Keeping your computer up to date and free of errors can be a real pain in the butt. In fact, if you don’t devote a few hours to the purpose every month, it may well be impossible. That’s where an all-in-one system utility comes in handy.
One of the top choices has always been IObit Advanced SystemCare 7, a free program with paid versions that can manage many aspects of your PC. This latest edition is the most comprehensive yet – but can it really handle all computer maintenance needs?
Installation And Setup
The file you download for Advanced SystemCare 7 is the full executable, rather than a download utility for the full program, so setup is straightforward and extremely quick. However, the installer does have two annoying habits. First, it asks to install some additional toolbars during installation, and second, it opens an advertisement for the full version of Advanced SystemCare 7 in a web browser after installation is complete. Neither move is harmful, or even unusual for free software, but both can be an annoyance.
Less annoying is the tutorial that begins when the program is first started. Though it’s not particularly deep, it does provide a good, broad overview of the features available in the software. At the end, you have the choice of two different skins – traditional “Classic” or “Metro,” which is inspired by Windows 8.
A Summary Of Features
IOBit Advanced SystemCare 7 has been around for some time now, as the “7” in the title indicates. Many features have been added over the years, and the latest version is no exception.
Besides a general interface update that throws in the Metro skin and re-arranges some options, the program includes new surfing and homepage protection tools that can guard against malicious websites and help parents lock down content they don’t want their kids to see. There’s also a new duplicate file removal tool, improved disk explorer, and a new feature that lets you remove User Account Control from specific programs.
And that’s just what’s new. There are too many features to list here, but highlights include a registry cleaner, a disk cleaner, an uninstall utility, two types of de-fragmentation utilities, a disk repair utility and even folder encryption. Pay for the ultimate version and you’ll even receive a built-in antivirus. In short, this is a one-stop shop for almost anything you can imagine.
The Scan Button
All of the choices can cause a bit of confusion, even for advanced users. To combat this, IObit simplifies a significant number of the repair utilities into one big, far “scan” button located prominently on the program’s main menu. This button looks for scans for malware, registry errors, junk files, broken shortcuts and several other potential problems.
Embarrassingly, even on my system (which I try to maintain fairly well), the program managed to find a very large number of errors to fix. One of these was a browser toolbar that had somehow lodged itself into Firefox, a problem I’d ignored because I use Chrome. The app also tossed out some junk files and fixed a number of broken shortcuts that I didn’t even know existed.
I was also happy to see that the scan process, though it is extensive, is not slow. In fact, scanning on my computer took less than thirty seconds. It should be noted that I use a solid state drive, so readers who own a computer with a mechanical drive should expect a slower scan time. But, even so, Advanced SystemCare 7’s performance surpasses any system utility I’ve used before.
Opening The Toolbox
While the Scan button is quick and useful, it only manages utilities that can automatically return results. Many other features of Advanced SystemCare 7 require some users input, and that’s where the Toolbox menu comes in.
The number of features accessible here is staggering, and IObit has leveraged many of its utilities to add more functionality to the software. Features like Uninstaller, Protected Folder, and Game Booster are actually separate programs that you could install independently, if you so desired.
This approach helps the program offer its staggering array of features, but it also leads to a somewhat disjointed interface. Features which launch as separate apps usually have an interface that looks different from Advanced SystemCare 7 itself. On the upside, however, it’s possible to pin these sub-programs to your taskbar, a trait some users might prefer.
Functions that are part of the program itself use a fairly basic Windows interface that isn’t attractive, yet easy to use. The options available for each feature are presented in a straightforward manner and easy to understand. Even the most complicated features, like Disk Explorer, do a good job of presenting information and work quickly; scanning my main hard drive only took seconds, which is even quicker than the tool I usually use for the same job (TuneUp Utilities 2011).
IObit’s Advanced SystemCare is an impressive utility that has come a long way over the past few years. What started at a respectable, but not class-leading utility has gradually become one of the best in the business. The program is now so good, it may dislodge me from using what I have for the last two years, which is saying a lot.
Now let’s talk about price. The Free version, which was used for this review, is quite powerful given its lack of price tag. You can scan your system for errors and repair them without paying a cent, and many of the features found in the Toolbox work, as well.
If you plunk down $19.99 for the Pro version, however, you’ll enjoy a number of benefits. The automatic scanning is improved with six added features that don’t run while scanning with the free version, malware protection is beefed up, and the safe-surf parental control features become available. Paying $29.99 for the ultimate version adds more real-time protection features to the anti-malware tools and adds automatic scanning of downloads to proactively block threats. In addition, both paid versions come with free 24/7 technical support.
Have you had a chance to use Advanced SystemCare 7? Let us known your thoughts on it in the comments!