IObit Advanced SystemCare 5
- — 14 February, 2012 22:00
|Name||PC performance-tuning software: IObit Advanced SystemCare 5|
|At a glance:||System scanning and repair improved boot time,Turbo boost didn't work exactly as desired,Free program offers a nice interface for Windows tools|
|Summary:||A handy collection of free tools.|
|RRP:||Free (Pro version US$20)|
IObit Advanced SystemCare 5 is a free system optimisation tool, with a Pro version offering more tools for US$20.
The install wizard is straightforward and took a little over a minute to complete on my four year old quad-core system. Once installed, it needed an additional 520KB patch downloaded.
My system hasn't has a reinstall of Windows at any point, although it has been upgraded from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate. Along the way, as I've tested software, it's had numerous installs, uninstalls and ignominious deletions to deal with. Startup takes a good three minutes, and my system loads programs like a snail crosses motorways. It's fair to call my system challenging for any system care tool.
And indeed, IObit Advanced SystemCare rated my system health "Poor", with a little red sadface.
After the simplest scan, which took barely a minute, IObit reported 3000 problems. Fortunately, no malware, but it really looks as though I haven't been taking care of my poor PC. The more ominous (or thorough, depending on your perspective) Deep Care scan took ten minutes and found a distressing 22,000 problems, including 194 shortcut fixes required and 9811 'security defense' issues.
The first time a program (most definitely not IObit, I assure you) told me my system had so many problems, it erased my entire Windows partition as its 'solution'. I've been accordingly sceptical of registry cleaners and system care tools ever since. Testing by our partners in PC World's US labs supports my scepticism, suggesting that most registry cleanup tools do very little.
Aside from the performance problem solving, Advanced SystemCare has a suite of 20 tools – of which most are individual subcomponents of the Deep Care feature. The one that most interested me was the cloned file finder. I'm the kind of person who squirrels away copies of files everywhere, and then discovers later I have 30 copies of a Dr Horrible's SingAlong Blog animated gif. Sadly, however, this isn't part of the free version. TurboBoost, which promises to speed my system is available in the free version, on the other hand, but I wanted to give that a whirl after I turned my shambling beast of a machine into a lean greyhound.
All other options for exploration of the program exhausted, I finally hit the big "repair" button. And watched as problems went from scary red to happy "fixed" green. I wish I'd known it would install Windows updates as part of it, but no matter. Everything was starting to look hunky-dory within a few minutes. 15 minutes later, only the defrag remained incomplete. Exactly one hour after it began, everything was finalised.
As always, I rescanned immediately before rebooting. Advanced SystemCare still reported 49 Deep Registry fixes required, and 1006 privacy problems, but everything else looked clear.
The system boot time after running IObit Advanced SystemCare was around 30 seconds faster and my system had reports a green smileyface "good" rating for system health. I feel like a responsible PC owner.
Next I tried Turbo Boost – there are both ‘work mode’ and ‘game mode’ options. The former switches off unneeded pretties, while the latter turns off anything unrelated to games performance. Work mode let me get rid of a few startup entries that I didn't want, but had difficulty identifying, thanks to its clear description of each service and program.
However, when I restarted, it turned out that not all the startup changes I'd authorised went through. Some startup programs still launched, and it was hard to tell whether others were stopped or not. It's a disappointing result.
All up, SystemCare offers a few tools that are normally found in antivirus or antispyware packages, and a handy mechanism for checking whether you've applied Windows updates. Like most programs of its ilk, the majority of tools don't do much that Windows can't do for you if you know where to look. It's reasonable, and the interface is helpful, and that's probably about as good as these sorts of programs get.