One of the popular categories of PC software is the type that can perform comprehensive system analysis and repair, probably leading to improved system performance. There are quite a few of these utilities available, both as freeware and as paid commercial products. Many of these utilities have previously been reviewed in this column with comments from readers indicating a general high level of satisfaction with most of them. One of the most popular comprehensive system maintenance utilities is IObit’s Advanced System Care, with over 150 million downloads of its free version (www.iobit.com/advancedsystemcareper.html ).
Recently, IObit released version 6 of its popular Advanced System Care software, available as both a free and a paid “Pro” version. IObit states this software will “keep your PC safe, error-free, and running at top speed.” Version 6 has a new front-end interface, and several new features; it continues to offer system analysis and performance enhancements that can easily be implemented by users of all skill levels, from novice to advanced. While beginners can use the “Smart Scan” mode to perform a satisfactory system performance scan, advanced users can find a wealth of individual utilities in the “Toolkit” option. One of the most useful tools to improve PC performance is IObit’s Startup Manager,” used to control which programs are loaded when the system boots; by eliminating unnecessary programs at boot, the computer boots faster, and overall system performance is improved as more system resources become available.
With more than 150 million copies of the earlier versions of Advanced System Care (ASC) downloaded over the past eight years, IObit has been active in continuously adding new features to the product. Version 6 continues that evolution. The first improvement is a visual one, with a clean interface that opens to a large “Smart Scan” button, which commences a comprehensive series of system scans all intended to improve system performance.
Many of the contemporary Web-based security threats are spread from purloined websites that might have themselves been hijacked and infected by a miscreant or intentionally posted as a source of malware acting as bait, just waiting for unsuspecting Web surfer to be caught and infected with malware when the contaminated Web site is opened. Advanced System Care 6 now includes Web surfing protection that can detect many of the risky websites and other online threats that can jeopardize the safety and security of the user’s computer. ASC6 also protects the user’s privacy while surfing the Web. ASC6 also contains an integral tool that can boost Internet throughput by tweaking the settings on the computer to allow webpages and other Internet content to load faster and more efficiently, taking better advantage of the speed that the user is paying for. While I cannot independently verify the claim, the IObit website claims that ASC6’s Internet boost functions can improve performance such that webpages and other online content can load up to 300 percent faster. In order to clean a computer of malware and keep it clean, ASC6 also includes a malware scanner and removal function that’s frequently updated and capable of detecting and neutralizing most common varieties of malware.
Typical users of these performance enhancement utilities are seeking faster, more smoothly operating computers, and Advanced System Care might be the most popular integrated utility for that purpose. ASC6 integrates a series of utilities that provide these performance improvements, including a new performance monitoring technology for comprehensive and efficient system optimization that can be performed in real-time. While some PC users sincerely believe disk defragmentation is unnecessary, ASC6 incorporates a “ New Generation Super Engine for Disk Defragment” that can scan the hard drive for fragmentation and reorder or otherwise optimize file placement on the hard drive in order to minimize seek times, making programs load faster as the hard drive does not have to work as hard finding fragments of needed files.
As more people use system-intensive utilities for a variety of tasks or are involved with sophisticated online gaming, the efficient operation of the computer becomes more necessary. Advances System Care 6 has a “Turbo Boost Function” that manages memory, low priority running tasks, and other resources in order to improve the performance of the more demanding tasks being used.
For those who desire to attempt to improve performance and reliability by cleaning the registry, Advanced System Care 6 offers “Enhanced Registry Fix and Vulnerability Scanning Technology.” In the event that the user is not satisfied with the “cleaned and repaired” registry, ASC6 is smart enough to save a backup of any registry items deleted or modified during the process, allowing for their instant restoration.
Advanced System Care 6 (both Free and Pro versions) are available as a 19 mb download from IObit or its download partners such as cNet’s download.com. ASC6 works well on all versions of Windows from XP to the newly released Windows 8.
For those who want an even more powerful system enhancement and protection utility, IObit is about to release a new product, Advanced SystemCare Ultimate, which includes all of the features and functionality of the more traditional Advanced System Care but adds comprehensive real-time virus and malware protection by incorporating a “Dual Engine” concept that combines the well respected and highly rated BitDefender anti-virus engine with IObit’s proven anti-malware engine. This combination also protects against phishing (identity theft), as well as spyware and other forms of malware and viruses.
The free version of Advanced System Care is among the utilities that I recommend the most when asked about improving system performance. For less than $15 for a one-year license, many users may find the increased functionality of the Pro version worthwhile. The upcoming Ultimate version might be interesting as well, but I have no insight on its pricing. IObit has some very good free and paid utilities (iobit.com) that users may find interesting.