After you've had a PC for a few years, it's bound to get cluttered. With temporary files, unused programs and bits and pieces of irrelevant code piling up, it's not at all uncommon for a laptop or desktop to start dragging its heels through a startup sequence and exhibiting lag when running demanding programs.
If you want to keep your PC running at peak performance, you'll need to take charge. That means you'll need to conduct registry repairs, get rid of old programs, clean out your Internet browser's cache, defragment your hard drive, and ensure that all of your software is up-to-date on a regular basis.
Or, if that sounds like too much work, you could let a PC system utilities suite do it for you. These programs automate a lot of the repetitive, tedious and often highly technical tasks required to keep your computer clean and streamlined.
TopTenREVIEWS, a sister site to Tom's Guide, reviewed the 10 best PC system utilities. If you're in the market for one, here are a few top recommendations:
#1: Advanced System Optimizer
Advanced System Optimizer from Systweak offers a plethora of maintenance options under a user-friendly interface. This utility offers an easy-to-use interface, powerful diagnostic capabilitie and the ability to repair compromised systems.
Features: You can use the program to remove spyware, defragment your hard drive, clean up your registry, and clear away junk data. Better still, you can set up a custom maintenance schedule so that Advanced System Optimizer will take care of your PC just as you specify (if, for example, you want it to clear your cookies but leave your temporary files alone) at convenient intervals.
#2: WinZip System Utilities Suite
From the same company that brought you one of the industry's most prominent compression technologies, WinZip System Utilities Suite is a comprehensive way to keep your system running at its best — especially if you're a gamer.
Features: As far as system utilities go, WinZip offers the full package: clean your registry, get rid of junk files on your hard drive and optimize the programs and services that run when your computer starts up. You can set up scheduled system scans, back up your files at regular intervals and even undelete files after you've cleared your Recycle Bin. A game optimizer allows PC games to run without other programs intruding on system resources they need.
#3: System Mechanic Professional
System Mechanic Professional is a good choice to keep your PC fast and problem-free, especially for the tech-savvy user. Its basic features are simple enough for anyone, but if you want to take a deeper dive to enhance your computer's performance, System Mechanic Professional offers the tools you need.
Features: In addition to offering a registry cleaner, a privacy scanner and a startup optimizer, System Mechanic Professional lets advanced users adjust more than 100 Windows OS features and tweak to their exact preferences. If you want to know how your PC performs under various conditions, right down to RAM and CPU usage, System Mechanic may be right for you.
Ease of Use
Every PC system utilities suite lets you scan your machine and schedule ongoing maintenance tasks. What sets one program apart from another is how easy it is to use. Look for simple interfaces if you want to set up the program and never look at it again; more advanced interfaces are good for users who like to customize their systems and tweak every little detail.
Help and Support
If you have questions or problems with your software, you'll want answers as soon as possible. Any PC utility service that offers phone or live chat support is ideal. Companies that offer email addresses for specific inquiries is the next-best option, while customer service via website forms is often the slowest and least reliable.
To compare costs, check out the best PC system utilities software comparisons on TopTenREVIEWS.
PC system utilities suites are ideal for those who want their PCs to run like new, but lack the time or know-how to manage their system performance manually. A good system utilities suite should offer ways to scan the system for spyware and privacy vulnerabilities, clean a registry, get rid of unused files and set up automatic scans for the future.