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
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
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.