How to Fix PC Performance Issues with Software UtilitiesBy Frank Ohlhorst | Print
Need to tune up some PCs and make them last longer? We pitted Software Utilities System Mechanic and TuneUp Utilities 2009 against each other to improve a PC's performance by optimizing software settings and fixing common problems. Learn which did the job better and offers the most bang for the buck.
Squeezing more performance out of older PCs is becoming a necessary
alternative to purchasing new computers as upgrade budgets shrink.
While that may be bad news for those selling new PCs, it may be good
news for those in the PC service industry.
Pretty much any technician knows that a PC tune-up can net real world
performance increases for end users. But tune-ups are usually time
intensive, tedious processes that require significant operating system
and hardware knowledge.
That situation has created an industry of software utilities, which are becoming the tool of choice to perform those tune-ups, while proving to be much faster than the tried-and-true manual steps. What’s more, software utilities are usually more thorough when it comes to fixing PC software problems.
With so many players in the field – the question is no longer "should I use a tune-up utility?" but "which utilities do the most good with the least effort and at an affordable price?"
To answer that question, Channel Insider took a look at two notable utilities, System Mechanic from iolo Technologies and TuneUp Utilities 2009 from TuneUp Software. Both products are very similar in what they do and how they work. Both products also need to be installed on a system to function. In other words, they cannot be run from a flash drive or a CD. For a technician looking to tune up a few dozen machines, that can be a real nuisance, and for a site that needs hundreds of systems tuned, that can be a deal breaker.
It’s obvious why a full installation is needed – both vendors are looking to preserve revenue from licensing and prevent a single licensed copy from being run on multiple PCs. While that is a fair way to protect their intellectual property – both companies could offer a run-count version, which would use an online license. That way, a solution provider could purchase 50 tune-ups and then run the application from a flash drive – each time the product is run, a license is consumed and the solution provider is then able to bill by the run and not force the customer to purchase the complete software package.
However, there is one advantage to the installed versions of those programs – both can be set up to automatically monitor and tune a system after the initial installation. Tune-ups and repairs can be scheduled to occur automatically and that can prevent problems from occurring in the future and reduce help desk calls.
Both products perform a specific series of tasks to tune up a PC, and the order and way that the products accomplish it are very similar. We ran both products on several XP and Vista systems for testing and while both performed as expected – there are some minor differences that will sway a buyer one way or the other.
TuneUp Utilities 2009 retails for $49.95 for three PCs while System Mechanic costs $49.97 for three PCs and one year of updates.