System Mechanic from iolo has a larger feature set than any of the other PC system utilities we reviewed, earning it our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award. Unfortunately, not all these features are easy to use. While System Mechanic allows its users to attack problems using several different versions of the same features, we found their maintenance and diagnostics functions to be overly complicated. The other features in System Mechanic are universally understandable and can solve a number of issues that may cripple your computer’s performance. Despite a few challenging features, System Mechanic is one of the best PC system utilities around.
The System Analysis feature in System Mechanic can keep your computer maintained by locating problems that are compromising the health and security of your system, such as registry errors and security vulnerabilities. The PC Health Status Gadget provides a real-time status of your system’s health and allows you to correct any problems it finds without requiring you to open System Mechanic. ActiveCare schedules the scans that System Mechanic performs when you’re away from your computer. With these PC system utilities features, you don’t have to guess what’s wrong with your system anymore.
System Mechanic’s other maintenance and diagnostics features might be hard to understand for beginning users. While other features in this application are self-explanatory, the features in this section require prior knowledge of advanced PC system utilities.
Startup Manager takes a complicated approach to managing the applications and services that open when your operating system starts up. Instead of displaying a simple list of processes that are currently running and giving you the option to disable them, System Mechanic splits startup items into five sections with names and functions beginners might not recognize. The Startup Optimizer feature in the Increase Performance section may be a better choice for some users because it understands what startup items need to be disabled and does the job automatically.
Process Manager is essentially an easier-to-understand version of Startup Manager; it’s set up as a simple a list of processes that are currently running with an option to stop them. This feature also offers many of the same functions as the Startup Manager, but the Process Manager allows you to choose which functions to use rather than bundling them all into one scan and one set of recommendations for your system.
While Process Manager and Startup Manager don’t warn beginning users that they’re going to be dealing with advanced settings and concepts, System Customizer and NetTuner mention this fact right under their names. With System Customizer, you’re able to change the appearance and behavior of over 100 Windows features by adjusting their various settings. NetTuner optimizes your internet connection and deals with significantly fewer settings than System Customizer, but each setting you can alter is far more complicated. In fact, each setting requires at least a paragraph-long explanation to help you understand it. As with most features in this PC system utilities application, there is another tool on board to optimize your internet settings – and a simpler one. NetBooster, in the Increase Performance section, will perform most of the same basic functions without the complications of advanced settings you may not want to fiddle with.
Duplicate File Inspector and Advanced Uninstaller are much easier to understand than System Mechanic’s other maintenance and diagnostics features. Duplicate File Inspector scans your entire hard drive (or areas you specify) to find duplicate files based on their name, size or content.
DriveSense provides real-time hardware sensor readings like hard drive temperature to help you monitor the status of your hard drive. Advanced System Information displays data on your computer’s hardware, software, memory and processes that are currently running, and this data is more in-depth than what you would find in many other pc system utilities, including the Device Manager in Windows. NetSpeed Analyzer determines when you need to optimize your internet connection based on how it performs on tests of its average and peak download speed. This feature will adjust several different settings in an attempt to get your connection to reach its optimal speed. System Change Tracker records the current state of the data on your system. If it monitors any changes, this feature will alert you, so you can take action against unauthorized changes.
You can keep track of the free space on your hard drive, how much of your memory is available and the speed of your internet connection with IntelliStatus. This tool also monitors applications that open when your operating system starts up, as well as those that are currently running. In the History section, you will find a record of the changes you’ve made with System Mechanic, as well as a log of the repairs and optimizations you’ve performed and how much hard drive space you’ve freed. At the bottom of this section, there’s a feature called SafetyNet, which allows you to undo any of the changes you’ve made with the PC system utilities.
You can perform all of System Mechanic’s repair functions with the PC TotalCare all-in-one tool. PC TotalCare will also run optimization features. If you prefer to manage each repair function separately, you can use the tools that make up PCTotalCare – PC Repair, PC Cleanup and PC Security – separately.
The system protection options in System Mechanic can protect your computer against most spyware and virus threats. Security Optimizer finds holes in the security settings in Windows and takes steps to prevent future attacks from happening. You can eliminate any existing virus infections with System Shield and enable its realtime protection shield to guard against future threats. System Guard prevents digital intruders from changing your system’s key settings without your knowledge.
PC Cleanup and Junk File Finder perform essentially the same tasks. PC Cleanup targets specific areas of your system, like internet browser cases, offline files and the recycle bin, in its pursuit of junk files; Junk File Finder locates them with general scans of your entire hard drive.
Registry Tuner scans the registry looking for invalid entries in 12 categories of registry keys. Shortcut Repair analyzes shortcuts to applications on your system, looking for broken shortcuts. It will either repair or delete them, depending on whether it’s able to find new targets for the broken shortcuts. Drive Medic takes an in-depth look at your hard drive in an effort to find errors that could cause system crashes. With System Mechanic Disaster Recovery, you can fix damaged hard drives or partitions, rescue unbootable systems, restore access to files and data and repair your operating system if it has become unstable.
Privacy Cleaner erases private data from internet browsers and Windows directories, keeping your personal information safe from identity thieves. Incinerator permanently deletes selected files and folders. It also gives you the option to replace the Recycle Bin icon with an Incinerator icon or add Incinerator functionality to the Recycle Bin. DriveScrubber is a feature that can permanently remove all traces of deleted files and wipe all the data from a hard drive.
Search and Recover is System Mechanic’s powerful data recovery tool. It can recover any type of deleted files, including pictures, movies, songs, sounds and emails. If you experience serious data loss, this PC system utilities application can also recover the entire contents of a drive, device or folder.
The PC Accelerator and PC TotalCare all-in-one tools together perform all the optimization functions available with System Mechanic. The functions outlined below are part of these all-in-one PC system utilities tools.
Memory Mechanic frees system memory so you can use it to run other applications. We were astounded when this feature was able to get our percentage of available memory up to 86%. We found that this feature was able to consistently keep the amount of memory in use from fluctuating.
CRUDD Remover looks for conflicting or redundant applications on your system. When you have two of the same type of application, they often compete for the same system resources that they need to run. This jockeying for necessary resources often ends with an application crashing or your whole system freezing. It’s better to have one of each type of application, and this PC system utilities application helps you do just that.
EnergyBooster turns off unused applications and services that are running in the background and slowing down your system. Startup Optimizer eliminates unnecessary or malicious startup files to increase the speed of your system’s startup process. NetBooster raises the speed of your internet connection by optimizing your settings. You can also find advanced versions of Startup Optimizer and NetBooster in the Manage System Configuration section. Registry Compacter and Drive Accelerator defragment the registry and hard drive. With DriveAccelerator, you can also designate files to be automatically defragmented when your operating system starts up.
Program Accelerator realigns any files on the hard drive that are associated with specific applications. Windows and software updates can cause application misalignment, which leads to progressively slower responsiveness as files that should be located near each other scatter across the hard drive. PC system utilities with a realigning feature, such as System Mechanic, address this issue. Once you complete the realignment process, you’ll notice that your programs respond more quickly and run more efficiently.
Everything in System Mechanic is easy to use except for its maintenance and diagnostics features. System Mechanic’s maintenance and diagnostics features seem to cater to an audience more experienced with PC system utilities. The explanations provided for their functionality seem to expect that you know what they’re talking about beforehand. However, every other feature has thorough explanations geared toward a broad range of users. Additionally, detailed graphs give you an idea of how each feature impacts your system’s performance. We liked the System Analysis feature and the reports created by ActiveCare and IntelliStatus because they provided an ample amount of easy-to-understand information that will help most users maintain their computers.
System Mechanic’s manufacturer, iolo, displays a handful of useful answers to general technical support questions on their website. You can fill out a contact form describing your specific issue with the PC system utilities or call their telephone support number in their Contact Us section. The link to their Contact Us section is a little difficult to find, since it is located at the bottom of their website. It would make more sense for them to display it with the other technical support information. However, we were impressed with their response time. We received helpful, prompt response to our emails within 24 hours.
System Mechanic effectively incorporates basic and advanced PC system utilities features into an interface that’s refreshingly easy to navigate. While its maintenance and diagnostics features might pose some challenges for less experienced users, the rest of this application’s feature set is straightforward. System Mechanic is a powerful tool that addresses the numerous issues that can affect your computer’s performance.
System Mechanic’s optimization features add to its allure.
Its maintenance and diagnostics features are challenging.
System Mechanic’s plentiful feature set solves many issues.