Reimage is a PC software package aimed at fixing damaged Windows software installations on PCs. It is claimed to remove everything from viruses and other malware to registry errors and Windows stability issues, so we tested Reimage on a Windows 8 computer. Is Reimage worth the price of either a $39.95 or $69.95 license key? To help you decide, the results of our tests are detailed below.
Reimage's core function is to repair Windows to solid working order. It does this by scanning your computer's Windows installation including base system files and comparing them to versions stored on Reimage's servers. If differences are found, it will download and replace the versions on your PC. Reimage will also remove unused and unnecessary Windows files and clean the Registry.
The PC scan is free. However, a license key to apply recommended fixes costs $69.95 for unlimited fixes over a one-year period for one PC. A one-time usage key, for one-time fixes, costs $39.95.
How well does Reimage actually perform? Theoretically, it can do a full in-place install of Windows by replacing any files that are different from base system. This is no small undertaking and Reimage is the only software I know of that's claimed to do it. Note that I keep referring to Windows; that's what Reimage fixes. It doesn't deal with any third-party programs -- not even other Microsoft products such as Office or Visual Studio. Reimage may not do anything for you if your PC problems are not related to Windows.
Specifically, we tested Reimage on an ASUS S400C Windows 8 Ultrabook with a 14-inch touchscreen, Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, 500GB hard drive, and 4GB RAM.
Reimage turned up a number of potential issues after scanning our Windows 8 PC. Although it didn't detect any security threats, it reported 48 registry errors and issues with three programs. The software rated "Windows Damage Severity" on the ultrabook as "Medium."
Also during scanning, Reimage determined that two programs -- .net Runtime and Dptfpolicylpmservicehelper -- had "crashed" (although it's hard to know what that's supposed to mean).
You Pay for Fixes
I then proceeded to the next step: to fix the "damaged" PC. Scanning and subsequent fixing took just over an hour. In the fixing stage, Reimage is supposed to clear faulty files, install fresh files, repair damage, and run stability and security checks.
The first time around, Reimage actually failed to apply fixes, contending that Windows Update was running. (I checked; it wasn't.) So then, I had to scan all over again. The second time, the process completed without error. Downloading the fresh files from the Reimage server took the bulk of the time (I wonder how long this would take on a truly damaged Windows installation). A restart was required to finish.
After the restart, though, I encountered another problem. Apparently, Reimage had downloaded Windows updates but wasn't able to install them. The returned error message wasn't exactly helpful.
I found out that some of the Windows files Reimage downloads aren't the latest versions. You could potentially backdate your system by installing them. That's not necessarily a big issue because you could simply run Windows Update to get it back up to date. Yet this would add more time to the repair process.
I have mixed feelings on this software and whether to recommend it or not. Using Reimage could make sense if your PC has errors related to Windows itself and you're totally against doing a clean install of Windows. Again, however, Reimage charges $69.95 for a year of fixes for one PC. For anyone who is familar with re-installing Windows -- or who knows someone who is -- that other alternative doesn't cost anything except time. So you decide.
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