For years now, Avanquest’s SystemSuite has been the Swiss Army knife of software utilities. It brings together a collection of tools to help keep your machine working, and in good condition. It does so at a friendly price, too. For a novice user looking for comprehensive protection, or a family looking to cut out the headache of PC maintenance, it looks mighty tempting on the shelf – especially as there’s a three-PC licence these days, too.
Continuing the tradition
You won’t be overly shocked then to hear that version 11 continues the same policy of packing in lots for little. With a retail price of just over £40, what you get is a sizeable collection of tools, glued together by a friendly interface.
Fresh additions this time around are a start-up and shutdown analyser, a faster disk defragmenter (although it’s still not the quickest of jobs, as you’d expect), and a more sophisticated ability to take advantage of the times when your machine isn’t busy to get the suite’s work done.
A number of other areas have been tinkered with, as you might expect – although this year also sees a tool taken away from the software. SystemSuite’s traditional Zip archiving utility is no longer present, and that’s a pity. But you do still get a plethora of utilities, covering the likes of maintenance, diagnostics, cleaning up, uninstalling, security, recovery and more.
Plenty to play with
You still get a lot of tools for your money, even if your time and attention will inevitably centre on a handful of them. The software tries to make things straightforward by taking a welcome one-click approach to key problems. It always managed to find something wrong with our test machine, and once it had carried out its fixes, we couldn’t see much difference. But then that’s arguably the nature of the beast – it’s what you don’t see that often bites you on the proverbial backside.
Still, the standard accusation against software like SystemSuite is that it’s the proverbial jack of all trades, master of none. Again, there’s some truth in that. We have slight concerns over trusting our PC’s security to this package.
SystemSuite’s built-in antivirus is a white label bolt-on that’s only too keen to take control of your PC’s security, but which doesn’t hold much of a candle to the leading titles on the market. That doesn’t strike as a wise move. It’s not that it’s bad in this department, rather that this is an area in which it doesn’t seem much sense skimping.
Something for everyone
Minor gripes aside, it would be a picky user who couldn’t find something of real merit in SystemSuite 11, given that there’s so much packed in. A few tools justify the suite’s relatively modest price tag – but many more cross the line from quality into quantity. If your system is in pretty good shape, and there are just one or two jobs from SystemSuite’s menu that you need doing, you might be better off with a couple of individual single-task utilities.