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Registry Mechanic Review



Product: PC Tools Registry Mechanic
Price: $29.95
Company Info: PC Tools® - www.pctools.com
Editor Rating:

PC Tools Registry Mechanic Review

Do you need a registry cleaner?  There is some debate in the technical world about that; these cleaner and optimization programs are designed to remove redundant or unwanted items from the registry of Windows operating systems.  Some poorly designed cleaners remove keys or files that are not critical errors, and this can impair computer performance.  On the other hand, effective programs like Registry Mechanic from PC Tools make the complex, difficult job of cleaning the registry manageable for those without technical expertise.  Registry Mechanic was named Software of the Year (2010) by Softwareload, and has earned accolades from users all over the world.  Can it help your computer’s performance? 

Interface

PC Tools boasts a wide array of PC products and millions of downloads in over 180 countries; their software tends to appeal to those who need a fast, effective solution to performance or security issues.  One of the reasons for their enduring popularity is the user-friendly design and affordable price.  Registry Mechanic has an intuitive interface that even beginning users can adapt to and operate immediately. 

Installation is easy and novice users simply need to follow the on-screen prompts.  Upon installation, the program is ready to use, and a professional, clear interface guides the user through the various options.  The menu screen provides various options including: scanning the registry, compacting the registry, shredding files, cleaning your disks, defragmenting your registry, and optimizing your system.  The scan option works in a similar way as antivirus scans; you will see real-time entries being compiled as Registry Mechanic searches through the system registry.  Improved in the 2011 edition, the Deep Scan only takes two minutes to complete.

The results screen is as intuitive; users will see the total number of registry errors that were detected.  Each has a corresponding color bar to indicate the severity or importance of the error.  Again, this is color-coded very much like a standard antivirus results page, so users can tell at a glance if an error is important and action needs to be taken immediately. 

You have two options for removal.  You can scroll through the list and de-select specific entries that you want to retain, or you can select “Remove” at the bottom of the screen to remove all of the errors.  A convenient backup option allows you to undo removals of a specific entry or all of the entries.  This is a must-have feature in a registry cleaner because it is easy to inadvertently delete an entry that can impact performance.  The ability to pick and choose files that you want to keep, as well as restore individual files is new to the 2011 edition, and it elevates Registry Mechanic’s stature among other registry cleaners.  It also increases the safety level of the entire program, a common complaint about other cleaners.

Some critics complain that the main user window is too cluttered with feature tabs, and options like “Scan Now” and “Clean Your Register” were not sufficiently explained or differentiated.  Others thought that adding tool tip pop-ups as users hovered over buttons and actions would be very useful for beginning users to clarify what each feature did and how best to use it. Overall, however, with only a few minutes of exploration, users should have a good feel for the program and how to use it.  Further, PC Tools maintains a robust online help system for those who need more assistance.

PC Tools products are used around the world, and the interface for Registry Mechanic is available in 17 languages.

Main Features

Registry Mechanic is a fully stocked program that offers the user a full suite of optimization and cleaning services.  Options include scanning and repairing invalid entries, removing orphaned registry references, monitoring performance, tuning up services, and creating customizable ignore lists to keep specific entries from being detected by scans.  These features can help boost speed and performance, while reducing the risk of crashes and slowdowns.  This is standard fare when it comes to registry cleaners and optimizers; this is what they are supposed to do.  PC Tools adds value for the user by offering more enhanced features that are not found in other programs in this class.

One of the risks in using registry cleaners is that they are indiscriminate in the errors they detect.  They may flag an error as serious without having sufficient evidence to do so.  This can lead inexperienced users to delete entries that are, in fact, necessary for proper functioning.  Registry Mechanic helps prevent such errors with back-ups of any repairs and easy restoring.  As mentioned, it also allows you to de-select entries that you do not wish to delete.  This may not be as useful for inexperienced users, however, who are unsure what the entries actually do.

The registry compactor is another tool that will intrigue experienced users.  The application will scan the registry, and reconfigure the file locations in order to optimize space and speed.  While the space saved is relatively small, configuring the files can help make them more accessible by the operating system, and thus make your computer more efficient.

Registry Mechanic does have its share of window-dressing.  There are features included in the program, for instance, that are available on Windows.  Defrag, for instance, simply opens the basic Windows defrag tool that you can access directly through the Start menu.  But while this is not particularly useful for experienced users, it can be helpful to users who do not know Windows has a defrag tool or what it is supposed to accomplish.

PC Tools’ registry cleaner distinguishes itself from other such programs by offering sophisticated privacy features in the 2011 edition.  The cleaner is able to:
• Purge activity from browsers, chats, and other software lists to help protect your online privacy.  Additional plug-ins are able to clean the history of more than 100 third-party programs, including P2P applications, chats, social networking, and more.
• Securely shred personal files so your confidential data is safely disposed of.
• Bleach unused hard drive space.  This is important because it makes it impossible to recover deleted files.

These features add a layer of security to a registry cleaner, adding more value for the user.  (Note:  It is not meant to replace a standalone security program). 

Another convenient feature for busy PC users is the Scheduler.  This new option allows you to configure the settings and then forget about it.  Smart Updates automatically installs upgrades to ensure that your program is able to provide you with the best optimization tools.

Performance

Registry Mechanic consistently reviews well with consumers and earns top marks from reviewers.  TopTenReviews notes that, “If you are looking for a program that keeps the average user in mind and does a good job at cleaning your system Registry Mechanic gets the job done.”   Operation is quick and easy, and users can optimize their system with only a few clicks.  Main drawbacks of previous editions, including the possibility of deleting important files, have been updated and improved, and there are useful features for both beginner and experienced users.  Registry Mechanic is at the top of its class.

Pros and Cons

+ Low price.
-  Does not scan for malware, including spyware.
+ Helps protect online privacy and data.
+ Easy to use.
+ User-friendly features like resizable dialogue screens.
+ 24/7 help available.
- Free trial version does not offer full access to features.
- Does not have pop-up tool tips for new users.
- Lacks exporting abilities.
+ 2011 edition has improved features that other registry cleaners do not, including automatic backups and customizable performance.
+ Offers users more than one way to fix an error.

Summary

PC Tools is one of the most popular providers of personal software in the world; for those in the market for a registry cleaner, their Registry Mechanic offers best-in-class performance.  It is a lightweight application that is fast, efficient, and effective.  Some experts argue that any speed gains resulting from a registry cleaner are likely to be negligible, but PC Tools offers enhanced configurations, a registry compactor, and privacy settings that make the investment worthwhile for computer users. 

The program is reliable, powerful, and designed for all levels of users.  Beginners will find it to be an invaluable tool for cleaning their registries – a task that many have not even attempted before, while those with technical experience will find it to be flexible and customizable for their needs.







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