When it comes to optimizing the performance of your computer it is possible to take a very hands-on approach and get involved in editing the registry and checking that you do not have too many startup programs running. But this is not something that everyone has time for or, indeed, the inclination. PC Check and Tuning 2012 is the latest in a series of system maintenance utilities from MAGIX, and it can be used in a quick one-click mode, or you can get more involved if you like.
The one-click mode can be accessed by launching this option from the Start menu, but it is also available in the main program itself. This mode will check for update for drivers and software you have installed as well as performing a variety of optimization tasks such as deleted unnecessary files or removing startup items. The program will also check and optimize the registry as well as checiking whether services you don’t need are running.
But many more advanced users will feel more comfortable being a little more in control of what is going on with their computer, and this is where the relatively self-explanatory ‘Increase performance’, ‘Free up memory’, ‘Performance check’, ‘Configure Windows’, ‘Info – My PC’ and ‘Save power’ sections come into play. Starting with ‘Increase performance’, you are afforded a greater degree of control over the optimization process than if you simply rely on the one-click option. Each of the various optimization components can be run separately, so if you’re just looking for a quick fix you may choose to skip over the defragmentation of your hard drive until you have a little more time available.
The ‘Free up memory’ section deals with hard drive space rather than RAM, and it includes tools that enable you to uninstall programs, delete unnecessary files, securely delete data and wipe your internet history. To enable you to tell how your computer is performing, the ‘Performance check’ section is essentially a series of benchmarks, not entirely dissimilar to the system rating provided by Windows itself. this enables you to not only check how your system compares to other machines, but also to monitor what a difference the tweaks you apply make and see what effect hardware upgrades have.
Moving to the Info – My PC section, it is possible to discover everything you could possibly want or need to know about your computer. This component will give you a breakdown of the hardware you are working with as well as detailing the software you have installed. You can also use this section to monitor running processes, analyse and optimize your running services and keep an eye on how often you have used PC Check and Tuning to tweak your system.
The final section, ‘Save power’, is only likely to be of interest to laptop and netbook users, as it enables you to balance power saving options and performance to achieve the perfect blend of speed and battery life. The suite also has a few hidden extras such as the option to clean up the New sub0menu of the Windows context menu, and the ability to recover files that have been deleted – assuming, of course, that they have not been securely deleted.
MAGIX PC Check and Tuning represents great value for money, but it is something of a shame that some particularly useful tools are hidden away in a menu that many users may never investigate.
Platforms: Windows XP/Vista/7
Requirements: 400MHz CPU, 256MB RAM, 300MB HDD