The best free PC optimization software | TechRadar
In our tests, we used all available optimization tools within the program, then used PCMark 10 to benchmark performance for graphics processing, video chat quality, web browsing speed and word and data processing. The PC cleaner suite struggled to improve a few of these aspects, though it brought improvements to graphics, word and data processing. Recovering storage space is really where WinZip System Utilities shines.
The best free PC optimization software 2019
In our tests, we used all available optimization tools within the program, then used PCMark 10 to benchmark performance for graphics processing, video chat quality, web browsing speed and word and data processing. The PC cleaner suite struggled to improve a few of these aspects, though it brought improvements to graphics, word and data processing. Recovering storage space is really where WinZip System Utilities shines. It recovered more than triple what any other program recouped, which can really come in handy if you need every last gigabyte for important documents and photos.
It worked slowly too. Read the full review Why Trust Us We have been reviewing PC system utility software since and have done more than hours of hands-on testing. We used PCMark 10, a third-party benchmarking site, to measure the performance stats of our test PC before and after running each program, and we ran three rounds of tests for each as well.
We also performed a hefty amount of online research — comparing features on developer pages, reading customer reviews and watching informational videos, then integrating them with our own test findings. We contacted developers and everyday users to get expert opinions about which PC repair software works best for distinct types of users and situations. The Sweet Spot: The data we gathered serves as the foundation for our reviews and all the information we share here.
As the data is so important, we used a repeatable test method to make it a fair and accurate comparison. Test Environment To start, we tracked down an old and very slow desktop home computer that runs Windows 7.
It’s been used primarily as a home computer for writing, photo editing and music production, and it has had hundreds of programs installed and uninstalled over the years. We ran the PCMark 8 Home test multiple times to set the baseline performance. In each test, it ranked in the bottom 12 percent. We also used the BootRacer app to measure the average bootup speed.
Before testing the PC system utility software, we created a backup image of our test computer so that we could restore it to this sluggish point between every test. This way, every product scanned and fixed the same exact computer. Performance Tests One at a time, we installed each PC system utility app, ran every optimization tool it offered and fixed all the errors that it suggested.
Once the computer was fully optimized and fixed, we ran the scans three additional times to see if the software was consistent — would it find additional errors immediately after fixing errors? Once we felt like we’d optimized the computer as best we could with the PC utility app, we ran the same PCMark 8 test we used for the original baseline test. We then compared the results to see if the performance had improved. We also recorded three passes with BootRacer to measure improvements to bootup speed.
Each product in our review has a startup manager, and we only disabled apps the software recommended. Once a product was completely tested, we restored the test PC to its original condition and tested the next product. To ensure our results weren’t based on a single round of tests, we cycled through this process multiple times with every product to find a reliable average.
PC Utility Software: This tool searches your computer for temporary files and other useless junk taking up space. It then permanently deletes those files and gives you more storage space. This can be especially useful on laptops, which traditionally have limited storage. In addition to clearing out temporary files, many PC system utility suites look for duplicate files on your computer. If the utility software finds any, it prompts you to delete them. This often frees up some storage space on older computers.
Sometimes the changes it suggests can make your computer slower or create errors elsewhere. For example, several of the products we tested automatically removed a file critical to a restore point, which made it impossible for us to restore the computer to a previous point. Regularly clean out your temporary files and folders. Not only does this free up storage space — it can improve your security. Always know what applications are running and which ones start with Windows. If your computer takes forever to start, it could be because there are too many applications that start up with Windows.
Often, each program needs to finish loading before your computer becomes usable. Of course, the Windows control panel also includes tools to improve your startup, and they actually work quite well. Here are some tasks you really should avoid: Old machines often had convoluted and contradictory registries, so it made sense to use registry cleaners and repair software. However, even then you needed to be careful.
Defragmenting your hard drive often only wears it out more quickly. Disk defragmentation is another maintenance task that used to be more important than it is today. In the past, performing disk defrag on your hard disk drive HDD often resulted in a good amount of freed-up space and improved performance.
In the last 10 or so years, however, HDDs have gotten much larger and faster, and operating systems have gotten more efficient in how information is written to the drives.
On a side note, you should never defragment a solid-state drive SSD. Defragmenting is strictly for HDDs and was built with their physical read and write process in mind. SSDs do not work in the same way, and you can easily ruin a perfectly good SSD by trying to defrag it. PC System Utility: What Do Experts Say? To explore these issues further, we talked to several IT and computer optimization experts to get their perspective on PC system utility software.
This is what they said: Our clients often purchase utilities such as PC Mechanic only to find out that the performance boost was far less than expected. He recommends using the internal repair tools developed by Microsoft. Why Use It? As you can see, experts warn against using these apps, arguing that they simply cannot make your computer faster and can often make things worse. The software publishers often make outrageous claims that our tests easily disprove.
Our reviews show the much more modest reality. So, why should you consider PC system utility software? We tested and evaluated the best PC system utility software on the market, and even the best-performing product failed to produce significant improvements to performance.
The worst-performing products made our test computer slower. In addition, almost all of the tools typically found within these apps are already built into Windows OS, and they work just as well, if not better. As such, the only reason to use PC system utility software is if you find the Windows tools to be difficult to navigate and use.
One of the good things about PC system utility software is that the tools are all in one centralized interface that turns maintenance into a one-click task. Backup and Imaging Software. Driver Update Software. Each component in the peripheral devices connected to your computer uses a driver to communicate with the computer.
When these become outdated, they stop working correctly or, in some cases, stop working altogether. Multiple outdated drivers can cause your computer suffer decreased performance or freeze. Luckily, antivirus software can help protect your computer from viruses and other dangerous programs.
You can set it up to regularly scan your machine and alert you to problems. Disk Defragmenter Software. Its primary function is to repair and consolidate fragmented files on traditional hard disk drives. However, it can also locate and notify you about duplicate and old files, helping you more easily manage the contents of your hard drive and keep it in pristine condition.
Computer Licenses Many software developers limit the number of computers on which you can install their software. This widespread practice is an attempt to protect developers from piracy. However, it usually frustrates paying customers who have more than one computer that needs attention. Some of the PC system utility software suites we reviewed only offer a single computer license. The best PC system utility software suites we reviewed give you an unlimited number of installs, thus covering all of your machines and allowing you to uninstall and reinstall the software without worry.
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The Best PC System Utilities and Repair Software of 2019
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