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Two glasses of red wine awarded by Anura Guruge

Cheers Auslogics. Way to go! Thanks.

by Anura Guruge

As has been documented here I started using the free Auslogics tools, Registry Cleaner, Registry Defrag and Disk Defrag, in January 2010, when I finally had enough of System Mechanic, trying on a daily basis, to hijack my PC from underneath me.

In general, I always liked the Auslogics tools. They appeared to do what they were supposed to do, were very stable, untemperamental and unintrusive. Yes, I did not like that Registry Defrag does not allow me to insist on a Defrag — it [i.e., the software] always determining whether I need a Defrag or not.

But, over the last 18 months I have really got to trust and love the Auslogics tools. I got to know that I could run them and they would do their thing without fuss or bother.

The last time I had downloaded the tools from Auslogics was around June 2010. Around that time they started to aggressively push their top-of-the-line, ‘BootSpeed.’ BootSpeed never appealed to me. It looked like a System Mechanic ‘wannabe’ — and I was not looking for a product that was going to take control away from me. But, I fully appreciate that there is a market for BootSpeed and that Auslogics needs to make money — so that they can also provide the FREE tools that I love.

I use all three of the tools at least once a month — usually at the start of each month. I have found that Windows 7 is not as susceptible to registry clutter as was XP. Plus the raw horsepower of this PC overcomes any small degradation in performance. Of late, each time I used the tools, I used to wonder: ‘Wow, I wonder if they have a newer version.’ But, I never even bothered to look. [Oh, I also got my wife using Auslogics on her new Windows 7 ASUS laptop.]

Then two days ago, I got another of the regular e-mails I get from Auslogics. This one actually talked about DOWNLOADING the Free Tools. This felt like an omen.

So, yesterday, I downloaded all three of the FREE Auslogics tools, viz. Registry Cleaner, Registry Defrag and Disk Defrag.


I had to download each through CNET and I HATED and RESENTED that!

I do not trust CNET. It also tried to con me into downloading stuff I did NOT want. It even tries to trick YOU!

I wish Auslogics would STOP using CNET — though I think they get some financial benefits from using CNET. I discovered, to my joy, that you can bail out of the CNET installer as soon as the software is downloaded.

Yes, all three of the Auslogics’ installers also try to get you to install a whole bunch of stuff you don’t want like the ASK toolbar, twitter account for Australian girls gone wild, Facebook page for the Australian Rugby team etc. etc. At least, if you are paying attention, you can spot all ‘thirty’ of the check boxes and uncheck them. To be honest, I can live with this. I know they have to make money. Now, if they gave me even more compelling options … other than Australian girls gone wild, I may consider keeping some of those boxes checked.

All this said, either CNET or Auslogics still installed the STARTNOW toolbar on FireFox. I was livid. Thankfully uninstalling it, permanently, is trial using the FireFox Add-On manager. But, this is SO STUPID. Don’t try and rape me. Be nice. I know it is free software but that doesn’t mean you have to always try and see how you can screw me. But, I will forgive that too … because it was easy enough to fix.


I ran all 3 of the tools. The interfaces have changed. But, they seemed to work well.

Also NOW there is a CHECK FOR UPDATES option in the HELP menu. Bravo. Thank you.

So all said, I am still a big fan. I like the CHECK UPDATES. I hate the installation process. But, overall, it is worth the hassle.

Hence, my award of the coveted ‘Two Glasses of Red’ — and that can even be Australian Shiraz, Yellow Tail.

Cheers.

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On Saturday night I ran Auslogics Registry Cleaner again. It had been 4 days since I had last run it. Since it is the ONLY registry tool that I now have on my Windows 7 machine the Registry had not been cleaned since I last ran Auslogics.

I ran the Registry Cleaner in ‘Advanced Scan’ [i.e., scan everything] mode. Didn’t take long. Said I had 10 errors. That surprised me, but in a good way. When I had System Mechanic 9.5 I used to run it most nights before I would Shut Down the PC. Invariably, with monotonous predictability, I would always be told that I had between 12 and 22 registry errors that needed to be fixed. Most nights I would tell SM to fix it. Then the next night I would have much the same amount again.

I checked the list of 10 errors found by Auslogics. Six related to Word documents that I had renamed (reflecting their new status within the proofing cycle). So that made sense. So 60% of the errors were beyond kosher. The other 4 looked reasonably legit too.

That the Auslogics Registry Cleaner found less errors after a 4 day hiatus than SM used to find in a night … leaves me in the proverbial no man’s land. Who is right? Which is better? But, at least Auslogics as yet to hang. So that is a definite plus. It is possible that it is not as thorough as SM. I hope it is, but right now I don’t have the time to determine if Auslogics skips records that SM would analyze and report. Time will tell.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

I then downloaded and ran the Auslogics Disk Defrag. I had used it on XP so I knew what to expect.

I did an analyze. It came back and said that I DID NOT need to defrag my C-drive. That was good.

Unlike its Registry Defrag which does NOT have an option for insisting on a defrag … the Disk Defrag does, Praise be to Shane (though Mulli’s KING), have that option.

I adjusted the settings so that it did not try to defrag 10MB or larger segments. I also asked it to DEFRAG & OPTIMIZE [i.e., move my System Files towards the ‘front’ of the disk].

My C-drive is a ‘nominal’ 750GB … with 42GB currently used. I think it found close to 12,000 files — 90 of which needed to be defraged.

I watched it for a few minutes. Then I went to have breakfast and watch a recorded rerun of “All Creatures Great and Small.”

When I came back it was done. It had taken 46 minutes and 14 seconds. That is probably not bad.

They give you fairly impressive report. I had a quick glance at it. That too looked Kosher.

So far, so good. No hangs. My system works. It hasn’t made any difference to my performance but my performance is OK … given that this is a i7-920 with 12GB of DDR3 memory.

The Not So Good

I found to my cost and chagrin that the Auslogics Registry Defrag will install itself on ‘top’ of an existing version without any warning message or an attempt to uninstall the installed version.

Though this was MY FAULT, I was not amused.

I did the Disk Defrag download past midnight. All my downloads go to my ‘DOWNLOADS’ folder. I had been indexing my book for over 2 hours. Trust me, there is nothing guaranteed to screw-up your eyesight like heads-down, indexing.

I had 4 install execs in my folder. I clicked the wrong one. Instead of activating the new Disk Defrag .exe, I without realizing (of course) clicked on the Registry Defrag.

The installation went through WITHOUT any mention that I already had a PERFECTLY good copy of Registry Defrag installed on my machine.

That was NOT GOOD. Not amused.

So, so far, I have found three things that I do not like when it comes to Auslogics:

  1. Registry Defrag install exec NOT checking for a prior install. Bad, bad, bad.
  2. Registry Defrg not having a ‘do a defrag any way’ option (for Power Users who know what they are doing). This is an annoyance.
  3. Auslogics BootSpeed finding errors on your machine BUT then saying it won’t fix them until you buy a license. That is bad. That is duplicitous since it doesn’t warn you of this before you fire it up. It is childish. It is NOT CRICKET. It is Greg Chappell bowling underarm. It is Rod Marsh betting against his own team. It is Kim Hughes crying like a 4 year old on TV.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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On December 17th with the help of Microsoft I fixed the problem where 7 of my files, Word & Excel, had small padlock icons against the left hand side of the file icon.

This was a problem I had discovered on December 4, 2009.

I know that quite a few are having this problem because I get at least five hits a day, on this blog, with people doing a search on ‘padlock on icon’.

Well today I discovered to my dismay that the problem is back. This time just 2 files.

Yes, these 2 files were part of the 7 that originally had the problem. But there is a reason for that.

As I had originally stated in my December 4, 2009 post, the 7 files that ended up with the padlock icon were the FIRST 7 files in one of my folders.

This time … just the top 2 files.

So that definitely is a clue. The padlock appears because the ‘permissions’ for that file got screwed up; i.e., SOMEBODY screwed up the permission settings. But whoever is doing it … is doing it starting at the first file in a particular folder.

A THEORY & A COINCIDENCE

OK. I have a THEORY. Check it out.

Why this particular folder? I had a hunch. I checked it out. Hunch is good. I EXTENDED, as is my right, my Windows 7 LIBRARY structure. I added my OWN categories … on top of the default ‘documents,’ ‘music,’ ‘pictures,’ & ‘video.’ I added a new a new called ‘Popes’ — given that I am a papal historian.

The folder that is getting corrupted is the FIRST FOLDER in my ‘Pope’ category … within the Library hierarchy. That is my theory. IF you are experiencing this problem can you check to see if my theory might have a basis. Thank YOU.

I first discovered the problem on December 4th. I saw it again TODAY, January 4th. Is this related to the 4th? Some Windows 7 service that kicks in every 4th? Don’t know. But, an intriguing coincidence.

FIXED THE PROBLEM AGAIN. USING MY STEPS

Good news. I fixed the icons … again … using the steps I outlined in my post.

I could not remember the exact steps and I wanted to make sure that the steps I documented were correct. They appear to be. They worked. Yes, I still had to look around. IF you have problems with these steps let me know. I will SEE if I can elaborate.

But, this really is a Microsoft issue. I know others are having this problem. Come on MSFT, give us an UPDATE to fix it. As I said, just 2 days ago, we are SHORT on Windows 7 updates.

POTENTIAL CULPRITS

I am sure this is a Windows 7 BUG. That Microsoft support knew exactly how to fix it lends me to believe that they were well aware of this problem by the time I reported in on December 4th.

OK. I did a major ‘tidy-up’ of my system last night. Ran System Mechanic 9.5.3 multiple times. Got it to fix the registry problems and compress the register. Made it defrag my drives twice. But I also defraged them using Windows 7.

Is it the defrag that messes up the permissions … resulting in the padlock icon.

So ‘clues’ I am working on:

  1. Happened each time on the 4th of the month
  2. The first few files in the first folder that I have included in a customized Windows 7 Library
  3. Happened after I did significant ‘tidy up’ of my system using Windows 7 tools and System Mechanic 9.5.3

If you can help, so much the better … but the ball, however, is firmly in Microsoft’s court.

Thanks. Hope this helps. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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I couldn’t believe it.

I had so hoped that System Mechanic hangs, and I have had about 10, were a thing of the past with System Mechanic 9.5.3. I was wrong. [Please see ‘System Mechanic‘ category for my travails with System Mechanic 9.x with Windows 7.]

I had deleted quite a few files today. So thought I would do a defrag even though System Mechanic did not say I needed to do one.

Defrag worked OK. Said I still had 9% fragmentation. It is getting better. Last time around it said 10%. Ten days ago, with 9.5.2 it was saying 14%.

I restarted Windows 7 after the SM hang. So the Action Center does not note this hang. My reliability history is pristine over Christmas.

I then did a Windows 7 fragmenation analysis. It said, 0%. iolo has to get its story right one of these days.

I am annoyed about this hang. We better have System Mechanic 9.5.4 SOON.

Thanks. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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Today was my second day of having System Mechanic 9.5.3 on my Windows 7 rig.

Today I had a chance to really put it through its paces and keep an eye on it.

Made it do two deep system analysis scans. Reported the usual suspects. 7 registry errors, 74MB of clutter, 64% registry defragmentation and 10% c-disk fragmentation.

As ever System Mechanic cleaned up the registry errors without incident.

Told it to defrag the c-drive. It did. came back and said I still had 10% fragmentation. That means it didn’t recover anything.

Told it to do it again. Same result.

Scheduled a registry defrag. SYSTEM MECHANIC 9.5.3. HUNG!

But was able to restart Windows 7.

The registry defrag did occur. [But Windows 7 did not register the System Mechanic hang.]

Ran Windows 7 defrag … twice. Each case it came back and said 0% fragmentation.

Did a reanalysis using System Mechanic. Still claims I have 10% fragmentation.

So I continue to have the tale of two reports; Windows 7 0%, System Mechanic 9.5.3 10%.

As I have noted, Microsoft, as of Vista, changed its definition of fragmentation. The Microsoft criteria actually makes sense to me. So I am in a quandary as to who to believe. As an ex-IBMer who still remembers what Microsoft did to us with OS/2 I, reflexively, used to believe anybody but Microsoft. But, as with Windows 7 Microsoft is slowly winning me OVER. That is pretty amazing. That is kind of akin to the GOP winning over Bill Clinton!

The System Mechanic 9.5.3 hang really bugs me. I put up with all the System Mechanic bugs when 9.0.5 was not Windows 7 ready. Hhhhmmm.

PLEASE DO NOT DEPRIVE iolo OF REVENUE.
A nice feature of WordPress, that I use for this blog, is that it shows me the search words that resulted in people clicking on this blog. To my distress I am seeing people coming here after searching on how to get key code generators for System Mechanic.

Come ON. You don’t need to pirate System Mechanic. You can get 30 days (or is it 60 days) for FREE … per e-mail. Don’t screw iolo.

They have done you no harm. By all means be creative. Use a couple of different emails and get trial versions for a few months.

But IF you like System Mechanic PLEASE pay for it.

Small companies like iolo and Avast can’t function on good will alone. They need revenue. If we scam them, we will get inferior products BECAUSE they don’t have the bucks to spend on R&D.

That is it for today. All the best. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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I got 9.5.2 on Dec. 11 and made the prediction that we will most likely be at 9.5.4 before January 1.

Last night, i.e., Dec. 21, just before mid-night, I got System Mechanic 9.5.3.

iolo, indubitably, is scrambling to get System Mechanic up to par for Windows 7.

Prior to System Mechanic 9.5.0 on November 27, 2009, System Mechanic was NOT Windows 7 ready.

So this has been the release schedule since then:

System Mechanic 9.5.0 November 27, 2009

System Mechanic 9.5.1 December 3, 2009 (6 days between releases)

System Mechanic 9.5.2 December 10, 2009 (7 days between releases)

System Mechanic 9.5.3 December 21, 2009 (11 days between releases)

4 releases in 24 days! That is good and bad … but also CRAZY.

In my youth I was a Product Manager for a bunch of complex, networking software products. Doing releases like this is not a good reflection on the product or the company.

But, I also appreciate that iolo has had NO CHOICE.

I was going to do a post that 9.5.2 was ‘not right.’

From what I could see 9.5.2 was in ‘lock down’ mode. It was very reticent about reporting any problems. It appeared to be working on the principle that it was better to keep quiet than get it wrong.

I ran 9.5.3. It did not report any disk errors. As I had stated, the previous releases incorrectly reported that I had disk errors. It also said that my disk fragmentation was but 10%. That is 4% down from what the previous release said … and I had NOT done a defrag between the two readings! Remember, I have said that with Windows 7 what is considered to be ‘fragmented‘ has been redefined.

Well as is my wont I will keep an eye on System Mechanic 9.5.3 for all of you.

Happy holidays. All the best. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
http://www.guruge.com

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Just call it my gut-feel intuition, but System Mechanic 9.5.0 is still not right! Yes, iolo might have fixed the most blatant stability issues and jazzed up the user-interface icons BUT 9.5 appears still to be a rush release.

I put 9.5.0 to the test again today. I am making good progress on my book and I am now way ahead of my intrepid proof-reader. So I have a bit of spare time in my life, a rarity indeed. So I am using some of this ‘spare’ time to get to know the nooks and crannies of my system.

A full analysis of the system again reported 3 problems. I knew what they were without even looking. The usual: x registry errors, 1x MB clutter and 1x% c-disk defragmentation.

This time, I used Windows 7 defrag … and then went to have lunch … consisting in the main of cheese cake and caramel apple pie. Hey, I have been running every day. And I only eat sweets during holidays. Not really my fault if our guests didn’t finish the 6 pies that I bought and the big cheese cake my wife made.

When I got back sated, Window said that I had 0% fragmentation. Bingo.

But, I trust nobody, when it comes to software or PCs. So I cranked up SM 9.5. Man, they have got their act together. Said NOTHING about needing a defrag. Obviously they have a hook in with the Windows 7 defrag. When you run that 9.5 lets you off the hook.

But, did I already say that I don’t trust anybody when it comes to software? I ran 9.5 AGAIN and told it to do a deep analysis … for the second time in like 2 hours.

Now I hadn’t done anything on the PC since Window 7 did its defrag and said 0% … and 9.5 didn’t say I needed to defrag.

9.5 now said I had 17% fragmentation.

I let it go. This system isn’t exactly slow. But, I knew something was wrong.

I then had to do other things. Yes, I finished Appendix E of the book. I climbed a tree and cut a large branch off since it was close to my utilities lines. We hung up Christmas lights, etc. etc.

I was going to write about Windows Defender. Actually did some research on it.

But then that intuition thing kicked in. On a whim I did a search on “Windows 7 defrag.” This from Microsoft was the first entry I got. It was called “Engineering Windows 7 — Disk Defragmentation.

READ IT.

Theories, and that is what they will always be, about defrag have changed over the years. It is no longer that important that an entire file is stored in contiguous sectors. Think about.

So starting with Vista Microsoft reports defrag percentages DIFFERENTLY. Bingo. Why it said 0% and SM 9.5 said 9.5.

I looked at the files that 9.5 can’t defrag. They are, in the main, System Volume Information related files. My c-drive at 750GB is BIG. The System Volume Information files are also BIG. And I think that is what is screwing SM. The larger the drive, the larger the System Info files that SM can’t relocate!

SM needs to FIX it defrag. OK?


I had noticed this from day 1. The first time I try to save to my 2nd disk, d-drive, from Word 2007, it takes an AGE. After that it is as quick as it can be.

I have a feeling that Windows 7 caches SOME volume information about drives in memory before you get to use the drive. With the c-drive this must get done during BOOT, this being my system drive.

So this must be why there is always a palpable hesitation before my first use of the 2nd drive. Not killer. More a source of amusement that Windows 7 has to think about it. My second drive is also 750GB. So I think the size impacts the amount of data that Windows 7 caches.

I will look into this too.

Cheers,

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

 

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