One worthwhile solution to a slow PC is to use a system utilities program like iolo System Mechanic (opens in new tab). A good utility will clear junk from your OS, boost system speed, and perform other crucial tasks in the background. System Mechanic made it on to our list of best system utilities (opens in new tab), and in this review we'll take a more in-depth look at the program.
Plans and pricing
The trial version of System Mechanic offers full features for a month, and there is also a free version that allows you to use a limited set of features indefinitely—basic system repairs, cleanup, and a speed boost. Sometimes, there are also reduced-price deals to be had on iolo's website, but these seem to vary.
The basic System Mechanic plan (opens in new tab) is $14.98 (normally $49.95) per year. This includes system optimization, repairing and preventing system errors, cleaning junk, fixing dangerous settings to prevent hacking attacks, and maintaining your PC’s speed and performance.
The System Mechanic Pro plan (opens in new tab) is $20.98 (normally $69.95) per year, adding extra features like the System Shield for antivirus/malware protection, Search and Recover to recover accidentally deleted data, and the Drive Scrubber, which erases data securely.
System Mechanic’s Ultimate Defense plan (opens in new tab) is $23.98 (normally $79.95) per year. Added benefits include Privacy Guardian to protect privacy online and ByePass to manage passwords securely, as well as the Malware Killer.
System Mechanic is aimed at personal and business users who want to keep their PC running smoothly. With that in mind, the features are broken down into easily-understandable categories within the Toolbox—Clean, Speed Up, Protect, Recover, and Manage. We’ll look at Protect later as a separate security category.
This tool cleans your system of over 50 kinds of unnecessary junk. There are also other cleaning options and an Advanced Uninstaller.
According to the scan we performed, System Mechanic found 261 junk files, and 28 registry issues. The scan itself was very fast, and fixing the issues was a simple case of pressing the Clean Selected button.
This module features a series of tools designed to speed up your PC and your internet.
The Memory Mechanic gained me nearly an extra 2GB of memory in less than 20 seconds.
Recover is where you will find the tools to fix and troubleshoot issues with your PC, including a System Restore option.
Here you can customize advanced Windows settings, but unless you know exactly what you’re doing, it might be best to avoid changing anything.
There are a variety of useful tools in the Protect module. System Mechanic will detect and remove deceptive and unwanted programs, fix Windows security items, and provide a desktop “file incinerator” to obliterate all traces of your files.
Interface and in use
The user interface is clear, uncluttered, and easy to navigate using the icons. However, it’s a bit annoying that one of the constant recommendations is to upgrade to System Mechanic Ultimate Defense—this also appears on the paid-for version of the software.
Downloading the trial version from iolo's website was fast, and installation only took a few minutes. One unexpected feature of the installation was a popup asking if I wanted to download and use Opera as my default internet browser as an optional offer from iolo.
If you click the question mark in the menu bar, you’re taken to iolo's program support page. There you’ll find everything you need to know (in a variety of languages) about System Mechanic.
The support page offers phone and email support. You have the option of free basic support for one PC, or Premium Support, which costs a whopping $99.95 one time fee or 12 monthly installments of $19.95. The service is good for any device - 1 computer and 1 mobile device – for the ‘Individual’ plan..
Live chat is also available, with a response time of under 20 seconds when we tried it.
If you are interested in alternative utilities, then CleanMyPC has malware protection available at a lower tier, and SlimCleaner is very inexpensive, especially for users of multiple PCs.
CleanMyPC (opens in new tab) is effective at cleaning and optimizing PCs, but lacks a backup and restore tool, which System Mechanic has. However, it does offer malware protection. Price-wise, CleanMyPC works out cheaper for single PCs, with a one-off lifetime payment of $39.95, though this excludes the Techradar discount offer.
Meanwhile, SlimCleaner (opens in new tab) offers a small set of basic cleaning and optimizing tools, but they do the job. There’s no backup and restore tool, though. There is a one-year plan for one computer that costs $19.97, and you can buy a lifetime plan for five computers for $59.97, good for those on a budget.
System Mechanic is a great, easy-to-use system utility. The interface is slick and uncluttered, and the scans are fast. The downsides are the lack of virus/malware protection on the basic System Mechanic version, the single yearly payment option available for each plan, and the cost of premium support.
However, the app will suit anyone who wants to keep their PC running fast and junk-free, and you don’t need technical expertise to install and use it.
- We've also highlighted the best system utilities and repair software (opens in new tab)