Product Reviews

Iolo System Mechanic


CCleaner might be the biggest name in PC maintenance, but it’s not the only tool that promises to clean up unnecessary files and give your machine a performance boost. 

Iolo System Mechanic optimizes your PC by clearing clutter from your hard drive, carrying out basic repairs, cleaning up the registry and carrying out general maintenance tasks on a predetermined schedule.

In addition to the usual disk cleaners, this program can also adjust which programs run at startup, and includes a tool to monitor the changes made to your system when you install new software. This means software can be thoroughly uninstalled afterwards, and any changes made to your system can be reversed.

Its scanner isn’t the fastest around, but it’s a thorough tool that can make a real difference to your PC’s performance.

User experience

If you’ve never used a system cleaner before, you might find System Mechanic less intimidating then CCleaner. It doesn’t offer such an overwhelming array of checkboxes, and it starts scanning automatically without you having to spend time configuring it.

Unfortunately this simplicity comes at the expense of some transparency – temporary files, cookies and broken registry entries are all flagged as ‘issues’, and even selecting ‘View details in wizard’ doesn’t offer as much information and guidance as you get with CCleaner.

Your PC will also be given a ranking – our test machine was branded ‘Critical’, which might cause first-time users to panic. Allowing Iolo System Mechanic to resolve the identified issues (a process accompanied by a nice little cardiograph animation) upgraded its status to Good, though the software also recommended several additional optimizations that required a premium license. The additional options along the left-hand side (Toolbox, ActiveCare, LiveBoost and Security) are also unavailable to users of the free app.

Iolo System Mechanic is a convenient way to clear up temporary files and broken registry entries without delving into Windows’ own maintenance tools, but CCleaner remains our go-to optimzation tool thanks to its transparency, ease of customization, and greater selection of tools.

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