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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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This morning, in a slight fit of impetuousness I downloaded Auslogics’ Registry Cleaner on to this Windows 7 rig … and ran it.

Given that I am posting from the same machine, 6 hours later, means that it didn’t blow me out of the water. Actually it went quite well.

Since I had already done it once on a XP machine, I was familiar with what to expect. All went well. It created a Desktop Icon. I don’t like Desktop Icons for applications. So I right clicked and asked it to create a Task Bar icon. It did. << more later on this >>

So let me do this in bullet form to make it as easy to follow as possible:

  1. Did a ‘simple’ scan. It found 116 Registry Errors.
  2. I was able to print their listing of errors. [No, following Microsoft’s great example their GUI is lacking. But CTRL+A works. I then copied the list and printed it.]
  3. Checked the list. Lots of invalid file types. Wow. Here is but a partial list: .aswcs (Avast), .asws (Avast), .csk (Claris?) .dif (data interchange?), .dv (digital video), .prf et. al. Well, I know where the Avast extensions came from. The rest is a mystery. Told it to delete the entries. It said it did.
  4. Me being who I am, I now restarted the PC to make sure that it could still be booted. Come on. I admit it. I am the cynic’s cynic.
  5. When the system came up I noticed ONE THING that made me very unhappy. The Registry Cleaner icon on the task bar was CORRUPTED. Not good.
  6. I tried to restore it. No luck.
  7. I looked in Windows START to see what I got on the program menu. That icon was corrupted too << as you can see from this screen shot >>
  8. I would assume it was Windows 7 that corrupted the icon. Never see that happen. Yes, we have had strange things happening to the Task Bar icons. But this is the first time I have seen an icon get corrupted. Hhhhmmm. Maybe Microsoft has it in for Auslogics. (HP uses a really obnoxious ‘generic’ icon for its duplex printing task … but that isn’t a corrupted icon. Just laziness on the part of HP).
  9. Well, I ran the Registry Cleaner again. This time in Advanced Mode with all categories, including ‘Software’ and ‘Shared DLLs’ enabled. It found 152 additional errors. I printed the list and had a look. Four errors related to System Mechanic. The bona fides of the list looked OK. Plus there is a RESTORE option. Told it to clean them all. It did. Icon is corrupted.
  10. Restarted again. So far so good. Icon still corrupted.
  11. I now downloaded and installed Registry Defrag. Skipped the option to install the ASK tool bar. Pinned an icon to the Task Bar.
  12. Ran it. Showed I had very little defragmentation of the registry.
  13. It refused to perform a compact saying I didn’t need it. That always aggravates me. I could not find an option to FORCE a compaction.
  14. So, ran it again. Same story. Would not let me compact the registry. Not amused. I should have the option of compacting … if I want to.
  15. Cleaner icon, on the Task Bar and on the START menu corrupted. Defrag icon is fine in all places! I removed BOTH from the Task Bar. Didn’t want a corrupted icon on my Task Bar. Does not bode well.

So that was my first experience of Auslogics Registry Cleaner and Defrag on Windows 7.

The corrupted icon spoiled the show and my day.

But, other than that, it went fairly well. Hasn’t made any difference to my performance. But, unlike, System Mechanic it didn’t hang.

Tomorrow, if I have the time, I will try Disk Defrag. I asked my wife, who has a fairly decent 1GB Dell laptop with XP SP3 to try out the Auslogics BootSpeed — the supposed equivalent to System Mechanic. My wife is a great believer in System Mechanic. She was AMAZED that I had uninstalled it from this Windows 7 machine. Well, she was NOT impressed with BootSpeed the first time around. It found all these problems, but wouldn’t fix them because we hadn’t bought a license. It didn’t tell her that before she started. I have a two-word phrase for products like that and the second word is ‘teaser.’ Not impressed. Not amused.

Good luck. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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I downloaded Auslogics Registry Cleaner, Registry Defrag and Disk Defrag onto my ‘backup’ XP/SP3 system last night. This was the same, quite ‘clean’ and fairly fast system I used to try out TuneUp Utilities 2010.

The downloads, all from CENT, were small and hence fast (though it took me a second to find one of them within CNET given the other stuff that CNET is trying to promote). Installation was slick.

OK, I was wrong, and I am glad. All of the products are NOT free. That is good. The Registry Defrag needs to be purchased after a free trial. Some of their other products, such BootSpeed, also have to be purchased. One of the three products I installed asked me, quite nicely, whether I would like to have the ASK.com toolbar installed. I politely declined, but that means they also get some revenue from ASK.com. This is good. You can no longer produce quality software just on goodwill and a smile. This is why I get so upset with the folks who are constantly trying to pirate software. As I have said often, I can see what SEARCH STRINGS result in folks visiting this blog. Even TODAY I have folks coming here because they did a search on how to obtain a hacked product key for System Mechanic. Maybe, if MORE people paid for System Mechanic etc. we might have better, more stable products.

The Initial Test

Since I still had System Mechanic 9.5.5 and TuneUp Utilities 2010 on this XP machine, I decided to run those before I let loose Auslogics. Ran System Mechanic first. Told me I had 14 registry errors. Hhhhmmm. I had hardly done anything on this machine since SM and TU U 2010 claimed to have thoroughly scrubbed it a few days ago. I didn’t let SM fix the errors. I now ran TU U 2010. It said I had 7 registry errors. It gets curiouser and curiouser. Am I to now deduce that TU U 2010 isn’t as adroit as SM in picking up registry errors. This really has become a whore’s market.

Bracing myself for surprises, I ran Auslogics Registry Cleaner.

It has two modes. Safe Mode  and an Advanced Mode for experienced users. The latter mode does not check the registry entries for SOFTWARE, shared DLLs and ActiveX. Not checking the SOFTWARE section, in Safe Mode, surprised me. That is where I find most of the errors. But, I was trooper. I went along. Ran it in Safe Mode, since with just 40 years of hands-on, full-time computer experience I do not consider myself an experienced user. Auslogics Registry Cleaner came back and said I had 84 registry errors. That was like a Shane Warne googly, though as history has shown Shane is no match for us Sri Lankans with suspect arm actions. [Don’t worry. This is arcane cricket humor and rivalry for those of us from the Commonwealth (and Massachusetts is DEFINITELY now excluded from this select band).

I now ran Auslogics in Advanced Mode. 116 errors, but, Shane be praised, I didn’t get any shared DLL errors.

This is beyond the pale. SM says 14. TU U 2010 says 7. The mavericks from Oz claim 116. They can’t all be right. HELP. Where is Dickie Bird when I need him. (That is a cricket joke too.) I am not sure whether I should question the Aussies for ‘chucking?’

Used Registry Defrag. Said my registry was 7% fragmented. I like the pre-analysis. SM you need this. Also said that compacting my registry would only result in, at most, a 1% increase in performance. Bravo. I like honesty.

I ran Disk Defrag, without first checking any of the advanced options. Seemed to work quite well.

Today, I ran SM 9.5.5 again. It found 12 registry errors.

Ran Oz. It found 4 registry errors — all associated with SM! That makes sense. Told it to clean up. Ran it again. Said ZERO.

Bottom Line: Day 1.5

Not sure. The Oz software seems to work. But are they right? Are they correct? Can I trust them? And I won’t even go into the antecedents of the Australians … now that I am an old man.

I will continue to test, check, question, double check and ponder. Stay tuned.

Good luck. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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A few minutes ago I deleted iolo System Mechanic 9.5.5 from my Windows 7 Professional machine because I had had it with the stupid hangs. My patience, in my dotage, is legendary (but to be honest the kids are the biggest beneficiaries of it). But, I just couldn’t take the damn hangs. So System Mechanic had to go.

I uninstalled it using the Windows 7 Control Panel Uninstall. So it was Windows 7 that did the uninstall. (Yes, later, using instructions from iolo I went and removed the iolo folder from the registry. But, that is another story. Bloody iolo.)

When the uninstall was over I noticed a ‘ghost,’ generic icon on the Task Bar where the System Mechanic icon used to be!

Ah?

Clicked on it? Said that the program associated with that icon was no longer installed. DAMN RIGHT. You (meaning Windows 7) uninstalled it. Remember?

That is STUPID.

I had to now manually delete the generic icon. Come on Microsoft. Can’t you do better than this?

So the BUG: Windows 7 doesn’t clean up the Task Bar icon when it uninstalls an application.

Gee, thanks Microsoft. You guys are the best?

Thanks. Good luck. We need it.

Cheers

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

P.S. iolo has TWO folders in the Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. One says System Mechanic 5. That is encouraging when you are trying to delete ALL SIGNS of System Mechanic 9.5.5. The other one, that iolo does NOT talk about, is called TMRU Como. I deleted that too. I didn’t want anything from iolo polluting my system. Good bye and good riddance. Yes, I had a few months left on my fully paid up System Mechanic license. But getting rid of SM was well worth it. Just for the record, I was a HUGE fan of System Mechanic since c. 2002. It was just the damn hangs with Windows 7 that drove me to distraction. Sorry. Old age. Grumpy OLD MAN.

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Having first tried it out on my daughter’s XP SP3 system yesterday evening, I installed TuneUp Utilities 2010 on my latest XP SP3 box a few hours later.

Installation again was hassle free and slick. I like their install. It is bright, breezy and keeps you engaged. That is a PLUS in the TuneUp Utilities 2010 column. Well done.

Ran 1-click maintenance. Told me I had 265 registry errors and 2 unnecessary start-up items. It fixed my 265 registry errors. But, insisted that the registry did not need compacting. I do not agree with that. 265 fixes is a fair amount. I want my registry compacted after that.

I ran 1-click maintenance again. So all I had done was run 1-click maintenance, fix the reported errors … which told me that it fixed 265 registry errors (and two start up items) … and then run 1-click maintenance AGAIN.

Told me I had 46 registry errors!

  1. I had heard that this happens with TuneUp Utilities 2010. < See yesterday’s post about the stories I had heard before I ever got around to testing this product. >
  2. I have seen this happen with System Mechanic too, though a 17% resurgence is high. Not good. Not happy. It said it fixed all. I couldn’t have got 46 new registry errors that soon. I hadn’t run anything other than TuneUp Utilities 2010. So this has to be checked.

It still said I did not need my registry compacted. Poppycock. By now, I needed a registry compact. Could NOT get it to compact the registry. I was getting kind of frustrated.

The Tools Are There, But They Are Artfully Hidden

I just could not find a way to do a registry compact (or defrag as some call it).

Then lo and behold I found it. << smile >> You have to get to it from the START button. There are TWO (2) TuneUp Utilities entries in the START button ‘Program’ menu. One is a folder. Click on that. You get another folder called ‘All Functions’. BINGO. All the tools are there.

Lucky I found that. I was actually looking to see if they had provided an UNINSTALL ‘link.’ They hadn’t. Naughty, but neither does System Mechanic. I guess that is a part of their customer retention strategy. make it as difficult to uninstall as possible. They might not like us, BUT they also can’t get us off their PCs.

Anyway … that was bittersweet. I find the tools, when I go looking for UNINSTALL.

I did a registry compact (or ‘defrag’) as they call it. Similar to System Mechanic. Needed a restart. Not the same, but similar narrative as to what was happening during the compact. The TuneUp Utilities messages are slightly more user friendly than the more technical ones generated by SM.

Told me my registry was 7% fragmented. So why the hell did I have to jump through hoops to have it compacted. This aspect needs to be fixed.

Complete Disk Drive Check Done By Windows CHKDSK à la System Mechanic

On this system I asked it to do a full disk check. It scheduled Windows to do it, using the standard ‘DOS’ CHKDSK. This is exactly the same as what System Mechanic does.

So on that score TuneUp Utilities 2010 and System Mechanic 9.5 are on a par.

But by now I had seen a theme. TuneUp Utilities 2010 is an intentionally ‘dumbed down’ product. System Mechanic has seen the light.

TuneUp Utilities 2010 Must Cater For Power Users

I could be wrong, but I get the impression that TuneUp Utilities 2010 is focused entirely at the PC amateur market — i.e., PC users that get disk capacity and memory confused and have never heard of a registry outside of where they go for their shotgun weddings.

Nothing wrong with this. Probably 90% of Windows users fall into this. My 81 year old father falls into that as does my 9 year old daughter. They just want a tool that will do everything automatically to fix their PC and make it faster.

I have nothing against that provided that it does not violate the Hippocratic Oath for PC tools. FIRST, DO NO HARM.

Right now, I am not sure about TuneUp Utilities 2010. My PCs still work but not sure what they did. Oh, their logs need to be more detailed.

But for now, there is only one BIG thing I want. Make it easier to find and invoke the individual tools à la System Mechanic. Put it as an option under MAINTENANCE.

So that is it for now. I will do more testing. Right now I am ambivalent. Not sure whether it is good, bad or indifferent.

Next major test. I will get it to a point where it says NO registry errors. Then I will stick System Mechanic 9.5.5. If SM says it found registry errors …

Good luck. Thanks. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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It had performed quite well for a few days. My confidence and faith in it were slowly being restored.

When I started it up tonight … it downloaded an update. I immediately checked the version number. That had not changed. 9.0.5.

Did a deep analysis. Said Registry had 16 errors. Inspected them. They looked legit. Told it to repair. It finished … THEN HUNG.

When I was in Task Manager to cancel it out, I noticed they do not have a 64-bit version. Just a 32-bit. Hhhmmm.

Not amused.

I did get an inane reply from iolo to my email to them telling them of the Windows 7 problems. In there, though, they asked a telling question: “Does it only hang after you fix the registry?” What are THEY not telling us.

Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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