iolo System Mechanic is PC program which automatically fixes errors, optimizes performance, and helps keep your computer up-to-date.
It is targeted at both advanced and normal computer users, although we felt some of the features a little too “beginner-friendly”.
iolo uses a subscription service which costs $50 for the program and first year of service and $30 for each following year. Sometimes, they offer discounts on their website. They also offer multi-year plans and plans for all computers in your house to save you some money.
The subscription service is only required to keep “Tune-up” definitions up-to-date and the program will still function without it. Depending on your budget, you could even purchase the subscription every-other-year and still keep your computer is decent shape.
The subscription service also gives you product updates including major version updates like the recent move from System Mechanic 10 to System Mechanic 11.
What We Think
iolo was generous enough to provide us with a review copy of System Mechanic for us to play around with. We spent six hours doing almost every optimization, test, and waiting. Lots and lots of waiting…
We also did our own tests too to see how performance would improve. More information on our tests below.
Beginner-friendly: System Mechanic 11 is very beginner-friendly. You can literally install the program, press a couple buttons, wait for System Mechanic to do its thing, and enjoy improved performance without ever opening the program again. Although, running it every few weeks would help keep your computer running smoothly.
Optimizing windows startup: Our favourite feature was the Windows start-up programs optimizer. The amount of information listed under each program would amount to hours and hours of endless Google searches, plus you would need to know how to disable start-up programs (tip: msconfig is a good place to look). System Mechanic 11 gave us the information we needed to see if a program really needed to ‘start-up’ with the computer. There were a ton of Internet Explorer plugins in there by the way! (Does anyone still use Internet Explorer?)
Driver-updater: Included in System Mechanic 11 is a program to automatically check for new driver updates for your computer hard drive. Very cool feature!
Tons of included programs/optimizers: There are literally around 50 or more programs and optimizers included in System Mechanic 11 that do all sorts of things. They are too many to list here but you can check out the full list on iolo’s website.
Lack of information: A lot of times we simply did not know what the program was going to do. Sure you are going to “Fix Errors” but can you let me know what exactly you are going to be doing to my computer? We felt the lack of information for advanced users to be severely lacking and at times harmful.
The waiting: There was a lot and a lot of waiting. Sure, our computer is an old piece of junk. Sure, it is not iolo’s fault since any program we use would have similar wait times. But still, of our six hours playing around with the program, half an hour was spent actually playing with the program, half an hour was spent on tests, and five hours were spent waiting. The main culprit was the hard drive error checking/fixing which used the Windows program CHKDSK.
Messing with the registry: We have used many computer-optimizer programs here at the office. Every time we try one of these ‘registry optimizers’ our entire computer blows-up. Okay, that may be a little exaggeration but we highly recommend not using these all-in-one registry optimizers as they are usually more trouble than they are worth. We did not like how this program was included in System Mechanic 11 and we especially did not approve of how the default setting for new uses has this program automatically making changes to the registry.
Performance meter thing: We felt the performance speedometer thing to be a little artificial. It would always seem to say our computer was in ‘fair’ shape unless we just competed a full optimization. Restarting the computer or using the Internet for 30 minutes would reset our rating to ‘fair’ due to normal temporary files created from these activities.
Subscription service: We are not big fans of subscription services. Like many people we would prefer a more-expensive product without a subscription. We already have enough bills!
We did quite a bit of very non-scientific testing to see how much our computer would improve after using System Mechanic 11.
Memory usage: Our memory usage went down substantially. So much so that we can actually feel programs starting-up faster when we click on them. The music player on this computer (Songbird) is a memory-intestine program. Songbird is still is just a memory intensive, but at least it does not slow down the computer as much.
Start-up time: Surprisingly, our start-up time actually increased after using System Mechanic. It increased by a full 30.2% averaged over five trails (five before and five after). We are unsure why as we now have less start-up programs. Our best guess is that it is due to System Mechanic deleting some of our temporary system files. If that is the case, we predict this small delay in start-up time will decrease a lot over time.
iolo’s System Mechanic 11 is a great all-in-one optimizer program. We highly recommend System Mechanic for normal, daily computer users who are not going to know how to optimize their computers on their own.
Advanced users may need to consider their options. System Mechanic’s sometimes lack of advanced information is a huge negative and will frustrate many advanced users. However, the benefit of the information shown in the start-up program optimizer and in a few other key locations, makes up for the difference and saves countless hours that would be spent researching. When shown, the information given by System Mechanic is a godsend.
The subscription service can be a little annoying but the value you get out of it is worth it. If you are on a budget, consider subscribing every other year or purchasing multiple years at once.
If you would like more inforamtion or are already sold, go visit iolo’s website.
We previous did a review of System Mechanic 10, which is worth checking out: Tips For Cleaning Out Your Computer (And Making It Faster) [Windows]