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Posts Tagged ‘TuneUp Utilities 2010’

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
www.guruge.com

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Windows 7 does include this ‘System Maintenance’ tool.

Microsoft has done a very nice job burying it deep within the CONTROL PANEL so that most will never find it. Maybe that is a good thing.

If you want to try it, you have to invoke the CONTROL PANEL ‘All Items’ display option. Read this post. It shows you what to do.

The ‘troubleshooting’ option is in the 2nd row from the bottom, two-in (from the left) — above the highlighted ‘Windows Defender.’

Try it. I have; a few times. Does seem to do anything. I am not sure whether there is any real code behind it! It could, at least for now, be a ‘place holder.’

Given my experience with TuneUp Utilities 2010, I had thought that MAYBE Windows 7 might find some broken shortcuts — given that I have not run ANY PC tools on this Windows 7 rig in 5 days, now that I uninstalled System Mechanic 9.5.5 on January 22. But, nothing. Tells me that my system is FINE.

Well, tomorrow, with luck, I will install some Auslogics’ tools on this system. Please keep your toes crossed for me.

Good luck. Thanks & 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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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, à 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
www.guruge.com

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Continuation of my evaluation of TuneUp Utilities 2010 versus System Mechanic 9.5.5 that I started on Jan. 15. If you want to read the whole evaluation saga, blow-by-blow, twist-by-twist here is the Jan. 15 first post and the Jan. 16 second post.

On Friday night I ran TuneUp Utilties’ 1-click maintenance three times in a row until it told me that there were NO PROBLEMS on my PC. I had also done a registry compact using TuneUp Utilities and had the C-disk checked, thoroughly, by Windows.

To keep this as pithy as possible, I will try it in bullet form, each bullet dealing, chronologically, with the sequence of events:

  • Just to make sure that TuneUp Utilities was ‘A-OK’ with the PC I ran it again. Now, I had shut-down that PC after I had previously run TuneUp Utilities. So all I had done in between the two invocations of TuneUp Utilities was to shut-down and then power-up this PC. TuneUp Utilities said it found 4 broken shortcuts! Strange. It had fixed 2x the first time around the day before. Where did these 4 come from? Checked? All to do with Office applications. Strange. Hadn’t run Office on that machine in a week. So where did these come from. Does TuneUp Utilities do an incremental search; i.e., not a full scan each time? I know System Mechanic has a deep-scan for broken shortcuts. Well, I was not amused or too impressed. So here was I running TuneUp Utilities 2010 for the 4th time and it is now finding new problems … WHEN I haven’t done anything else on this machine. Hhhhmmmmm.

  • I fired up System Mechanic 9.5.5. [I had to update. This PC which had not been powered up for a ‘week’ was at 9.5.3. Install was clean and trouble free.] It found 8 problems; 176 registry errors. Sacré Bloody bleu! 176 registry errors. TuneUp Utilities 2010, first time around, said it found and fixed 265 registry errors. That was 3 invocations ago. The last two times TuneUp Utilities 2010 said I had NO registry errors. Now System Mechanic is saying I have 176 registry errors. << John 11:35 from the Bible. >> I checked. Looked like the usual litany of registry errors that System Mechanic picks up. Yes, I was expecting this. Yes, I had heard of this. But, who is right?

  • The Windows Registry isn’t ‘American Idol.’ There can’t be shades of gray. We either have invalid entries or not. I don’t think it can be subjective. If you have a registry entry that is pointing at something that no longer exists … that is an error.
    This is not right. Wish I was MORE motivated with this stuff. Way back, in the 1970s, before PCs came to be and before I became “Mr. SNA,” I was, for a couple of years, a VTOC guru — IBM disk Volume Table of Contents (VTOC). I would read VTOCs, in hex, like others read the Old Testament. So yes, I could, if I was interested dive in and start reading the damn Registry and see who is pulling my middle leg … is it TuneUp Utilitites 2010 or System Mechanic 9.5.5. I don’t think, and I could be wrong, that they can BOTH be right. But, I am not really motivated. This coming week I have to do some serious work on a Network Monitor for a client. That will be enough technology to keep me going.

  • I don’t know. But I do know that in the seven years (or more) that I have used System Mechanic … it has never screwed me. Yes, with Windows 7 it hung; it hung more than once. But, it never screwed anything up. In contrast, Avast, with its ‘false positive,‘ on December 3, 2009, did screw me (and I have had prior ‘false positives’ with them though none were as debilitating as the last). Adobe Acrobat has taken years off my life. Thanks to Microsoft I am dependent on red wine. But, System Mechanic. Ah! As far as I KNOW, and I could be wrong, it has done me or my PCs no (major) harm. As with my gas permeable contact lenses, ‘experts’ who get to see my PCs invariably comment as to how well they appear to be looked after. Yes, I nurse all my PCs. And System Mechanic has been my primary tool in doing that for 6-7 years. So I can’t just stop believing System Mechanic. So I am in a quandary.

  • The glutton for punishment that I am, I then ran TuneUp Utilities 2010 again. Four (4) registry errors. That didn’t seem too bad. I checked. All four entries started with ‘SM’ — System Mechanic. I can buy that. SM creates some duff entries. Yep, I can buy that. But, just 4. But, we are neither here nor there. Did System Mechanic find and fix 176 errors? Or, is it that TuneUp Utilities doesn’t check for the same types of registry errors.

Bottom line, I am still not sure about TuneUp Utilities 2010. For the time being, System Mechanic 9.5.5 will prevail per the age old adage, the ‘Devil You Know.’ Maybe the person who asked me to review TuneUp Utilities 2010 (and she is probably regretting this request already) may help me get to the bottom of this. But, for now lets us just say that I am very confused. Not amused. If any of you reading this can shed some light … PLEASE do. I need all the help I can.

Good luck. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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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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I am trying to find out.

I have never really used TuneUp Utilities though I kept on hearing about it in the last few months vis-à-vis tools for tuning up PCs running Windows 7. Yesterday I got an email from the TuneUp Utilities folks (actually their PR firm) asking whether I would check out TuneUp Utilities 2007. With six PCs running Windows in the house it wasn’t a bad idea to check out a new tool, especially since the System Mechanic license on my daughter’s XP system is ready to expire next month.

Now, remember I do not use System Mechanic Pro. I only use System Mechanic; i.e., I do not rely on System Mechanic for anti-virus or spyware protection. I use Avast! 4.8 Professional on my systems (despite the hiccups), while the other PCs have various flavors of AVG. [My wife prefers AVG to Avast. What can I say?] So in my case TuneUp Utilities could be a viable alternative — given that TuneUp Utilities, true to its name, only does system tune-up functions and stays away from the anti-virus stuff.

I downloaded and tried it a few minutes ago on my 9 year old daughters XP SP3 system. That system is old and needs all the help it can. So in a way it was a good system to start on. [There was NO WAY I was trying it on this my production Windows 7 machine until I had a good handle on it … running on a couple of ‘non-critical’ machines.]

The install was quick and painless. I am still not used to it. I tried the new Turbo option. Clicked around a bit before I found the 1-click optimization. Tried it. Told me that it found and fixed 430 registry errors. Hhhmmm. Hhhmmmm! I have System Mechanic on that PC and I had cleaned it out, myself, just two weeks ago. Find it hard to believe that there could have been 430 new registry errors in two weeks … on a system that is not that heavily used … and used mainly for Web browsing. I will have to see. Yes, I have heard folks tell me that TuneUp Utilities finds registry errors ‘missed’ by System Mechanic.

The Two-Step Tango Of The Tune-Ups, One Step Forward, One Step Back and Shake Your Head In Wonder

You can already see it coming. Yes, I fired up System Mechanic … which was now at 9.5.5. 65 registry errors for a start.

I knew that that was coming. I had heard stories about System Mechanic and TuneUp Utilities never being able to agree when a registry was fixed. People tell me a lot of stories like this.

I decided to start with a level playing field. I restarted … since a lot had happened.

Then, this is what we did:

  1. I ran TuneUp Utilities. It said 16 registry errors. OK. I see that with System Mechanic. Windows itself creates invalid entries. So I was cool. I looked at the supposed errors. TuneUp Utilities, as far as I can work out at present, doesn’t show me the complete string as does SM. So, I was a bit at sea. With SM I kind of know the ‘strings’ and what to expect.

  2. Did 1-click Maintenance using TuneUp Utilities and told it to fix everything. Fixed the registry. Said it wanted to check the C-drive. Said OK. A bit confused. It showed a DEFRAG type graphic though it wasn’t doing a defrag. It was just checking the drive. But, I can live with that. It was kind of 1960s psychedelic and I am a product of the 60s. When it finished it said, drive was fine. Which is what I had expected. I had really cleaned out and optimized this system for my daughter on Dec. 30.

  3. Ran TuneUp Utilities and 1-click Maintenance AGAIN. Came back and said NO PROBLEMS. Bingo.

  4. Guess what. I ran System Mechanic 9.5.5 Deep Analysis. The suspense must be killing you. Sorry. System Mechanic told me that my PC was in Poor Health. I am glad it didn’t tell me to take it to the nearest PC doctor. Eight (8) problems. Yes, the C-disk was fragmented. I had the inescapable SM clutter. My C-drive had a fault! And I had 76 errors. Not Funny. It is the registry errors that bug me. I don’t put much stock in System Mechanic’s reporting of disk fragmentation — any more. I think they are using the old metric. They have also given me too many ‘false positives‘ on disk errors — though that was pre 9.5.3 with Windows 7.

It was like watching MSNBC and switching over the Fox News (which on my cable are on adjacent channels). Same news story different numbers. But at least when it comes to MSNBC vs. Fox News I know which numbers I would trust.

Next step. Going to install TuneUp Utilities 2010 on my latest (refurbished) XP. That is nice machine. Fast. Clean and I have a fully-paid up System Mechanic 9.3.3. [I haven’t powered it up THIS YEAR.] So stay tuned. I will get to the bottom of this.

So as Churchill used to say to FDR, I have no choice but to ‘KBO’. Good luck.

Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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