- Editor's Rating
- Updates can be handy for the less advanced user
- Simplifies PC upkeep (time saver)
- All-in-one software
- Might not be suited to the more advanced user
- Windows can run some of the same tasks on a schedule
System Mechanic, a software product from iolo, is an all-in-one PC performance, repair, and upkeep utility for consumers. New features of System Mechanic 10 include CRUDD Remover, Program Accelerator, and Internet Connection Repair. We reviewed the software a few months ago but did not cover these three new features. So here, we’ll take a look at the new features and consider how useful they really might be for more advanced and less advanced users.
One nice thing about System Mechanic is that most of its tools can be individually utilized. You can also decide to do a full system repair, but it’s great to have this “other” option. If you’re already a System Mechanic user, and you decide that the new features in a System Mechanic update won’t be that useful to you, you can always wait to see what iolo will introduce in its next edition before installing any updates.
Here is my notebook’s PC Mark score before installing the System Mechanic software:
CRUDD Remover, one of the three new tools in System Mechanic 10, will scan your hard drive for applications that are similar and/or duplicated. According to iolo, CRUDD stands for “Commonly Redundant or Unnecessary Decelerators and Destabilizers.”
Before trying it out on my work PC, I asked myself whether the creators of this feature produced CRUDD Remover just because they wanted to use the term “crud” (or a play on that word). As it turned out, though, the CRUDD Remover did detect programs that are similar to each other (such as WinZip and WinRAR; Yahoo! Messenger and AIM) and duplicate versions of the same program.
When CRUDD detects a “duplicate or redundant” program, it asks whether you “use the program,” want to “uninstall” it, or want to “decide later.” This is definitely a smart move on iolo’s part. Can you imagine what might happen if the program simply deleted the programs it considered to be “redundant,” instead of asking for your permission first?
CRUDD Remover then gives you a summary of programs you decided to keep (if you did keep any) and adds these to your “preferred programs” list. Programs on this list won’t be labeled as redundant again. The preferred programs list shows the program name, the iolo category for the program — such as “chat/IM,” “Web browsers,” etc. — and the date the item was added to the list. You may then edit this list at any time.
Yet do you really need CRUDD Remover? Most newer versions of Windows make it difficult for you to have two programs that are exactly the same installed on your PC, anyway. (If you try to install a program that’s already installed, Windows asks you if you would like to “install it again.”)
CRUDD, however, might be worthwhile to use every once in a while — or when system resources are running low — just to let you see at a glance whether you have any “redundant” programs you can get rid of, such as an extra instant messaging app.
The description for Program Accelerator, another new feature in System Mechanic 10, says that the tool will “re-align programs and their dependent files on the hard drive to speed up program launch time and overall responsiveness.” This means that the tool will scan your hard drive and fix the fragmented files.
To access the Program Accelerator itself, you click “Individual Tools” from the sidebar in the main screen under “Toolbox.” After you launch the program, it will let you choose from these options:
- Delete the “junk files,” which are defined by System Mechanic as files on a PC that are “useless and unneeded.”
- Automatically defragment “locked” files before Windows is booted.
- Shut down the PC automatically after the defragmentation (re-alignment) is finished.
When I ran Program Accelerator, it was able to free up about 41MB of space on my work computer. More importantly, though, did it really speed things up?
Honestly, I did notice more responsiveness in program boot-up (meaning it took less time to start individual programs). Here is a screen capture of the PC Mark Score just before running Program Accelerator (left) and directly after the process was done (right):
The Program Accelerator was able to (1) get the job done and (2) do the job correctly in order to boost application speed — but then again, Windows Disk Defragmenter can do almost the same thing. The only real difference between the two is that Program Accelerator can delete “useless files” from your PC. This does add viability to the Accelerator.
Internet Connection Repair
The third update, Internet Connection Repair, is defined by iolo as a technology that can repair your Internet connection when it “goes dead” unexpectedly, due to any number of reasons (malware being the main one). The feature is also supposed to allow the connection to be “as clean, fast, and reliable as possible.”
This tool is considered an automated task. It can be enabled or disabled via the Automated Tasks option in the main sidebar under ActiveCare.
Internet Connection Repair could be useful for users whose Internet connection gets frequently interrupted by malware. It could also act as a safety net for those in need of the extra connection repair help. However, more advanced users may not find this function to be advantageous.
Pricing and Availability
System Mechanic 10 is available now from iolo’s website for $39.95 (regularly $49.95). After it is purchased, it runs as a subscription-based service because iolo regularly updates the software and its “Tune-up” definitions ($19.95/one year; $29.95/two years; $59.95/three years). A user can run the software on up to three PCs at no additional cost. A pre-release version of the next set of updates, System Mechanic 10.5, is currently available on an invitation basis at special subscription pricing of $14.95. However, this is not the final edition of 10.5, so we are not reviewing it yet. Stay tuned.
On the whole, iolo’s System Mechanic 10 updates might not be as useful for more advanced users who are already familiar with anti-malware tools and who know how to run built-in Windows tasks on a schedule, for example.
However, the new tools do contain some capabilities that could make life a little easier for just about anyone. Unlike Windows Disk Defragmenter, for example, Program Accelerator removes “useless files” from your PC. CRUDD Remover, on the other hand, lets you make certain you’re not running redundant programs without undergoing the pain of sifting through Windows’ “add/remove programs” utility.