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Review: Uniblue PowerSuite 2010

18 March 2010, Mike Williams

Uniblue are well known for producing a range of effective PC maintenance tools. You could shop for these individually, but there’s now a better way: Uniblue PowerSuite 2010 brings together three of their most capable utilities, saving you money, and delivering just about everything you need to clean, repair and optimise your PC in a single package.

RegistryBooster

First on the list is RegistryBooster, a straightforward Registry cleaner. The program will scan your Registry at a click, looking for redundant Registry keys, and ranking them with a colour-coded “damage level” so you can immediately see which are most severe. Another click will clear all this junk away, and when you’re finished you can defragment the Registry for a final small performance boost.

The program does have one or two interface quirks. While you can view the individual Registry errors it’s highlighted, for instance, there’s no obvious way to tell RegistryBooster which keys you might want to keep. It turns out you’re able to do this by right-clicking an entry and adding it to an Ignore list, but a more conventional checkbox might have been clearer.

It doesn’t take long to figure out how everything works, though, and once you’ve mastered the basics then RegistryBooster 2010 provides everything you need; accurate scanning, a defragment tool, and repair logs so you can undo any particular cleaning session at a click.

DriverScanner

Faulty device drivers are a major cause of instability, poor performance and many other PC problems. It’s important to keep your drivers up-to-date, then, but doing this yourself requires considerable time and technical knowledge. If you prefer an easier life, then it may be better to leave this aspect of your PCs maintenance to DriverScanner.

The program is extremely easy to use. Just one click and it’ll go to work, checking your installed drivers. These are then compared with DriverScanner’s database of the latest versions, and any found to be out of date are highlighted. If you’d like these updated, then one more click will see the program download and install each of the files for you.

We came across one oddity during testing, where DriverScanner told us that a particular driver needed to be updated, even though we’d just downloaded and installed the latest version. Otherwise the program behaved faultlessly, though, locating, downloading and setting up each of the drivers without requiring any intervention from ourselves.

And so, on balance, we think DriverScanner will be useful for everyone: Windows experts will appreciate how it saves them time, and the less technical will enjoy being able to keep their PC in order without requiring any specialist knowledge.

SpeedUpMyPC

The final component in the suite is SpeedUpMyPC 2010, a tool that comes with a whole bag of tricks designed to improve your PCs performance.

There’s a basic hard drive cleaner, for instance, that will empty the recycle bin, clean your temporary folders, clear browser caches, and more.

The program can recommend a range of system optimisation tweaks. Some of these are fairly basic – disable Windows animations, for instance – but others are much smarter. So, for example, on our test system SpeedUpMyPC recommended disabling 4 unnecessary Windows services and 6 autostart processes, offered to optimise our browsing by tweaking the DNS cache, suggested improvements to our page file organisation, and more.

And the package is completed by three bonus tools. CPU manager monitors your system to ensure that runaway processes can’t grab all your processor power; the proactive thumbnail generator speeds up Explorer browsing by generating thumbnail images in advance; and the software quick-starter claims to speed up the launch of applications that you access from the Start menu.

As often happens with this kind of utility, there’s a lack of fine control over the tweaks on offer. Exactly which 6 startup programs did the program think we could do without, for instance? It didn’t say, and there’s no way to find out, so you’re not able to confirm the tweak is safe before applying it.

The program does back up all the changes it makes, though, so if you did run into a problem then it’s very easy to undo your last tweaks and restore everything to working order. While we’d prefer more information, SpeedUpMyPC is still a quick, easy and uncomplicated way to optimise your PC.

Integration

Uniblue PowerSuite 2010 also includes a front end that displays the current status of each application, and includes a scheduler that lets you set up automated scans. While this looks good, and the scheduler may be useful, we found it consumes more RAM than we’d like for a system tray utility that does little in itself (35MB). A quick change of settings will stop the program loading when Windows starts, though, saving memory, and you’ll still be able to load the individual PowerSuite tools whenever you need them.

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