A truly effective PC tune-up tool that's a cut above the competition. Automatic cleanup tools and a superb malware scanner make it easy to recommend.
Well designed, clear interface
As in-depth as you need it to be
Excellent built-in malware scanner
Software uninstaller is quite basic
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Update: A recent change to Iolo's checkout process means you will be automatically subscribed to a $19.99 (about £15 / AU$25) per month support package when you purchase a product. This is a very large extra charge, so make sure to double-check before entering your payment details.
Iolo System Mechanic Pro is a a one-stop tool for PC optimization, packed with all the tools you could possibly want for keeping Windows running smoothly.
It's a great choice for beginners and advanced users alike. Improving your PC's performance can be as simple as clicking a single button, but more advanced users can drill down all the way to individual files and deep system settings – or anywhere in between.
Unlike many system optimization tools, nothing about System Mechanic Pro is opaque or confusing. All your options (and there are a lot) are clearly labelled with full descriptions of their purpose and the effect of deleting or optimizing the item in question.
System Mechanic Pro not only makes a noticeable difference to your PC's overall performance – it also includes top-notch protection from malware, with behavioural analysis to pick up threats even if they haven't yet been catalogued and added to Iolo's extensive database.
If you just want to give your PC a quick tuneup, System Mechanic Pro's Dashboard might be all you need. With a single click, the software scans for issues including junk files, broken or missing registry entries and unnecessary browser cookies. The scanning process is fast, and once it's complete you can fix all identified problems with just one more click.
After the initial scan, you can rely on System Mechanic Pro's ActiveCare tool to carry out this regular maintenance for you whenever your PC is idle. However, it's well worth browsing through the options available here; you might not want System Mechanic Pro to clear your clipboard automatically, or delete cookies without your express permission.
Thankfully the settings are easy to change; just deselect the tickboxes beside anything you'd like to keep, or disable ActiveCare entirely if you'd prefer to take matters into your own hands.
Things get more interesting when you begin exploring Iolo System Mechanic Pro's Toolbox. This includes a combination of tools unique to System Mechanic, plus a few convenient links to the best of Windows' own utilities without the need to trawl through the Control Panel. Our only quibble here is the software uninstaller, which only lets users select one program to remove at a time.
System Mechanic Pro's Speed Up tools are impressive, including options to help boost the speed of your internet connections (all of which can be easily reversed if necessary).
The excellent Startup Manager is also a huge cut above the one included with most Windows tuneup applications. Each program listed includes a rating from Iolo's community to help you decide whether to prevent it running at startup for faster boot times.
The standard Startup Manager only shows you programs that can be safely disabled at startup without causing system stability issues; selecting Expert View includes drivers and low-level programs that might cause problems if disabled, so heed the warnings and only proceed if you’re absolutely sure you know what can be disabled safely.
We were also particularly impressed by Iolo System Mechanic Pro's DriveScrubber. Not only can this securely erase files, it includes a tool for making a USB drive cleaner. You can run this without booting into Windows, effectively erasing the contents of your system drive. If you’re planning to sell or recycle a PC, it’s a great way to ensure peace of mind, and something you won’t find in most system optimization software.
However, Iolo System Mechanic Pro's standout feature has to be its superb malware scanner (part of Iolo System Shield, included with System Mechanic Pro). This lets you check your entire system, a specific folder (particularly handy for scanning your Downloads folder) or just an individual file. The malware definitions are updated regularly, and there’s behavioural analysis to pick up suspicious files before they’ve been officially catalogued.
Unlike some anti-malware software (including many premium tools), Iolo System Mechanic Pro doesn't just block malware – it also removes it thoroughly if your PC is already infected. It's an excellent way to boost your existing PC security suite.
Its flexibility, heuristic analysis and regular updates make it one of the best anti-malware tools around – and it's all bundled in with one of the best tools around for boosting your PC's everyday performance.
- On a budget? Check out our guide to the best free PC optimization software
Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)