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Helpware: System Mechanic cures whatever ails your PC

I’m old enough to remember seeing carnival salesmen pitch elixirs that promised to cure every malady known to man — except perhaps ennui.

So, I was suspicious of the claims the folks who produce System Mechanic proffered. Iolo’s software promised to clean clutter from my hard drive, boost my Internet surfing speed, trim unneeded entries in the Window’s registry, help me determine which startup programs I needed and more. Much more.

Now in its 15th version (actually version 15.5), whatever System Mechanic promises, it delivers. Consider it an elixir for your Windows PC.

I had 20 gigabytes of clutter on my hard drive. My registry was loaded with entries left over from software I had deleted. Those entries were slowing boot-up time, not to mention making my hard drive creep. In case malware had infected my PC, System Mechanic promised to ferret it out and get rid of it. Unfortunately, though, it considered downloads as part of the clutter. I needed some of those downloads.

I couldn’t tell if System Mechanic boosted my Internet speed because I’m getting well over 200 megabits now, courtesy of Time Warner Cable (and a dent in my wallet). But getting rid of useless startup programs had a noticeable effect on how fast my PC booted up — the fewer unnecessary startup programs, the less your PC has to struggle to get to your desktop. System Mechanic works in the background — if you let it — to defragment your registry, hard drive and memory. In this latest version, you can turn off all data sharing between your computer and Microsoft. That alone is worth the price, which is $40. A Pro version costs $55, and has a powerful hard drive scrubber and data recovery feature for accidentally erased files.

The interface is simple and intuitive. I don’t have the latest version of Norton Utilities, so I can’t make an apples-to-apples comparison. In the past, I’ve used both programs. Norton is a bit flashier, but both programs accomplish the same things: keeping your PC running smoothly and efficiently.



Harold Glicken is a retired newspaper editor. He can be reached at .


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