Posts Tagged ‘System Mechanic’

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.


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I ran Auslogics Registry Defrag last night.

Given that I was foiled the last time around, Liz Cornwall of Auslogics kindly sent me a trial product key … so that I could continue to try this product.

I hadn’t run the Auslogics Registry Cleaner in ‘a week.’

It found 30 errors. Not bad. I checked each and every one of them. They all looked legit. They made sense. Some were references to files that I KNEW I had deleted.

I then ran the Registry Defrag. It sure is quick.

BUT, I do Inot understand the graphic it presents … here is an example I manage to capture using a combination of Prt Scr & Snipper >>

I don’t know what each ‘cell’ is supposed to represent … within an ‘hive.’ I know, since it tells me, that I have two hives. I know this terminology since it is the same that is used by System Mechanic.

See those two (2) little red dots/cells. That is supposed to indicate FRAGMENTED. I always have those two cells in red … per Auslogics.

But last night … it showed another 6-8 more red cells … right at the bottom … followed by a similar number of cells in green … denoting defragmented.

It then said I had some registry fragmentation and that I could get a 1.8% performance improvement … IF I defragged.

Boy, WAS I EXCITED. Finally. At last I was being told I can go beyond 1st base. Boy, WAS I EXCITED. [Did I already say that? Old age. Sorry.]

Like all Registry Defrags … it can only run at system start-up. So we did the usually … schedule registry defrag … RESTART. Exactly the same as System Mechanic.

The defrag screen bore some resemblance to that displayed by System Mechanic … but there isn’t much scope for creativity here.

It scared me by talking about moving some Windows 7 folders.

But, it was fast. Much faster than I remember System Mechanic ever being.

I was glad that my system restarted OK. Fired up FireFox 3.6.2 and checked my email to make sure.

Then being the cynical paranoid that I am … I ran Auslogics Registry Defrag again.

Got those SAME two red cells as FRAGMENTED. So the defrag never fixed that. Maybe those cells are FIXED. I do not know.

I also now realize that there seems to be HUGE amount of space allocated to the Registry … much of it unused. I will have to look into that.

Bottom line … Halleluiah … I finally got Auslogics Registry Defrag to defrag my registry. It didn’t clobber my system … from what I can see. It might not have defragged everything either. I do not know.

I will keep on testing … on YOUR behalf.

Good luck. Cheers.

Anura Guruge

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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

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Had an email from iolo this morning asking me, as preferred customer (sic), to PREVIEW their new, Premium Service.

It is a phone-based support scheme. Curious, as ever, I checked it out. IT AMUSED ME.

For $29.95 somebody purporting to be an iolo rep. (but most likely my 4th cousin in Sri Lanka working for an outsourcing firm) will walk you through a full run of System Mechanic. [It is not clear whether the $29.95 for the one-time call gets you anything other than a 30-day trial of System Mechanic 9.5.5.]

For the $29.95 they also CLAIM to offer an one-time service for … among other things … INSTALLING Windows. That could be a deal, though I am not really sure my 4th cousin knows too much about Windows 7 … other than that he probably has 7 windows in his house in Kotte.

This is OBVIOUSLY not for me.

I am NO LONGER a System Mechanic customer nor fan. [But, I will readily acknowledge that System Mechanic never did me any harm, over a 6-7 year period, when I used it with XP.]

Reading their ‘informecial’ blurb, and I won’t provide the link because I do not in any way appear to be encouraging let alone endorsing this ‘service,’ it sure appears that the ‘Super Tune-Up’ is NOTHING other than a full run through of all the System Mechanic tools — and it amuses me that, quite coyly, iolo does NOT mention anything about virus removal. They know that trouble shooting viruses could be beyond the pay grade of my 4th cousin. They might have to hire my 2nd cousin who comes from a house with 14 windows.

OK. Jokes apart. They are those that need this hand-holding. $29.95 might not be a bad price. I regularly check my local CraigsList to see the types of services being offered around here. Yes, there are a LOT of clowns out there. Yes, there are those that boast that they will set you up with pirated software. Worse still you might end up with an undesirable character in YOUR house, on YOUR PC. Just before Christmas I saw a post in CL by somebody from an adjoining town offering Professional PC Support. The wording and the location made me ‘suspicious.’ I called the cell phone number that was listed. Got v-mail. BINGO.

It was a local ‘doctor’ (I won’t mention his exact specialty because that would NAIL HIM) arrested last February on a very serious RAPE charge. They yanked his license. He can’t practice as a doctor — and more significantly write any more prescriptions. But, he can advertise on CL … to come to YOUR house and work on YOUR PC. Yes, he has not been convicted. He is innocent until proven guilty. But, IF he showed up on your doorstep and you suddenly recognized that you had seen him on TV last year … that would not have been funny. Worse still. He comes. He is a ‘fun’ guy. You let him work on your PC. You let him take it home to really fix it. In June you are watching WMUR (our local TV) and you suddenly see his face on TV … the court case has finally begun. I assume you would not be too amused.

So, compared to hiring somebody unknown from CL, paying $29.95 to have my 4th cousin walk you through System Mechanic might not be a bad deal … plus with the exception of me, all my relatives are mild mannered, very polite, not sarcastic and talk proper (without my heavy accent).

BOTTOM LINE: System Mechanic 9.5.5, TuneUp Utilities 2010 & Auslogics

I DO NOT think System Mechanic 9.5.5 is Windows 7 ready. That is why I uninstalled it.

Based on my ‘limited’ testing, albeit just on XP SP3, I do not think TuneUp Utilities 2010 is an incisive, industrial-strength offering. From what I have seen, and I could be wrong, TuneUp Utilities is a waste of time.

I continue to play with the Auslogics products. I used their Disk Defrag on this Windows 7 machine a couple of hours ago. I will confess that they certainly possess a jen se quoi. They somehow inspire a degree of confidence (which is kind of strange because most Aussies, in person, only seem to signal … let’s party, party, party, till we all pass out … which, in general, is fine with me). More on this later this week. Got to take the kids to Disney on Ice. So, my last thoughts. iolo. Lie Low. Skating on ice. Question is whether it is thin ice.

Good luck. All the best. Cheers.

Anura Guruge

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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

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I totally uninstalled System Mechanic 9.5.5 from my Windows 7 Professional system this afternoon.

Yesterday’s hang by System Mechanic 9.5.5, as I had then stated, was the last straw.

I had been a loyal, always fully paid-up customer of iolo since about 2002 … maybe even earlier. I think I started with System Mechanic 4. Definitely 5.x.

But the hangs I have had with Windows 7 is beyond the pale. So System Mechanic is history. I feel strangely relieved.

So, what am I now going to do? TuneUp Utilities 2010, based on my testing (please see the CATEGORY), is not a viable alternative.

I got thinking. System Mechanic and TuneUp Utilities are overkill for my needs. Though advanced in age, I kind of know my way around computers having worked with them since 1969. I do not need 1-click maintenance. I certainly do not need MEMORY DE-FRGMENTATION. I actually don’t believe that memory de-frag, √† la System Mechanic, does anything … even if you just have 1GB of physical memory. Especially with Virtually Memory, physical memory usage is so dynamic that allocations have to change by the second. So memory de-frag is but a gimmick.

I only need three things: registry cleanup, registry defrag and disk defrag.

So yesterday I started looking. I do lead a sheltered life. Because I have had SM for so long I hadn’t looked around to see what was available. Yes, I had heard of CCleaner but I had never used it.

I learned a lot, very quickly, yesterday. It is a whore’s market when it comes to PC tools. There are tools which are outright SPYWARE. That is one of my biggest concerns about PC tools and anti-virus products. How do YOU know that they are legit?

I read some good stuff about Defraggler. What is amazing is that CCleaner and Defraggler are FREE. That kind of worries me — I am the cynic’s cynic. A professional, hard-nut cynics. Yes, I don’t just look a gift horse in the mouth, I ask a vet to do a X-ray for me.

Anyway, I stumbled upon the Australian auslogics.com. Hhhmmmm. Decent reviews from reputable outfits … not bogus blogs set up by the company itself. Three separate products that appear to meet my bill: Disk Defrag, Registry Cleaner and Registry Defrag. Hhhhmmmm. But, they are free. Hhhhhmmmmm.

I have contacted the company. I want to understand their business model. How do they make money? They claim to provide tools for the likes of Sony and HP. Is that enough? I do not know. But, I am going to try these products. No, not on my production Windows 7 machine. I will start on my backup XP system. So stay tuned. I will keep you posted.

Thanks. Good luck.

Anura Guruge

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My hope that with System Mechanic 9.5.5 (January 8, 2010) we might finally have seen an end to the damn annoying System Mechanic hangs with Windows 7 was dashed today.

System Mechanic 9.5.5 hung, on this Windows 7 machine, after I did a complete Registry Tuneup. That was MY final straw. Damn System Mechanic.

I have suffered System Mechanic hangs since day one of Windows 7. I gritted my teeth and gave them the benefit of the doubt. Check my System Mechanic postings — there is a CATEGORY called ‘System Mechanic.’

This is beyond the pale.

My recommendation right now … if you are on Windows 7 … tread lightly with System Mechanic. If you haven’t bought it as yet, don’t waste your money right now.

That said, I am not sure what you should you instead either.

Per my current finding, I would also NOT recommend TuneUp Utilities 2010. It might not hang, but I am not sure WHAT IT DOES or doesn’t do.

To be honest, I had not used System Mechanic to ‘repair’ anything on this machine for a week or so. I don’t run SM every day any more. After close to 3 months, I have a fairly decent handle on this machine. Most nights, I can fairly accurately guess how many Registry errors SM is going to report. Based on my usage pattern, which is fairly consistent, I get about 20 errors a day. The same culprits.

I don’t have a problem running up 120 Registry errors. I have so much horsepower and memory on this machine that a little tad of Registry inefficiency isn’t going to slow me down. << smile >>

So for the last week, or so, I have just used SM to tell me what is wrong on the machine. But, I wouldn’t let it fix anything.

This morning, I had a bit of a break from the book and exploited that to clean this machine. Then SM 9.5.5 hung.

I actually think I am no longer at 9.5.5! I did get an update this morning. Said it was new definitions. I don’t believe them. I think, at a minimum, I am at 9.5.5a.

Well, we need 9.6. 9.5 is not a dog. 9.5 is a pig, and it doesn’t even have lipstick on its snout to make it a bit for palatable.

By the way, the Network Speed Test is 9.5.5 is WRONG! That is a shame. Used to be very good. Today, for a lark, I tried it a FEW times. It was WAY, WAY off. I used http://www.speedtest.net to check the results. As with Registry errors, I am fairly good at estimating my network speed. This morning I was not a 3.9MBps.

So, bottom line. System Mechanic 9.5.5 is NOT WINDOWS 7 READY. So in reality I am NOT sure what we can use on Windows 7 right now. If you have any suggestions let me know.

Thanks. Good luck. We need it.


Anura Guruge

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