iolo System Mechanic review
When it seems that your PC runs slowly or key/mouse response is delayed, it is often a software-related issue that can be easily solved. One way is to use Windows system maintenance tools if you have time and skills, the alternative is various optimization tools. Those do the job getting rid of obsolete apps, bad registry entries, system errors etc. System Mechanic is a set of PC system utilities, also known as PC optimization software, that helps manage and maintain devices in good shape.
Both versions, free and Pro, are available in 10 languages (including French, Dutch, German) for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. However, when installing, the program does not suggest to choose the language, so it has to be done later in Settings. The suite was released by ioLo Technologies, a US-based company with 20 years market presence. There are three editions of System Mechanic:
- Whole Home License: for use on all home PCs, it costs $39.96 annually.
- System Mechanic Pro: the so called ultimate package for $55.96, as of March 2019.
- System Mechanic Business: it costs $47.40 annually and is optimized for small teams/networks.
You can try all three editions for free - full-functionality trial lasts 60 days for Pro and 30 days for Business. Despite some confusion about free trial for standard edition, you will find Pro trial in the Downloads section. So before we move on to review, a brief summary of what System Mechanic is about.
|Version||Platforms||Installer||Pricing||Scheduler||App tray||Monitor tools||Optimization tools||Boost tools||Recovery tools|
|Standard||Win 7, 8, 8.1, 10||34 Mb||$40/year||✔️||No||✔️||✔️||✔️||No|
|Pro||Win 7, 8, 8.1, 10||99 Mb||$56/year||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
Installation & Interface
For review we took the Pro version, downloaded from the official website, so this could be perceived as iolo System Mechanic Pro review. This is the most complete and effective package. It repairs issues, boosts PC speed, as well as cleans, protects and secures to speak generally. Additionally, it blocks malware and bloatware, it could recover lost data.
We should mention right away that System Mechanic might not be good friends with antivirus or antimalware program. In our case, System Mechanic Professional edition refused to proceed with installation until we had turned off Avast antivirus. Then, the process is typical: enter email address and get an activation key... no additional software, no other difficulties.
When you run the optimizer for the first time, you are prompted to analyze the system. On the left, there is a menu with the following entries: Dashboard, Issues, Toolbox, ActiveCare, LiveBoost, Internet Security, Reports. Dashboard tab contains Overview and Issues sections, and Overview is where you choose system analysis type - deep or quick. Service Status indicates trial time left in a free version, or available upgrades to install in Pro.
Issues tab is pretty self-explanatory. Toolbox contains 6 more sub-tabs: All-in-one (multiple functions arranged via wizards), Clean, Speed up, Protect, Recover, Manage. Each of them contains a set of proper tools for corresponding purpose. Active Care serves to configure automatic optimization, repair and maintenance of PC. RAMJet maximizes available memory, modes in PowerSence help to boost performance depending on what apps are running, and so on.
Internet security tab allows to adjust anti-malware features, enable/disable System Mechanic monitoring, as well as setting up firewall. Reports tab contain info on issues, energy efficiency, system reliability and PC status. Overall, interface is convenient, features are laid out logically and easy to find. We did not encounter any advertisements, pop-ups etc., unlike in many other products. Regarding negative aspects, it is somewhat confusing when upon pressing a button we just get info-tips instead of action - it would be probably nicer to organize/display this in some other way.
Now let’s discuss the central point of System Mechanic: functionality, what is there to optimize PC work and how it actually works. There are several areas. Active system tune-up includes optimization, repair and security tools. These are actions to optimize PC startup, registry, configure Internet connection, system drive, detect and fix errors/broken shortcuts, etc. Security actions include detecting vulnerabilities, backing up registry every 14 days, disabling Windows 10 telemetry, wiping all data from a drive and permanently remove files. Below is the summary.
|Optimize startup configuration||No||✔️|
|Optimize Internet configuration||No||✔️|
|Optimize system drive||No||✔️|
|Defragment and compact registry||No||✔️|
|Repair WMI conflicts||No||✔️|
|Repair registry problems||No||✔️|
|Repair broken shortcuts||No||✔️|
|Repair broken Internet connection||No||✔️|
|Repair security vulnerabilities||No||✔️|
|Back up registry every 14 days||No||✔️|
|Disable Wi-Fi Sense Services||No||✔️|
|Turn off Windows 10 telemetry||No||✔️|
|Clean up system clutter||No||✔️|
|Download and install updated Tune-up definitions||No||✔️|
Next up, is active system monitoring section. Basically, it constantly monitors CPU use, speed, responsiveness, Internet speed, startup and running programs.
To improve performance, System Mechanic offers tools like Speed boost (hard drives, CPU, RAM), NetBooster (Internet settings), Program Accelerator (re-aligns programs on hard drive), SSD Accelerator (maximizes solid-state drive speed), Registry Compactor (defragments and compacts the registry).
|System state active monitoring||Free||Pro|
|Drive fragmentation prevention||No||✔️|
Cleaning options, a.k.a. Clutter Cleaning in System Mechanic, include taking care of junk files, securely erasing private sensitive data, repairing registry errors, removing software redundancies, finding duplicate files, etc.
|Junk File Finder||✔️||✔️|
|Duplicate File Inspector||No||✔️|
Speed up tools are the above-mentioned NetBooster, SSD Accelerator, Startup Optimizer, Startup Manager, Registry Compactor… but also Process Manager to organize running processes, and Memory Mechanic - to utilize free memory in the most efficient way possible.
|Speed up tools||Free||Pro|
Protect, recover and manage set of tools are various actions to fix security vulnerabilities, track system changes, recover data from a drive/disk, find and install drivers, monitor hard drive status, and more. Find summary below.
|Recover & manage||Free||Pro|
|System Change Tracker||No||✔️|
|Search & Recover||No||✔️|
|Advanced System Information||No||✔️|
|PC Health Status Gadget||No||✔️|
Exclusive features. As we said, in addition to basic optimization and PC health tools, there’s malware blocking (only in Pro) and bloatware removal - to detect startup programs that launch without permission. But System Mechanic claims to offer several more patented technologies, such as ActiveCare - that finds and fixes problems on PC when it is not in active use; Program Accelerator - a calibration technology to ensure the fastest possible access to files; Startup Optimizer - that uses research-based classifications to identify issues; LiveBoost - to find patterns and prioritize programs to clean RAM, and so on.
Testing and how it worked for us
Well, we could say the start was rocky. When we tried to perform system analysis, the app crashed. We reopened it and started the check once again, and it crashed again. So, instead, we opened the PC Cleanup tool and ran the Quick analysis from there - and luckily it worked. The process lasted about 17 minutes and freed up 3.8 GB on the hard drive.
Unfortunately, we faced similar error with Deep Analysis and were not able to run it properly. Then, in System Mechanic Pro we used Junk File Finder and got additional free 100 Mb on our hard. After it was finished, we also ran Disk Analyzer and it pointed out another 193 Mb of junk files.
Management and Reports tab we find handy for average users. For example, to configure startup programs without the hassle of Win+R or MSCONFIG, to monitor download speed, running programs, hard drive space and memory. With Optimize feature in Reports, which initiated defragmentation process, we got 1% of RAM recovered - which is something but nothing outstanding.
To summarize, System Mechanic helped to free up to 4GB on the hard drive and about 1% of RAM. We did not notice a considerable improvement in PC performance or speed of tasks. And while design, interface and UX are convenient and offer a great single tool to monitor and manage everything on a PC, the main disadvantage of System Mechanic is unstable performance.
iolo System Mechanic does not always load upon first click of a desktop shortcut or even start menu - it is something the vendor really has to fix ASAP. Some features are listed and advertised but don’t actually work in the program. Current bottom line: System Mechanic is perfect for removing junk files and freeing disk space, it isn’t great in boosting PC speed or performance though.