Does your PC lack pep? If it’s over a year old, there’s a good chance that it isn’t running as smoothly as it did when it was fresh from the box. Over time, the Windows registry goes awry, programs leave behind junk even when they’re uninstalled, and other miscellaneous performance-draining scenarios negatively impact the system. PC Tools Registry Mechanic, a pared down version of PC Tools Performance Toolkit, aims to fix that. The $29.99 program doesn’t reorganize files for faster access, restore lost multimedia files, repair hard drives, or accelerate startup or shutdown times like its $39.99 big brother, but it does offer some performance enhancement. You may want to look elsewhere—like the free Editors’ Choice award-winning SlimWare Utilities SlimCleaner—first before pulling out the wallet.
System Requirements and Interface
Compatible with Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP PCs, PC Tools Registry Mechanic requires 50MB of disk space and an internet connection for registering the software and receiving updates.
The tools are spread across five tabs—Dashboard, Performance, Privacy, Recovery, Settings—but there’s an option for “1-Click Optimization” should you not want to run the tools individually. The Dashboard, and the interface overall, is easy to read and features descriptions in everyday language. There’s even a System Health meter that gives you at-a-glance status information.
The Clean-Up Process and Performance Enhancement
Clicking the large “1-Click” button began the cleanup process, which took just seconds to complete. PC Tools Registry Mechanic found over 90 registry and privacy issues that were soon remedied. I also used the app to remove unwanted and unused software from the PC.
I tested PC Tools Registry Mechanic’s ability to clean up a PC by performing two tests—running the Geekbench system performance tool and measuring boot times. I performed both tests three times and averaged the results, both before and after using the suite to clean the PC. Before PC Tools Registry Mechanic scrubbed the system, the 2-GHz Intel Core i7 X990 Style-Note notebook with 4GB of RAM, and 80GB Intel SSD booted achieved a 5,914 Geekbench score, and booted in 50.2 seconds. After using PC Tools Registry Mechanic, the GeekBench score improved to 6,125. The notebook boot time decreased to 39 seconds. Neither result dominated the field. Check out this chart to see how PC Tools Registry Mechanic fared against the competition. Highlight measurements represent catagory leaders.
After running the tests, I used the computer extensively to get a sense of how the app has changed the responsiveness of the machine. The system felt snappier, but I saw greater performance gains elsewhere—such as with PC Tools’ own Performance Toolkit and SlimWare Utilities Slimcleaner.
Should You Use PC Tools?
PC Tools Registry Mechanic did a decent job of improving our testbed’s overall performance, but there are more potent options. Plus, in the age of the multi-computer household, the installation limitations seem outdated; if you want to install it on more than three PCs, you have to buy two licenses, which will cost nearly $60. PC Tools Performance Toolkit 2011 is a solid tune-up utility, but its model is outdated, and there are better choices out there, including both PC Tools’ own Performance Toolkit and Editors’ Choice winner SlimWare Utilities SlimCleaner, which is free.
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|OS Compatibility||Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc