Hey gang, Valkor here. With computers – laptops, minis, all-in-ones, full-fledge desktops, Macs even, becoming more and more relevant in our daily lives, we need to do our best to make sure that our devices are up to snuff and as healthy as they can be. That includes giving them a weekly run of anti-virus scans, malware checkups, and a healthy dose of system scans. Sadly there are many a folk out there who STILL to this day don't take fully care of their systems, for if they did then people like "The Geek Squad" wouldn't exist to overcharge you for the simplest of task. Enter the folks at iolo who've impressed Val once before with System Mechanic 10. Now they're back to go another round with the Val-Cave computers with System Mechanic 11. Will they get the green light of pass or will they drop red for fail? Read on!
System Mechanic 11, much like its predecessor, is an all-in-one utility that fine tunes your system, allowing it to perform at its best by repairing your registry, removing clutter, defragging your hard drive and even boosting internet speeds, among other tasks. Those already familiar with System Mechanic will find that this latest version, while it looks similar, offers up a bunch of new features to toy with. And hey, if you're new to the scene, then prepare yourself as iolo is gonna rock your world.
SM 11 is compatible with PCs running windows XP, windows 7, and the upcoming windows 8; the Val computer runs Windows 7 Ultimate with 3GB RAM and 250 SSD. Installation of the software was a breeze and once completed, we're taken to the dashboard where we can access all the system's utilities and a meter, which tells me my PC's condition is "poor" (womp, womp!). I find it odd, since I'm always running some kind of utility to keep my system in tip top condition. But just as in my previous review, I let SM 11 bring me up top speed, first by running a "Deep Analysis Scan" to pinpoint the problems and then doing a "repair all". Once completed, I was in the green, but not completely finished as there are a host of options to choose from to ensure my system stays in peak condition. Let's take a look at just a few features available.
ActiveCare – great for anyone not familiar with toying around the innards of their computer; by clicking on ActiveCare and then Automated Task, you'll let System Mechanic handle all of the optimization and repairs for you.
AcceleWrite – Optimizes your system in real time, behind the scenes by "minimizing the random writing of file data" and thusly speeding up your PC.
SSD Accelerator – This feature "streamlines and optimizes" your SSD to help keep it performing at its best.
Windows 8 Integration – Ready to take Windows to the next level? Well so is iolo and System Mechanic; when you finally make that Win 8 jump, System Mechanic will be there to help keep things flowing smoothly.
Energy Booster – Turn off unwanted services that are constantly running in the background to free up additional RAM, giving you that extra "boost" you might need.
Finally, iolo knows how integral the PC has become to most homes and that the majority own more than one. Unfortunately most pay software has limited licenses, meaning you can only use them on so many computers. However thanks to iolo, System Mechanics comes with a "Whole Home License" meaning you can install System Mechanic on how ever many computers you might own.
I had a few issues with the previous version of System Mechanic, so let's see if iolo has addressed them and more in the TOV Breakdown.
Pound for Pound, System Mechanic 11 does exactly what iolo says, going above and beyond in keeping your system in the best of shape. Performance wise the software runs at a brisk pace and handles each and every task in a timely fashion – even a deep scan is pretty speedy, which was one of my hang ups with ten. Actually it was the defragmentation that scored a negative point with me, because during a deep scan, it's at that point where the software stalls. Thankfully it doesn't happen here. Next up are the number of features available. Now I'm a power user, meaning I know my way around a PC and how to get my grubby mitts on free software to handle the job of keeping my PC up to snuff. System Mechanic 10 is a great piece of software for beginners, but not too great for expert level. However, I have to admit that after toying around with SM 11, even power users will wanna look into it as there are so many features that really dig right into the core, with most being an "enhanced" versions of a previous application. But you might be asking, how well does it work? And the answer: it works like a charm. There is noticeable improvement in not only startup times, but program loading. Mind you I'm running on an SSD, but even that could use a bit of a boost. And thank the matrix it no longer goes from green (good) to orange (fair) or red (poor) days after not scanning and minor usage as in the previous version. That annoyed me to no end! So a simple interface, very easy to use, well improved, and overall a solid hunk of software, makes System Mechanic 11 the one to beat.
Actually there is one "minor" issue. I noticed that System Mechanic and Zone Alarm don't play nice together. Actually it started when I updated SM 11 to 188.8.131.52; when I rebooted and clicked the SM icon… nothing happened. For me, when a piece of software doesn't load, the first step I take is turn off the firewall. And after doing so, SM 11 booted right up. I gave it full privileges in ZA and proceeded to reboot, only to be faced with the same problem. Doh!
So if you're looking to keep your PC performing at its prime or if you have an older PC that just needs a bit of a kick start, then look no further folks you found it, in the form of System Mechanic 11; it has a great interface that's easy to use, a plethora of options that a novice or an expert can appreciate, and produces amazing results; results that make this product worth the cost of purchase. And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving iolo's System Mechanic 11 a 4.5 and it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved.