Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

Has your computer been running slow lately? It’s one of those inalienable facts of owning a Windows machine. Eventually, you’ll start to see the speed of your PC degrade to the point where it’s almost indistinguishable from cold molasses.

Or perhaps you’re eager to hang on to your old Windows XP PC 4 Ways To Bulletproof Windows XP Forever 4 Ways To Bulletproof Windows XP Forever Windows XP is slated to be exterminated for good by Microsoft in April of 2014. It is the last stage of a multi-year effort to kill off the operating system. Windows XP is one of... Read More for a bit longer, and want to eek out as much speed as you possibly can? We’d strongly recommend that you consider moving to a more modern version of Windows Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps It's time to say goodbye! Microsoft is ending official support for Windows XP on April 8 2014. Are you at risk? If you are still running this ancient operating system, it's time to upgrade. Read More , but apparently lots of you are still quite wed Long Live Windows XP! [We Ask You Results] Long Live Windows XP! [We Ask You Results] We asked: Do You Agree That Windows XP Needs To Die? Turns out you don't. Read More to Microsoft’s gracefully aging OS Windows XP Lasted Longer Than World Wars I & II Combined Windows XP Lasted Longer Than World Wars I & II Combined Think Microsoft is letting Windows XP die too soon? You're not alone. Many think this is a cash grab. What if I told you Windows XP is the longest supported version of Windows ever? Read More .

In that case, meet Ashampoo’s WinOptimizer 11 ($39.95). This shareware package promises to be “the tuning specialist for your PC”, remedying system errors, freeing disk space and securely and permanently removing private files. Think of it as a janitor for your computer. And guess what? You can get it for free with our rewards program. But, is it worth your hard-earned points? Let’s find out.

Installing Ashampoo WinOptimizer

Ashampoo Winoptimizer 11 runs on Windows XP, Windows 8 and everything in-between. Even Vista. Just download the EXE and double click it.

ashampoo

Fair warning, it tries to flog you other software packages by Ashampoo on a couple of stages of the install process. These ‘nag screens’ are also seen when you run it for the first time.

Ads by Google

ashampoo-reccomendation

Handily, whilst installing WinOptimizer, you can choose the skin that you want to use. You have two options, the first is a rather pleasant, subdued dark theme, whilst the other one is a bit brighter, and looks like a traditional Windows utility.

ashampoo-style

Once you have picked what skin you want and have finally installed WinOptimizer, you will be asked if you want to run regular cleans of your system.

winoptimizer-auto

Using WinOptimizer

In the past, we’ve talked about how overzealous cleaning can break Windows 5 Ways Overzealous Cleaning Can Break Windows 5 Ways Overzealous Cleaning Can Break Windows It's easy to go overboard with cleaning your PC. When you're cleaning your PC, be sure you know what you're getting into -- it's easy to break something. Read More . Indeed, it’s easily done; one registry tweak here, one deleted DLL there, and suddenly, you’re left with a very expensive paperweight and no access to your files.

Thankfully, WinOptimizer is a solid product that promises to perk up your Windows installation, without breaking it. How do I know? I’ve been using it on-and-off for the past week on a wheezy Lenovo laptop from yesteryear. This machine has seen better days. And yet, I found after using it, it became perceptibly less glacial. And… Well? It still works.

On the first run, WinOptimizer will ask you a few configuration questions, including if you’re using a Solid State Drive, and if you would like to automatically remove old backup files. These will fundamentally influence how WinOptimizer works throughout your system.

ashampoo-profile

And then it’s on to optimizing your system! We’ve talked about optimizing your computer for gaming in the past 5 Solid Tweaks to Optimize Your Computer For Gaming 5 Solid Tweaks to Optimize Your Computer For Gaming Read More . It’s not hard, but it’s certainly time consuming. Thankfully, WinOptimiser does a lot of the hard work for you with its Game Booster mode. Just flick a switch, and non-essential services and processes are killed. Done with your game? Flick that switch again, and it’ll go back to its previous state.

ashampoo-gaming-mode

But what about optimizing and cleaning your state? On loading, you’re presented with a menu with three options: clean up, optimize and protect. These aren’t single actions, but rather are collections of utilities that have been grouped based upon their functionality, which are then run in sequence.

ashampoo-actions

But what if you want to take a slightly more surgical approach to optimizing your system? Well, you can do that too, as WinOptimizer grants you access to each of the utilities used in the broader, more thorough scans.

winoptimizer-modules

Need to defragment your machine? No worries. Is your registry looking a bit peaky? WinOptimizer will cure what ails you. Accidentally deleted an important document? Get it back post-haste with the Undeleter utility.

winoptimizer-registry

There are some utilities that aren’t really about system optimization, yet are included in WinOptimizer. These include File Splitter and Joiner, which allows you to (ironically enough) fragment a file into multiple, smaller files which can then be e-mailed, or shared on mediums where it’s not possible to send large files.

ashampoo-split

There’s also an encryption and decryption utility, although I’d recommend you use a specialized encryption utility Keybase Wants To Bring Encryption To The Masses. Here's How. Keybase Wants To Bring Encryption To The Masses. Here's How. Read More , such as GPG or KeyBase.

ashampoo-encrypt

Whilst handy to have, these (slightly gimmicky) tools aren’t anything to write home about. The real value is found in the core utilities of WinOptimizer.

Convinced?

So, how do you get your hands on Ashampoo WinOptimizer 11? Well, first you have to sign up for MakeUseOf’s rewards program. Then you need to build up some points! Once you have enough, you can cash them in for a copy. Simple enough, right?

But should you? Admittedly, there’s some chaff amongst the wheat in WinOptimizer. Furthermore, a lot of the functionality of WinOptimizer is found within the core Windows utilities, or in other third-party applications such as the venerable CCleaner Optimize Your System To Run At Its Best With CCleaner Optimize Your System To Run At Its Best With CCleaner Over the last two years, CCleaner has changed quite a bit in terms of version numbers...up now to version 3.10 at the time of this writing. While visually the program actually hasn't changed much (it's... Read More . Despite that, I found that using it noticeably sped up my system that (admittedly) was on its last legs.

But what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you scored yourself a copy? Thinking of getting one? Are you a die-hard user? Drop me a comment below, and tell me all about it.

  1. Mark Twain
    June 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I can't get past the poor writing to focus on what the writer is actually going on about.

  2. Bob
    June 15, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    How does it stack up against "Glary Utilities" ? I have been using Glary Utilities and it seems to be doing quite a good job. And while I am at it keep up the good work with "Make Use Of" I look forward each day to see what new information has come out that I can make good use of. " Make Use Of" is killer.

    • Matthew H
      June 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      I don't know, sorry!

  3. bn
    June 15, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Man, this guy really worked his rear-off for his free copy...illustrations, tension-full opinion, refined/repetitive instruction, rhetorical questions to any potential readers, etc.

    ...you should get two free keys for this effort.

    • Matthew H
      June 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      And a pony.

  4. tommy
    June 15, 2014 at 10:26 am

    The main reason why computers get slower over time is that ever more resources are used by firewall and virus scanner. If you are still on xp: install a linux tryout in parallel and enjoy a huge performance increase ad well as a more safe internet environment.

  5. ReadandShare
    June 15, 2014 at 12:01 am

    You guys keep "pushing" software optimizers -- and then you guys tell us they either don't work or aren't even necessary. Which is it? :)

    • Matthew H
      June 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Optimisers aren't a homogenous bunch. Some are better than others.

  6. Jeff Mortenson
    June 14, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    How does it stack up to Wise Care?

    • Burl H
      June 14, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      My choice would be Wise Care, I have been using the Pro version for quite awhile and love it, but it's a personal preference more than anything. This one reminds me of Glary Utilities, an AIO that does everything, but nothing exceptionally well. Ashampoo's penchant for spamming you with other product deals is a killer for me everytime.

    • Matthew H
      June 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      I don't know, sorry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *