System Mechanic Free: Basic, reliable tools for improved system performance

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System Mechanic Free is a comprehensive PC optimization tool that promises to not just detect and fix Windows system errors but also prevent them from happening.

System Mechanic Overview_Installation & Requirements

The installer automatically downloads the installation file and provides users with the option of saving a copy of the file on the computer. The Setup Wizard launches as soon as you’ve made your choice. During the installation you can choose to activate a copy of System Mechanic Professional or install and use System Mechanic Free.

Even if you choose the free version, currently under review, the installer will still ask you to provide an e-mail address for activation and you will receive an e-mail with the activation key. To continue with the setup, System Mechanic Free can be installed with default settings or you can customize them. Besides the basic settings that are usually encountered in software installations, the program also needs to know which type of internet connection you use for performance reasons. The setup also offers an optional desktop gadget showing your PC status.

At launch, System Mechanic Free shows a Welcome Screen offering online information about the program and tutorials. The program supports Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 with no other requirements.

Interface

The interface has a sidebar menu from where you can access all the tools offered by System Mechanic organized under relevant categories. The Overview window shows the most commonly used actions and status of the program’s modules (some of them disabled in the free version and listed only as advertisement for the commercial one).

The first step in optimizing your computer with System Mechanic is performing a system analysis (you can go for the default quick scan or opt for the deep scan for thorough analysis). Once the scan is finished you can either repair the problems or take a look at them. Explanations are provided for each detected issue, to help you decide which actions you want to take. You can either let the program automatically fix the problem, launch a dedicated wizard and fix it yourself or hide it. Most of the times, simply clicking the “Repair all” button will do the trick, but all these advanced options are exactly what seasoned users are looking for.

Besides the regular problems that appear with computer usage, like system and registry clutter, System Mechanic also concluded that our test computer may have unwanted programs scheduled to start at system boot. To correct this potential issue the program offers a list of these startup applications with the option of disabling them but it also shows their impact on system performance when available. System Mechanic also detected some security vulnerabilities and offered to fix them for us as well as optimizing the Internet configuration for improved speed. However, the latter recommendations cannot be resolved unless you decide to upgrade to System Mechanic Professional.

System Mechanic Free has an Internet Security section which is practically monitoring your antivirus and firewall so it can notify you if any of these are turned off and your system becomes vulnerable. The ActiveCare section bundles a series of automated optimization and maintenance tasks. It sure seems like a great feature, too bad it’s not available in the free version and you’d have to upgrade to the paid product for it.

Speaking of disabled features, the All-in-one Tools section also includes some nifty features, but only a few are usable for free such as memory defragmentation & recovery, the PC Cleanup tool and registry backup. The easier way of getting a general view of the tools you can use in the free version is offered by the Individual Tools section. Here, the tools are grouped into categories and any tool that doesn’t have the “Advanced” logo can be used without upgrading to the paid edition of System Mechanic.

Even if there are lots of premium tools included in this category, there are also plenty of free ones besides the ones listed above, such as startup optimization, hard drive defragmentation, junk file remover, fix registry problems and broken shortcuts, secure delete of private data, file shredder, duplicate file finder, uninstaller and a few others.

The Reports section has a dedicated pane displaying the status of hard drives and system memory and another one showing the history of all actions taken by System Mechanic.

Pros

– Friendly interface offering a simple universal scan and fix-it-all option
– All detected problems can be analyzed and users can decide the type of action that should be taken
– UI has thorough descriptions added to all provided tools and options as well as found problems.
– Includes a decent set of maintenance and optimization tools to fix and detect registry problems, HDD defrag, cleanup junk files and many more.
– Extended help manual and online documentation are provided.

Cons

– E-mail registration is required during the setup.
– System Mechanic includes lots of disabled features, available only in the commercial edition of the program. Plenty of them are cleverly mixed between free ones so users would inevitably click on them and get to the “Upgrade Now” window.

Conclusion

System Mechanic Free can successfully perform essential maintenance and optimization tasks to keep your PC in good shape. Sadly, it was designed more like an advertisement to the paid System Mechanic Professional as it bundles lots of premium features that require an upgrade.