NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, May 2010
Improve PC Performance With TuneUp Utilities 2010
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director;
Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; Radio & TV Show Host
(click to email author)

Many of us seem to be in a perennial battle to improve the performance of our computers, trying to tweak out the last little bits of performance that our machines are capable of. I am always searching for ideas and utilities that can provide that last little bit of performance improvement, and have tried literally dozens of software products that claim to improve performance. While most do work well, there are always a few that do not. Recently, I downloaded a copy of TuneUp Utilities 2010 hoping to squeeze that last bit of speed out of my Windows 7 computer, and it appears to work very well, as advertised!

I went to http://www.tune-up.com and downloaded the free, fully functional 30 day trial. It downloaded quickly, and installed smoothly. The full retail price of the 2010 version is $50, and for those with earlier versions (like me) the upgrade price was $30. Checking my favorite price comparison website, Google's Froogle service (froogle.google.com), showed that the software is currently available from several online retailers at substantial discounts.

After opening the program, I was greeted with four windows marked "Maintain system", "Increase performance", "Fix problems", and "Customize Windows". The "Maintain system" shows a green check marked "Automatic" that by default (settings can be manually changed) will check the computer for problems every three days while the machine is idle. The automatic setting will optimize the system startup and shutdown, defragment the hard drive, remove broken shortcuts, and clean and defragment the registry. There is also an option for a "1-Click Maintenance" that will run the automated maintenance utilities whenever desired by the user.

In order to "Increase performance", TuneUp Utilities 2010 offers a real-time "live optimization", a turbo mode, a hard drive cleaner (removes useless files), configures the system startup for optimal performance, and offers to uninstall unneeded programs. The summary that was displayed indicated that I had four things that still needed to be optimized, which included one recommended Firefox plug-in, and changing two Firefox settings; one visual effect should be turned off in order to improve my video performance. Implementing these recommendations should improve my Internet performance. TuneUp Utilities will automatically implement these recommendations if the user approves of the changes.

Under the heading "Fix problems", only one problem was detected on my computer, and that was the fact that I had not recently checked my hard drive for errors. The software incorporates a "TuneUp Disk Doctor" to detect and repair hard drive errors and related problems, which can be invoked with a mouse click. In addition to checking the hard drive for errors, the software will search for common problems, can restore deleted files, and manage running programs.

Many of us like to customize the way that Windows works and appears to us, rather than accept the program defaults. The "Customize Windows" feature allows the user to control the display, input options, start menu, task bar, network and browsers, email, personal privacy, user logons, clean the memory and cache, maintain the system startup, system security, and many other settings. The user need not be a geek in order to perform these tasks, as the options are clearly explained, and TuneUp Utilities will actually do the real work. Many users are afraid to make system changes, and have a concern that they may do something wrong and ruin their computers; the "Rescue Center", with a life-ring icon, can selectively undo any changes that were made, allowing any changes to be undone.

The four tune up boxes do not contain the only available functions, as there is a pull down menu labeled "More functions" that offers additional tools to the user. The user can get an optimization report, undo changes, check for software updates, show system information, and other functions. For those worried about securely deleting information, there is a TuneUp Shredder which can securely delete files such that they would be very difficult to recover. For those who like to manually tweak the registry, an activity that I do not recommend unless the user is very aware of what he is doing and has backed up the registry prior to modifying it, there is a TuneUp Registry Editor which is much more feature rich than Windows integral "Regedit" registry editor.

While I have no empirical scientific evidence that TuneUp Utilities 2010 has actually improved my performance, I do have the perception that my Windows runs smoother, boots faster, shuts down quicker, and demonstrates better performance. I was happy with the results, and will continue to use the program.

TuneUp Utilities has been a popular utility, with over 10 million registered users since the first version was released in 2003. It runs well on modern versions of Windows starting with XP, and including Vista and the new Windows 7, in both 32 and 64bit builds.

I would suggest that users download the free, fully functional, 30 day trial version of TuneUp Utilities 2010 from http://www.tune-up.com/download, and put it through its paces. If it works as expected, then purchase it. I now have the full version and use it frequently to keep my computer performing up to its capacity.

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