Computers have changed the way that the world works and plays, so when our machines no longer let us use Word and Netflix with the same speed and efficiency to which we have become accustomed, we often ponder buying new hardware. Fortunately, you can get often that fresh-out-the-box performance without plunking down several hundred dollars, thanks to a relatively inexpensive tool: a PC tune-up utility.
What’s a Tune-Up Utility?
A tune-up utility is an application that digs deep into your computer and fixes trouble areas. It performs several functions, including defragmenting your PC’s hard drive, repairing the incredibly problematic Windows registry, and deleting useless and duplicate files. Some tune-up utilities perform just those basic functions, while more elaborate ones add numerous features that improve your computer in interesting ways.
For example, Iolo System Mechanic 14—our Editors’ Choice for paid tune-up suites—cleaned our gunked-up test bed with its real-time system monitoring and CRUDD Remover. Likewise, SlimWare Utilities SlimCleaner 4—the Editors’ Choice for free tune-up utilities—scores high marks for its effective system cleaning, browser clean-up tools, and community-based system recommendations.
License to (Hard) Drive
Starting prices for tune-up utilities typically grant one license per purchase, which means you’re allowed to install the software on one machine. That’s fine if you own a single computer, but in the age of multi-computer households, the license costs can put a dent in your wallet. To be fair, most companies offer multi-license packages, but they can prove pricey, too.
That’s why you should look for a paid tune-up utility with no installation limitations (like Iolo System Mechanic 14), or a high-quality free tool (like SlimWare Utilities SlimCleaner 4). Both let you clean as many computers as you’d like.