Iolo System Mechanic 10 is the latest update to the popular Windows tune-up tool that promises to uncover why your PC is running so slowly. And then fix it
System Mechanic 10 is a Windows PC optimisation package that - according to Iolo at least - runs more than 200 tests to ascertain how well your PC is running, and more than 50 features to fix any problems it finds.
Like the anti-virus software sales model, Iolo sells a time-limited licence to get updates for the System Mechanic software.
System Mechanic follows the same principle as all Windows tune-up software tools: it promises to speed up your PC by repairing the registry, defragging the hard disk, and eliminating unneccessary files that clog up your system.
New in version 10 of Iolo System Mechanic are two tools: the Program Accelerator calibrates program files to improve effiency in loading software apps, and the CRUDD Remover (Commonly Redundant or Unnecessary Decelerators and Destabilizers) hunts out redundant software and prompts you to remove programs you no longer use.
We like that System Mechanic offers a huge amount of functionality, but is accessible to one-click warriors who may not want to get their hands dirty, as well offering features for more technical users. It really is a good-looking and easy to use program, and it explains things in a way that will be helpful to non-technical users.
Reflecting this is a two-tier scan and fix system. A basic scan of our tired Vista test system freed up 28.97MB drive space, recovered 111.17MB of system memory and backed up the Registry - and that has to be worth 10 minutes of anyone's time.
It also found and fixed 141 Registry errors - an impressive total, but it's worth pointing out that PC Tools Performance Toolkit found 219 errors on the same system restored to exactly the same point. Which of these is the best for your PC is a moot point: some programs consider as errors issues that really don't require 'fixing'.
The basic scan also attended to what it called 15 security vulnerabilities, four unneccessary startup items and two broken shortcuts, as well as 'optimising' our internet configuration.
Nice. But does it work? Well apart from the deep satisfaction of seeing our system moving from 'Poor' to 'Fair', there was no appreciable difference in general performance. More damningly our boot-up benchmark showed no improvement from the ugly average baseline of of 5 minutes, 33 seconds.
When we performed a deep analysis, however, things got much more interesting.
To scan and fix all the issues it found took over an hour. This saved 237MB of drive space, 'fixed' 129 Registry errors, re-aligned 6499 files and defragged nine files on our C drive. It also removed a further two startup programs.
It's worth reiterating that this was on top of the previous actions taken after the basic scan - and it showed. Following this lengthy process, although far from perfect, our machine felt marginally more zippy.
More scientifically - our boot times had fallen to an average of 4 minutes, 12 seconds. That's a 32 percent improvement.
NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict >>