Fix-it Utilities 8 brings together over 30 of the best third-party utilities in one easy-to-use interface.

The suite is based around a single interface that breaks the utilities up into sub-menus relating to Diagnostics, Fixes, Optimisation, Recovery and Clean-up tools.

Quick and speedy software

This version also introduces anti-virus and anti-spyware tools. However, you should use this alongside a full internet security suite.

Click on any menu sub-heading and you'll find a range of tools to help improve performance, or you can use the built-in OneClick wizard that will run through all the tools in one go.

On the main page you'll also find a QuickStatus indicator, which tells you how well your laptop is currently performing.

Our test machine had a 40GB hard drive, which hadn't been defragged for over a year, so naturally the starting condition was poor. Running this suite cleaned out a lot of dead links and unwanted files and optimised the system to a Medium status in less than one hour.

Security tools

Of the new features in this edition, the emphasis is on data recovery as well as data erasion. New anti-virus tools worked exceedingly well, recognising we already had McAfee anti-virus software installed and working in unison with it to offer the best possible protection.

You can choose to run the tools in manual mode, but to really make the most of them it pays to set up a scheduler. This can be daily, weekly or monthly and should reflect the way you use your laptop.

With a reboot, we found our system showed signs of better performance, with start-up and shutdown times being quicker and even saving to disk seemed less laborious.

Great value package

Avanquest Fix-it Utilities 8 offers a wide range of tools and while none of them are essential, packaged together they offer a great deal in terms of value and usabiliity.

This latest version can also be installed on three machines in the same house, making it even better value.