Editor rating : 8
Editor rating : 8
Editor rating : 8
Editor rating : 8
Editor rating : 7.5
If your PC or laptop has been working in an erratic manner, or has slowed down after you last reinstalled Windows, here’s what you can do: Install TuneUp Utilities and solve your problems with just a few clicks. It may sound gimmicky to you, but it will make absolute sense if you look at what it actually does.
The reason for slowing down could be many, such as bloated registry due to hundreds of redundant entries, invalid shortcuts, fragmented partitions and unwanted start up programs and services that take forever to load. Also, web browser cache and temporary files created by applications hog hundreds of megabytes of storage space. Such issues pile up over a period of time and should be resolved from time to time to maintain optimal functioning of the operating system. The quickest solution is using a system tuning utility that fixes everything in one go.
The latest version of TuneUp Utilities adds support for Windows 8, browser cleaner and Live Optimization among many other improvements. Here’s what it has in store for you.
TuneUp Utilities 2013 is a 27MB download (get it from here) and needs around 75MB of disk space for installation. Immediately after the installation, it prompts you to run “1-click Maintenance”—it scans for redundant registry entries, invalid shortcuts and references in the start menu and desktop, junk files, browser cache, fragmented drives, and so on. It takes around a minute to complete the scan, after which it displays the number of issues found and the overall condition of the system. You can click on the number of problems found to view them and uncheck the actions you don’t want the software to perform.
1-Click Maintenance solves all issues in one go
A good thing here is that even if you’re not well-versed with certain functions or terminologies, moving the mouse pointer over them or selecting them displays a brief explanation in simple English. Clicking the “Run maintenance” button fixes all the issues in one go. This can take anything between a few seconds to an hour depending on the number of issues and whether your drive(s) need to be defragmented. You’re taken to the main UI after the “1-Click Maintenance” run is complete.
You can choose what to run with 1-Click Maintenance
The main UI comprises five tabs in the decreasing order of priority—Status and recommendations, Optimize computer, Clean up computer, Fix problems and Customize Windows. The lower one-third portion of the UI stays static. The left side of this panel has buttons to choose the PC Optimization mode (Economy, Standard and Turbo). The Economy mode helps prolong battery life of mobile devices by turning off the display and wireless radios when idle, disabling visual effects and turning off background services that are rarely used such as support for virtual machines, error reporting, Quick Windows search etc. These parameters can be defined as per your preference. With Economy mode enabled, your laptop’s battery life should extend by around half an hour or so.
The Economy mode helps improve battery life of mobile devices
The Turbo mode is meant to give your PC an instant speed boost—in addition to postponing scheduled maintenance tasks, disabling visual effects and rarely used services, it ensures optimal performance regardless of power consumption. Over to the right side, the optimisation status bar displays the optimisation tasks you have run and the “Unused potential”, which lists the recommended tasks.
Moving on to the five tabs in the main UI, here’s what they offer:
Status and recommendations
Everything green means your system is running optimally
This section displays status and suggests recommendations related to system maintenance, performance and fixing problems. These are presented as separate blocks along with individual statuses. “Maintain System” does exactly what “1-Click Maintenance” does, but when the PC is idle or as per user-defined schedule. “Increase Performance” recommends optimisations based on the type of Internet connection and visual effects you specify. You can run the recommended optimisations (related to Internet connection, browser settings, display and animation effects) after analysis. “Fix Problems” suggests resolving issues that negatively impact system health, for example, checking for drive errors. You know your system is running optimally if all the statuses are green with a checkmark. “System protection” is like System Restore in Windows. It allows undoing changes made by the various modules in the software. You can specify the number of backups to keep and the timeframe to store backups until they are automatically deleted.
Reduce system load by disabling startup programs and optimising registry
This section presents tools to reduce system load and optimise registry. So, you have Program Deactivator, StartUp Manager and Uninstall Manager to manage startup items and installed software—each of these is a separate module.
Prioritise programs and disable startup programs
To help you decide whether you should enable or disable items, the software uses a rating system that evaluates priority. There’s also an independent registry cleaner, disk defragmenter and startup optimiser, each with an easy-to-use interface.
Clean up computer
It's easy to free up a few gigabytes of storage
As soon as you click this tab, the software analyses the amount of disk space that can be freed by getting rid of unwanted system files, browser data (cache, history, cookies, form data and passwords), broken shortcuts and Windows functions (such as Hibernation data and search index). Supported browsers for cleanup include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome. Also included are utilities to find and delete large amounts of data and shred data so that it cannot be recovered.
Fixes common Windows problems and helps recover deleted files
This section helps fix commonly faced problems such as Computer, Recycle Bin and Network icon not being displayed on the Desktop, “New” and “Send to” submenus not appearing in the context menu, Windows Update not functioning. You simply have to check the problems you’re facing and they will be solved when you click the “Next” button.
Check the problems you're facing and click Next
Other features in this section include TuneUp Undelete to restore deleted files after you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin. The System Information app displays information about the core hardware, I/O devices, drives and display.
Customise Windows animations and other visual elements
This section doesn’t boost the performance or solves issues. It’s just a bonus feature that allows you to customise look and feel. You can choose to enable or disable Window and menu animations. Other than that, there are tweaks for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Media Player and privacy settings.
Change the logon screen background, appearance of icons and more
An interesting feature is TuneUp Styler with which you can change the background of the logon screen and customise the appearance of icons.
Our test PC was a basic home PC powered by AMD Phenom II X4 955 processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM and 500GB WD Caviar Green hard drive. The operating system was Windows 7, 32-bit along with plenty of programs installed including Microsoft Office 2010, Adobe Photoshop CS5, Photoshop Lightroom 4, Opera, Google Chrome, Flashget. The system had been used for more than a year and was never optimised using a system tuning utility.
Prior to installing TuneUp Utilities 2013, the time taken to boot up and shut down was 42 seconds and 12 seconds respectively. Photoshop CS 5 and Lightroom 4 took 9.5 and 14 seconds to load respectively. After running “1-Click Maintenance”, we didn’t find any difference in the time taken to boot up and shutdown. However, both Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 4 loaded three seconds faster. We ran the recommended fixes and tweaks and found the system to be slightly more responsive.
Verdict and price in India
TuneUp Utilities 2013 offers a good mix of utilities and tweaks to keep your PC running optimally. Even if you’re an expert at system maintenance, you will like some of the included utilities and tweaks—we must say they are better than ones included in Windows. Moreover, it’s nice to have everything in one package. A good thing about TuneUp Utilities is that you have to run “1-Click Maintenance” and the recommended fixes thoroughly, after which everything is on autopilot. The Automatic Maintenance feature will keep your PC running smoothly and the software will recommend optimisations whenever they’re called for. All this for Rs 2,715 isn’t a bad deal at all.
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