System Mechanic Pro Review

by Reads (2,434)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Functionality
      • 8
      • Ease of Installation/Ease of Use
      • 10
      • Performance
      • 6
      • Cost Benefits
      • 5
      • Total Score:
      • 7.25
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Effective tool for removing clutter and speeding up Systems
    • Excellent Interface for neophyte windows users
    • Bundled Anti-Malware Capabilities
    • Included Software Patch Management System
  • Cons

    • Somewhat intrusive for power users
    • Many capabilities can be accomplished using freeware
    • Expensive when compared to freeware tools

It’s no secret Windows PC need frequent tuneups to maintain peak performance. Over time, crud gathers in the registry, hard drives fragment, and various DLLs become unnecessary, outdated or worse yet, corrupted. What’s more, driver updates, patches, and other critical bits of the operating environment go far too long between updates. All of those issues turn a formerly speedy PC into a problem waiting to happen.

Long-time PC utilities vendor iolo technologies seeks to become the empowering force of the PC tune up. First announced in July, iolo’s System Mechanic Professional 14 offers a plethora of performance related tools housed in an integrated suite that promise to give boost to lagging Windows PCs. SMP offers capabilities designed to:sm_right_1000px

  • Enhance Performance: iolo’s EnergyBooster, Startup Optimizer, and Program Accelerator all offer capabilities to speed up slow PCs.
  • Tune Settings: iolo’s CRUDD Remover, Designated Drivers, Memory Mechanic, and DriveAccelerator trim the fat from registries, update drivers, defragment RAM, and defragment hard disk drives to ensure reliability and enhance performance.
  • Remove Clutter: PC Cleanup and Junk File Finder work to get rid of unused temporary files and deleted files to increase available storage space.
  • Repair Problems: Registry Tuner, Shortcut Repair, Drive Medic, and System Troubleshooter can all be used to fix both common and uncommon problems plaguing a Windows PC.
  • Ensure Privacy: The Privacy Cleaner and Incinerator applications ensure privacy by removing personal information from browsers, as well as permanently deleting files moved to the recycle bin.

Of course, the above list is just a highlight of what the product offers. In total there are some 50 different utilities that are integrated into SMP, some are rather obvious and others are a little more arcane, such as the DriveSense monitor, which monitors elements like drive temperature in real time.

A Closer Look at System Mechanic Pro 14

System Mechanic Pro 14 is available in both retail packaging and as a download from iolo’s website for $69.95 (which includes a “Whole Home License,” meaning you can use it on all of your household PCs). The list price is often discounted, so you might be able to save several bucks by just shopping around or keeping your eyes open for discount offers directly from iolo. At the time of this review, iolo was offering a $10 discount for the product on the website.

The quickest way to get started is with an online purchase and download, which delivers SMP as an executable file that can be used to run the installation. However, there may be some “gotchas” depending upon your current system configuration while the software is set up.

Other AV Products Can Interfere with the Install of SMP

Other AV Products Can Interfere with the Install of SMP

For example, one of the systems we tested it on was a Dell XPS 15z running Windows 8.1 and AVG AntiVirus Free Edition 2015. Because SMP includes iolo System Shield, an antivirus product, installation stalled with a warning that any other antivirus/antispyware software should be uninstalled. While the recommendation was sound advice, SMP didn’t offer any type of automated tool to remove the conflicting application – we had to manually remove the conflicting software and then re-launch the SMP install. Adding a shortcut to add/remove programs would be a nice touch here, especially because almost every PC comes with some type of AV software preinstalled.

Other than that minor AV conflict hiccup, installation proved to be straightforward and mostly automated. Users can expect to find common install options, such as feature selection, registration information, and file locations as part of the wizard driven installation experience.

A System Analysis is a Critical Step for Determining the Health of the System

A System Analysis is a Critical Step for Determining the Health of the System

Once installed, users are presented with a plethora of options, which may be somewhat confusing, but the “Overview” screen with system health data keeps it from being overwhelming.

Of course, before the Overview screen can offer any pertinent information, a System Analysis must be accomplished.

After running the System Analysis, SMP can inform the user of the overall health of the system. This can take some time to run, depending on the overall condition of the system, its speed, and the number of applications installed. Newer, fresh systems only take a few minutes to analyze, while older, problematic systems can take upwards of a half hour or more to analyze.

 

The Initial System Scan Delivers an Assessment of the System Status and Offers Guidance on what to do next.

The Initial System Scan Delivers an Assessment of the System Status and Offers Guidance on what to do next.

Every system we tested came up with pretty much the same assessment, poor, which indicates even lightly used Windows PCS experience problems that can quickly impact performance and stability, at least according to SMP.

While many may leave the assessment determination up to the algorithms used by SMP, those of a more suspicious nature can delve deeper into the problems before executing repairs, changes, or updates by simply clicking on the “View Problems” icon, which lists extensive details about the detected problems and what the impact of those problems may be.

Taking care of problems is quite easy – users choose fix things right away, schedule repairs for later, or even put them off indefinitely. What’s more, users can really work on individual problems, especially those that impact speed.

The Problem Detail Report Offers Extensive Information on Detected Problems and Offers what Actions to Take

The Problem Detail Report Offers Extensive Information on Detected Problems and Offers what Actions to Take

Take for example the “Optimize Windows Startup” and “Remove Software Redundancies” applets, which provide insight into identified issues and allow users to take granular control over the elements flagged as problems.

The “Optimizing Windows Startup” tool is very useful, allowing users to disable or even delete startup programs. Many of these can be safely eliminated, and SMP provides valuable guidance on what the application does and what most users choose to do. Nevertheless, users should be very careful to not turn off critical startup programs or risk loosing functionality.

Much the same can be said about the “Redundant Programs Removal” tool, which identifies programs that iolo deems redundant. For example, it identifies multiple browsers and suggests removing ones that aren’t set as the main one. Simply put, the program assumes that if you primarily use Firefox, that Chrome is an unnecessary and should be removed.

However, there are times when a user may want to keep those “redundant” programs. Luckily SMP only deletes what it’s told to, so nothing will be removed without specific steps being taken. 

Automation may be the software’s greatest strength. Although SMP allows users to make manual adjustments, the program can do much of them automatically, further simplifying the tuneup process. Automated tools such as “Registry Cleanup,” “Disk Defragmentation,” and “Application Booster” can be run unattended and bring a welcome boost to performance.

Much of the tuneup process can be automated, helping users to garner the most performance increases with the least amount of decisions

Much of the tuneup process can be automated, helping users to garner the most performance increases with the least amount of decisions

 

Conclusion: Wait, There’s More

Although SMP v14 is touted as a tuneup tool, it does offer several features that can further boost speed, either by optimizing system memory or enhancing caching. Those capabilities run as applets and are displayed on the task bar and keep a vigilant watch for problems or opportunities to optimize performance.

All things considered, SMP v14 is a powerful tool for a moderate price. However, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary for everyone, especially those power users who have no problem working with registry settings, adding or removing applications, or even using Microsoft’s own system management tools.

Pros:

  • Effective tool for removing clutter and speeding up Systems
  • Excellent interface for neophyte windows users
  • Bundled anti-malware capabilities
  • Included software patch management system

Cons:

  • Somewhat intrusive for power users
  • Many capabilities can be accomplished using freeware
  • Expensive when compared to freeware tools

 


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  1. TRANSMITTERGUY

    I have been using SMP for 10 Years and I feel It has been worth every cent. It keeps my computers (9 of them) working. I use It to check and repair hard drives from other systems or drives I buy at surplus stores. I plug them into a USB to SATA bridge and can access them that way. I just finished my daughters laptop hard drive that had a virus and a lot of clutter, works good now. I also repaired my wifes(the old family computer with Win XP) hard drive that had a nasty trojan virus on it. I had loaded SMP on it a few years ago but the virus would keep turning off SMP so it would not function. I loaded Nortons on it also and the virus turned it off also. The only way I fixed it was to remove it and connect it to the USB bridge to run a separate repair by SMP. It found the virus and some other less invasive viruses and removed them. Its not perfect, but repairs most everything I have come across and keeps my computers fast as possible. I am happy.