What is the best PC tuneup

One-Click Optimization - Blessing or Curse?

Michael Rupp

Tools for one-click optimization promise a significant increase in performance by purifying the operating system. In addition, Windows should always stay optimally tidy.

EnlargeWindows optimization with just one click?

System tools for automatic Windows Optimization enjoy great popularity and are still controversial: some praise the Tweaker as a universal panacea for eliminating many Windows ailments, others consider these tools largely useless or even dangerous because they make uncontrolled changes to the operating system configuration. The most popular representatives include AVG PC Tune-up (successor to Tune-up Utilities), Ashampoo WinOptimizer 2015, Glary Utilities and Wise Care 365. One for all is the motto of these tool packages. They all promise to make Windows faster, more comfortable and more secure within minutes - and also to eradicate system errors of all kinds.

Download: AVG TuneUp

Download: Ashampoo WinOptimizer

Download: Glary Utilities

Download: Wise Care 365

Savior or charlatans for the Windows computer?

Anyone who has ever struggled with storage space problems, Windows hang-ups or dropouts in application programs will be toying with easy-to-use tools that promise protection from them. With their numerous wizards and tuning modules, they should be used when Windows is getting slower and slower, the drives are full and all kinds of unwanted programs start together with Windows. The highlight is the quick optimization, as offered by AVG PC Tune-up and Winoptimizer 2015: With this, the programs analyze the drive allocation and the previous system settings and fix the diagnosed problems in one go, without the user having to worry about details. If desired, the auto-optimization can even be carried out at intervals every few days.

In addition, there is also a live optimization, which in the case of AVG PC Tune-up is intended to ensure "constant priority of processes for performance optimization". For this purpose, system monitors monitor the PC status and should automatically intervene if a critical status of whatever kind is looming.

Where the strengths and weaknesses of the tuning suites lie

On closer inspection, the tuning suites consist of a large number of individual tuning modules that are linked via a selection menu. The AVG PC Tune-up control center, for example, has five other tabs in addition to the dashboard, a kind of main window that itself has around 15 buttons: "Optimize", "Clean up", "Fix problems", "Customize" and " All functions “- the latter includes no less than 42 buttons for tuning modules and setting dialogs. Despite the appealing menu navigation, as a user you don't really know where to click with all the selections. There would hardly be a single user who would download so many programs to their PC individually.

Alternative: CCleaner now cleans your computer more thoroughly

The tuning modules can be called up according to their specific purpose via "All functions": "Deactivate startup programs", "Check hard drive for errors", "Defragment", "Clean browser", "Change Windows settings" or "Remove defective links." “- here you can find out in plain text what the respective function does. After clicking on one of the menu items, the respective module is started and in many cases an assistant appears to guide you through the process. However, many of the tasks can also be done with Windows on-board tools and free tools such as the tried and tested Ccleaner (on DVD).

The AVG PC Tune-up dashboard is less clearly structured: Here the user finds out the optimization potential forecast by the software based on a bar and starts the automatic optimization with "Scan now". You can also click on "Scan now" in the "Maintenance" and "PC performance" area, click on "Fix errors now" under "PC status" and switch the computer to a configurable turbo mode in "PC mode". Move mode - this is confusing.

Reduce system load, optimize overall performance

In AVG PC Tune-up, the “Optimize” tab is used to tune the tempo: Here the tool aims to reduce the system load and optimize performance. Among other things, this should be done through live optimization, which should accelerate the start of programs through higher prioritization and increase the response speed of applications by downgrading background processes.

EnlargeWith the "Increase performance" function, AVG PC Tune-up makes suggestions for optimization.

On our i7 test computer with 8 GB RAM, we could not find any positive effects from live tuning under Windows 8.1 with alternating use of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Illustrator, Word, Excel, Firefox, Acrobat Reader and Microsoft's video tool Hyperlapse. After all, there were no noticeable negative effects.

Another function for optimizing performance is "PC performance" in the dashboard: It is intended to provide tailor-made recommendations for increasing performance. To do this, you first have to determine how the PC is connected to the Internet, and then how important visual effects are to you in Windows. You can choose between "Very good optics with reduced performance", "Maximum performance (regardless of optics)" or "Balanced mix of performance and optics". What comes next is confusing: You end up in a module that submits all sorts of optimization suggestions based on the user selection, the details of which are distributed over several tabs. So one is tempted to go straight to “optimize everything” for convenience, without being aware of the possible changes.

Quick start: This is how Windows boots quickly again - system start-up optimization

How to avoid the hassle of tuning suites for Windows

Despite all promises: There is no worry-free Windows tuning at the push of a button for all cases. Due to the sheer mass of modules, pretty design and often well-lit menu items, tuning suites suggest a supposedly huge benefit.

When optimizing Windows with tools, you should always look very carefully so as not to break your system: Instead of the automatic full optimization, only use those individual modules of the suites that you really need, for example to free up storage space or to track down duplicate files or to adjust settings without changing the registry directly.

EnlargeWe advise against tuners who promise an automatic adjustment of system resources.

Very important: Always check the suggested repair recommendations critically, because much of what is suggested as a problem solution is simply superfluous. If you are not sure what the effects of an optimization suggestion will be, cancel the process. And: Do not run time-controlled tuning tools in the background, but always call the programs manually.

Backup obligation: Good tuning tools offer an option to back up and restore the previous system settings - use them! If you want to be on the safe side, you can also create a full PC backup.

Avoid trouble: Tuning modules that supposedly improve CPU and memory usage during operation are completely superfluous - we advise against using them.