Iolo System Mechanic 9 - PC

System Mechanic has long been a favourite in the speedup and optimisation software market and the new version 9 promises to offer smarter, faster and deeper tuning with the benefit of new research into tune-up standards.

Perhaps the most notable additions are that of Tune-up Definitions, which allows System Mechanic to update the software remotely and EnergyBooster, which can turn off background programs and services that are not being used to free up memory and CPU resources.

In truth though, many of the improvements or ‘new features’ found in this version focus more on collecting together and streamlining the existing tools rather than offering any radical new functionality. This is reflected by the main interface, which reports the current status of a system using ‘overall’, ‘health’ and ‘security’ gauges from the most recent analysis. These can be corrected using a one-click solution or the specifics of the problem can be viewed in order to select a custom solution or find out more. This makes it quick and easy to shore up a PC for those who aren’t bothered about the nitty-gritty of why things aren’t working as they should, but of course a range of individual components are still accessible for greater control.

These are collected in the Toolbox as all-in-one tools to speed up, repair, clean up and address security issues and it’s still possible to select from over 40 individual tools within similar categories to run manually, so there is a nice degree of flexibility here.

As well as manual selection the ActiveCare module makes it possible to set up live monitoring of a range of problem areas to clear system clutter, tidy up the registry, repair and defragment drives and more, offering peace of mind that the software is working effectively in the background to keep a system in good condition.

Finally, a range of reports are available that show the current status of various areas with the option to optimise each, and full roll-back is available for any changes made through the SafetyNet tool.

System Mechanic is generally very effective at what it does and makes it easy to analyse and optimise various areas of a system with a minimum of fuss. We did notice a distinct impact on performance while processes are running so those with slower PCs will want to keep automated tasks to a minimum. Aside from more intensive jobs like defragmenting drives however, it rarely takes more than a few minutes to correct issues and return a machine back to normal operation. One other frustration is that corrections often require restarts and while this can be delayed, can become an unwanted interruption, especially when caused by automatic monitoring.

It’s often difficult to tell exactly how much of an impact on performance a suite like this has on modern PCs, though we did notice a distinctly faster startup and what felt like smoother operation during typical tasks. Whether or not you’ll benefit from a speed increase, the additional cleanup and repair tools are useful enough in their own right and users who like to keep things tidy will find plenty of resources here to help.

Verdict

System Mechanic ticks about all the boxes when it comes to streamlining or correcting problems with a PC and gains extra credit for presenting the wide range of tools available in an accessible and flexible way. It can effectively monitor problem areas automatically and still allows users to target specific issues from the Toolbox, and despite some impact on performance during scans, System Mechanic 9 is an extremely effective solution.