A junked up PC is the bane of the personal computing experience, as it may cause your machine to crash, open windows and programs at a pokey pace, or slowly boot. Tuneup utilities, software designed to remedy those ills, are commonplace—so much so that it may be difficult to decide which one is worth your money. The AOL Computer Checkup does a respectable job of whipping worn PCs back into shape, but its license limitation—the price tag covers just one PC—makes the free, Editors’ Choice award-winning SlimWare Utilities SlimCleaner a more attractive product.
The Windows 8/7XP-compatible AOL Computer Checkup features a simple, easy-to-navigate interface. It’s very simply designed; the left column houses links to handful of the typical tune-up tools (disk cleaning, optimization, registry repair, backup and recovery, etc.), while the main content area displays the pre- and post-tuning system status. AOL may have a reputation for spamming or attempting to upsell its userbase, but AOL Computer Checkup is a very clean install. The layout is easy to comprehend and navigate.
I tested AOL Computer Checkup’s ability to whip a PC back into shape by performing two tests—running the Geekbench system performance tool and measuring boot times—before and after running the software. I ran each test three times and averaged the results. Before AOL Computer Checkup scrubbed the laptop (a 2-GHz Intel Core i7 X990 Style-Note notebook with 4GB of RAM, and an 80GB Intel SSD drive), the system saw a 5,914 Geekbench score and 50.3 seconds boot time. It was in pretty bad shape.
My testbed’s performance improved after I ran AOL Computer Checkup—not tremendously, but to a point of satisfaction. The GeekBench score rose to 6,205 (which tailed SlimCleaner’s 6,338 mark) and the boot time decreased to 45.2 seconds (which placed behind Iolo System Mechanic’s 44.2 seconds).
Those numbers wouldn’t mean much if it didn’t translate into user-noticeable improvements—fortunately, it does. Windows and menus opened with extra pep that wasn’t present when the machine was junked up. So did heavy-duty apps like iTunes. The boot time was noticeably faster, too.
AOL Computer Checkup truly stumbles in one area: license limitations. The $39.99 price tag grants you just one license. Comodo System Utilities (free), Iolo System Mechanic, and SlimCleaner (free) have no such limitations—you can install the software on as many PCs as you wish. If you live in a multi-PC home, you may want to look elsewhere.
The Big Picture
AOL Computer Checkup delivered decent system improvements, but it still lags behind the big boss of the space, the free SlimWare Utilities SleamCleaner. If you need to tune-up just one PC AOL Computer Checkup is a decent selection, but tune-up tools with less license limitations are better all-around choices.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc