedslightly, but enough to notice, and caused no obvious errors. I was also pleased to see that the program does create a Windows Restore point before beginning any repairs. The privacy fixes did delete some cookies that allowed certain Web sites to remember my computer and my logins, but this was a minor issue.
PC Booster offers additional tools for speeding up your PC. One of the most useful to me was the Startup manager, which lists the programs that start with your PC. I was surprised to see some of the titles listed there, and appreciated the ability to prevent them from automatically starting with a single click.
PC Booster offers some useful tools for fine-tuning your PC’s performance. But it’s not a cure-all for an ailing PC. Even after fixing all 23,411 items, my PC did not return to a like-new state. But it is running a bit faster and more smoothly, which I like. I also like knowing what’s going on under the hood, and PC Booster gave me that knowledge.
Note: The Download button on the Product Information page will download the software to your system.
Liane Cassavoy is a veteran technology and business journalist. She contributes regularly to PCWorld and has written about business issues and products for Entrepreneur Magazine and other publications. She is the author of two business start-up guides published by Entrepreneur Press.