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Ainvo Speed Up 2.4.1.470

An oddly designed optimisation suite with some major problems

by Mike Williams

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
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Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 25 June 2012
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 423
Developer: Ainvo
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Ainvo Speed Up 2.4
An oddly designed optimisation suite with some major problems

Ainvo Speed Up provides a suite of tools which all aim to improve your PC's performance.

The functionality on offer here sounds very impressive, in theory at least. The program can hunt malware; control your Windows startup programs; tweak Windows settings; clean away duplicate and temporary files; wipe application histories, remove invalid shortcuts, defrag your hard drive, and more.

Much of this is spoiled by a poor interface, though. As the program scans for duplicate files, say, we'd expect it to display anything it finds immediately. But not here. Instead you get a defrag-like grid with a dot just moving around, as the scan proceeds (so like a progress bar, but unnecessary as you have one of those already). And even when it finishes the report isn't presented directly; you need to click another button to see it, and yet another to carry out your required action.

The program also displays little sign of real intelligence. The Duplicate Files scanner wanted to remove the BootMgr file for our test PC's backup program, for instance: had we allowed it to go ahead we'd no longer have able to restore backups if Windows stopped booting. And the Startup Analyzer lists your Windows Startup programs but doesn't tell you what's worth keeping, you need to figure that out for yourself.

And elsewhere, everything is just very inconvenient. The program can list all the largest files on your hard drive, for instance: sounds useful if you want to see where your free space has gone. But this displays the files only - you can't delete anything you don't need directly, instead you must click another button to open the folder in Explorer, select the file and delete it manually.

There is a lot of functionality here, and maybe some people will find some of it useful. Wading your way through the junk to find any jewels is a tiring experience, though. And on balance your PC will probably be better off if you never install Ainvo Speed Up at all.

Verdict:

Ainvo Speed Up has an apparently impressive feature list, but its poor interface, lack of configurability, and the way it could trash your system if you're not careful suggests you're better off leaving it alone.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Spektrel Art 1.0.0

Free Full Commercial Software

Spektrel Art is a stand-alone program and Photoshop plugin which transforms digital photos into "magical art that glimmers and gleams with intersecting lines of tapered light".

What does that mean? Essentially it applies a configurable mix of effects, enhancing edges, smoothing backgrounds and emphasizing colours. Take a look at the thumbnail for one example, and the official product page has more.

Spektral Art works much like any similar tool. Open an image, click one of the thumbnails to apply a particular preset, or click a few buttons and drag some sliders to fine-tune the results.

There's surprising scope for variation, too. For example, just switching from the "Light" to "Dark" theme can transform a bright and friendly image into something dark and sinister, at least in some cases (results vary depending on the source image).

Please note, the demo version doesn't allow images to be saved.

SPECIAL OFFER: as we write, the developer is offering Spektral Art for free. The offer expires August 29th. Please note that you must provide your name, address and phone number to receive your free license.

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