Ashampoo Winoptimizer 10 – System Optimization Series

A program that claims to clean and optimize your system needs to do more than just clear out the Internet cache and empty the recycle bin. It also needs to offer more than registry cleaning and registry defrag. All of those are decent ideas to recover some space and gain a small performance boost. They’re also built into Windows as well as free programs like CCleaner. In order to really boost performance you need to dig deep into the system and remove memory hogging programs, remove apps you don’t use on a regular basis, turn off unneeded services and make sure you’re not suffering from a hard drive failure.

Does Ashampoo Winoptimizer 10 fit the bill? Sort of.

On the surface it works like every other "optimizer" out there. It deletes the Internet cache for Internet Explorer and Firefox. It empties the Recycle Bin and gets rid of old System Restore points. There is the usual Registry Cleaner, Registry Defrag, Disk Defrag and Startup Tuner. Not exactly high end and again the free CCleaner can do all of this for no charge.

Within the Modules section, Winoptimizer offers a Services Manager, which is no better than the Service snap-in built into Windows. There is also the Process Manager which looks and acts pretty much the same as the built in Task Manager. The Uninstaller is the same as the one in Control Panel. And just about everything under the Maintain System, Improve Performance and Customize Windows header is either built into Windows or can be had using a free tool. In fact, the Customize Windows option really doesn’t do anything to enhance or improve the system at all.

So what does Winoptimizer offer? There is a Disk Explorer to see how much space all those files and folders are taking. There is a Disk Doctor to check the drive for errors and the HDD Inspector to hook into the SMART information of your drives to let you know if there are potential problems. To be honest, most of this can be found in any number of free tools, but it’s not a bad thing to have them bundled together like this.

As for other tools there is the File Wiper to securely delete files you really no longer want, the File Encrypter and File Splitter, and rounding out the tools are the Undeleter, Duplicate Finder and System Benchmark. Will any of this actually breathe life into your system? Well, if you’ve never run them before, never uninstalled anything, never checked the registry for old entries and never defragged a drive, then yes it will. Cleaning up drive space, deleting temp files, removing programs you don’t use any more and getting rid of duplicate files is always a good idea. But once you’ve done you’re maintenance run, do you need to keep going back for more? Is this a program you will use week after week, month after month?

If you’ve never used any of these tools before and don’t want to poke around Windows on your own to find them, then yes, Winoptimizer is a pretty good tool. It’s certainly better and more useful than Norton Utilities. Winoptimizer has plenty of tools you can use every few months to spritz up the place. For the sake of convenience it’s not too shabby.

One final piece is the Live-Tuner which gives a priority boost to programs as they start or when they hit a heavy load. It’s the same thing as going into Task Manager and changing the Priority, but this is done automatically as the program needs it. This actually isn’t a bad feature and can get a program up and running faster or give it priority over others when the system starts to bog down. This actually can be helpful on some older systems or in a low memory situation.

At the retail price of $40, it’s hard to justify the use of Winoptimizer. Most of the tools are built into Windows and if you look around you can get just about everything it offers for free. Yes, you’ll be using multiple tools, but sometimes that is the price of free.

However, Ashampoo likes to have sales and bundles. I’ve already seen Winoptimizer 10 for $15 multiple times. That’s not too bad a price for a single UI of bundles apps. Give it another month or two and you’ll most likely see the price drop to $7.99. The Live-Tuner, Defrag Tools and Diskspace Explorers are worth that much.

It’s not that Ashampoo Winoptimizer is bad, it’s a pretty good set of utilities, it’s that they don’t go far enough. Far too many of these "tools" are built into Windows. The Service Manager doesn’t allow you to build "profiles" so you can disable services for gaming or to run your system as bare bones because you want as much memory and processor power as you can get. The Uninstall Manager doesn’t tell you which programs you haven’t used in the past 6 months and there is no functionality to monitor an install so you can remove it later.

Like so many others, Winoptimizer hits the low hanging fruit and helps you delete old and unused files. There is more to optimizing a system than just deleting files and apps. Ashampoo needs to dig deeper and build tools that go far beyond what’s already built into Windows.

Better than Norton Utilities, but not an optimizing powerhouse.


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