A Windows PC optimisation suite, PC Tools Performance Toolkit 2011 contains apps to clean, compact, monitor and optimise your PC's Registry. It has a Windows service optimiser and PC performance monitor, a startup manager, internet history eraser and a file shredder.
There's a disk defragger, repair tool and bleacher, as well as tools for recovering deleted files and updating software. But don't let that weight of product scare you; PC Tools Performance Toolkit is simple to use.
An initial scan of our underpowered Vista system by PC Tools Performance Toolkit found 219 errors, of which 215 were notified as fixed. As with all optimisation tools, take these figures with a pinch of salt. What one program constitutes as an error another will disregard, and there is something of a Registry cleaners' arms race to try to find and fix the most.
From PC Tools Performance Toolkit's main interface you can use Performance Toolkit to 'Optimize', 'Maintain' and 'Recover' your PC. Under each option are further one-click tools, each presented in a simple, reassuring manner.
Cleaning and optimising our 1GB-memory Vista system freed up 96MB of disk space and reduced the Registry by 6 percent. It also, according to PC Tools Performance Toolkit, took PC performance from 'low' to 'high'. But what does that mean in real, day-to-day terms?
Not a huge amount. Which is not to say that PC Tools Performance Toolkit doesn't work, rather that the benefits of software optimisation on an underpowered PC are easily overstated. Like putting high-performance petrol in a low-powered car, there will be an improvement in performance but it won't solve a serious speed problem.
To illustrate this we recorded time taken from hitting the power button to full boot; before using PC Tools Performance Toolkit and after using its Startup tool. Initial boot times averaged a pot-watchingly slow 3 minutes 41 seconds. After running the tool... er, 4 minutes 18. It's notoriously difficult to draw firm conclusions from such testing over only a few days, and we're not suggesting PC Tools Performance Toolkit slowed down our PC - but you shouldn't expect a panacea.
A PC Tools spokesman told us that the software would analyse our PC's performance over time and improve things gradually.
Download: PC Tools Performance Toolkit 2011
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