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Review: Uniblue PowerSuite 2011

08 February 2011, Mike Williams

Figuring out how to speed up your PC can be a complex process, requiring plenty of time and expertise. Are your system’s performance problems down to dated drivers, unnecessary software, hard drive clutter, Registry issues – or something else entirely? It’ll probably take considerable effort before you find out.

But maybe there’s a simpler solution. Run Uniblue PowerSuite 2011 and it’ll scan your system for hundreds of speed-sapping problems, then fix them all at a click, helping you to maintain your PCs performance with the absolute minimum of hassle.

The program is essentially a front end for three other Uniblue applications, each of which can also be used individually.

And so your Registry cleaning needs are handled by RegistryBooster 2011, which will quickly scan your Registry for leftover keys and redundant values, and produce a detailed report on the issues it’s found. The interface isn’t quite as intuitive as we’d like – there’s no obvious way to tell the program not to delete a particular key, for instance (it turns out to be a hidden right-click option) – but otherwise it’s a capable tool, with plenty of useful features: an Ignore list, logs that record what the program has done, an easy undo option to reverse recent changes, and a Registry defrag option.

DriverScanner 2011 will then quickly check your PC for outdated drivers.  The program correctly picked up three out-of-date drivers on our test system, downloading the new versions for us, and we were then able to install each of these by clicking on a link. It’s all very straightforward (you don’t even get to see the driver installation programs, everything happens in the background). And DriverScanner even creates restore points at the appropriate times, just so that you can easily restore your previous setup if something goes wrong.

And the final tool on offer here is SpeedUpMyPC 2011, which scans your system for junk files, unnecessary Windows services, poorly configured settings and more, again fixing everything it finds at a click.

As hard drive cleanup tools go, this is definitely rather basic. SpeedUpMyPC 2011 will empty the Recycle Bin and your temporary folders, but that’s about it: most free disk cleaning tools will do considerably more.

The program’s strength relies more on the tweaks it uncovers, though, and there were no less than 42 recommendations for our test PC. These were wide-ranging, too, covering everything from Windows services and background processes to be disabled, to interface tweaks, advanced networking optimisations and a whole lot more.

Some of these suggestions were a little questionable. SpeedUpMyPC still contains the pointless “Disable OS/2 and POSIX subsystems to free up memory and system resources” tweak, for instance, which hasn’t been useful since Windows 2000 (and didn’t have any noticeable effect, even then).

The program also recommended disabling services that you may actually need, like WSearch (the Windows Search indexer), or WMPNetworkSvc (the Windows Media Player network service, used for sharing your libraries over a network). You can protect these by just clearing a check box, but is every user going to realise what “WMPNetworkSvc” actually does? We doubt it.

And other tweaks seemed a little vague. One recommended that we allow the program to “tweak CPU scheduling”, for example: how? Why? Experienced PC users may be frustrated by the lack of detail.

Still, SpeedUpMyPC 2011 did provide us with plenty of solid, reliable tips and tweaks, and if you’re looking for simplicity then it’s hard to beat.

You even get four bonus “speed tools” to further optimise your system. The CPU Manager prevents runaway processes from hogging all your processor time; the Start Menu Software Accelerator and Software Launch Booster improve application startup times; and the Proactive Thumbnail Generator speeds up Explorer navigation by generating in advance any thumbnail images that you might need.

And, as the major new addition to this version of PowerSuite, you can now schedule SpeedUpMyPC, RegistryBooster and DriverScanner to run automatically. The scheduler is a little short on options – you can run a tool daily, weekly, every two weeks or every month, and that’s it (you can’t even define a time) – but again, it does keep things very simple, and makes it even easier to ensure that your PC is always running at peak performance.

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