Tune-Up Utilities 2010 [Review]

Keeping your PC running, up to date, and performing optimally can at times be a challenging task. One that many seem to forget and shove to the back of their minds and bottom of their priority lists as the more mundane tasks of day to day life get in the way. It used to be that keeping your computer running smoothly took several programs and many hours slaving away making sure you dotted all your “i’s” and crossed all of your “t’s” — figuratively speaking of course. Since those non-too friendly early days, many do-it-all software titles have come and gone promising to make our lives and computer maintenance exponentially easier. Though they often become complex headaches, causing all sorts of small problems here and there or they simply don’t work as well as advertised. Navigating through the years and various titles can be quite daunting. Regardless if you’ve weathered the storm or are fresh to the whole PC maintenance scene, Tune-Up Utilities has been revamped for 2010 and is worth a solid look. I’m certainly not spending all of this mental power forming complex and intellectual sentences to leave you off with a one liner of “buy” or “don’t buy” so come on in to find out the nitty, gritty details…

Wow! Where to begin. Tune-Up Utilities is so much more than a simple click to fix solution (though that option is available) but instead is a robust and full featured PC maintenance suite. One little surprise also tucked in is some fairly handy customization features allowing users to quickly and easily change UI images and other graphical features.

To start off, we’ll begin with the easiest “One-Click Maintenance” program (pictured below) which attracts it’s own separate icon and program. Operation here is straightforward and completely hands-off for the end user. Simply click the icon to launch the program where it will begin the following tasks: Registry cleaning, registry defrag, removal of broken short-cuts, freeing up of disk space, optimization of system startup and shut down, and the common and always needed hard disk defrag. A good set of one-click features that should make the majority of PC maintenance extremely easy and quick.

Moving on, we come to the full blown Tune-Up Utilities 2010 application which packs quite a bit underneath the hood. Upon launching Tune-Up 2010, you’re presented with large window with 4 panes inside, each with a category of functions.

  • Maintain System:

In clicking on the “more functions” underneath the first pane (and following panes) will lift a an slider window with individual functions for each category. In the Maintain System pane, you may notice this pop-up looks rather familiar and in fact it is. Most of the features and functions found inside of the “One-Click” program mentioned earlier are present in this first pane. Since we already covered this particular set of functions and because they’re relatively straightforward and easy to understand, we’ll continue on.

  • Increase Performance:

The second pane features programs solely designed to give your computer some pep in it’s step, to clear out those cobwebs, and to bring an overall youthful feeling back to the computer it once was. Here you’ll find your typical speed enhancers starting with an Optimization Configure option that lets you fine tune various settings to make keep the load on your computer to a minimum — meaning less system lock ups and crashes. Other options include startup manager, which lets you control what get’s exclusive start up rights. (If you value a fast start up, it’s best to keep this list and “OK’d” apps relatively short). A hard disk cleaner which goes through your disk and searches for corrupt files, bad sectors, etc. Finally, Tune-Up offers it’s own version of installation/removal manager that displays installed programs and gives several quick options as to app management.

  • Fix Problems:

Have a particular problem such as an icon not showing up or you just deleted that ultra rare photo of your grandpa and you from 1943? Are you in search of a more versatile task manager? If so the third pane title “Fix Problems” is where you will want to stop. He you can find that ultra rare photo as well as countless other you-thought-were-deleted-but-surprise-they’re-not files for better or worse. While Windows does have a built in task manager, it’s rather basic. The task manager built in to Tune-Up Utilities is not just more robust, but actually manages to look rather good displaying the vast amounts of information it does. Finally, there’s at least been one point in time that you may have noticed a particular icon or image not displaying or looking distorted. Such issues could stem from memory problems, hard drive problems, video card problems, etc. The list can go on and on. Why bother with long and finicky tinkering when you can simply click on “Fix common problems” under this third pane and get on the fast track to sanity and a smooth UI once again.

  • Customize Windows:

Any quibble or disagreement your have against Windows and the designers can be handled here. Everything from icons to the task bar to the scroll bar. Start-up screens and app windows — anything and everything you can think of is at your fingertips completely customizable and skinable. Do you need a program to actually change these files? No, you could go through the manual way of navigating to each file and doing the normal copy, delete, replace with new file. But why should you? When it’s as easy as a simple “choose file to replace old file”, there’s no reason to. I’m all for simplicity, ease, and more hair staying on my head. (Thankfully it isn’t falling out…yet).

Moving away from the specific features and direct OS functions, Tune-Up Utilities has quite the list of personal settings for the app that alone could keep your busy for a fair amount of time. In app settings include notifications, how the app runs/hides, settings for maintenance and One-Click maintenance, and Turbo-Mode. So what exactly is Turbo-Mode? Well for one, it deals with raw speed. *Captain obvious flies overhead* Jokes aside, it’s actually a very handy and useful function. Enabling Turbo-Mode will ensure that background processes and apps (Tune-Up utilities scheduled actions included) don’t kick in, run, or interfere with your system when resources are low. Gamers and graphic artists might find this helpful as such actions do put quite a toll on system hardware. Having a program smart enough to realize when to hold off a bit longer than usual with maintenance functions is mighty handy indeed and will no doubt save your sanity yet again.

I’ve touched on a great deal of features but truth be told, there’s still a ton of little things here and there that I’m finding. Some features overlap others while some are completely new. Regardless, every feature and function so far has been useful. I haven’t found anything that made me thing “Why did they put that in here?” None of that at all. So should you buy it? At $50 is isn’t quite an impulse buy, though it’s still in the lower-end that a quick decision isn’t unheard of. If you a beginner to computers or simply not computer savvy, you must buy this. It’s incredibly easy to use and in my testing this past week hasn’t crashed once! If you’re more advanced, I still recommend it. Why? As I mentioned earlier, even if you know how to manually do all of the functions that are included in this app or have other apps that do similar functions, there’s no reason you need to spend days doing mundane system maintenance when you could be enjoying your computer. Let some software do the grunt work while you life your life. Some may like the grunt work and that’s ok too. Tune-Up Utilities 2010 is a simple yet highly robust piece of software that every PC owner should have. Period.