We have given our view of so called ‘computer speed booster’ and registry cleaning software before (see here) – we class the commercial versions as the modern equivalent of snake oil because in our experience they just don’t work – and in some cases can leave your computer much worse off than before…
So it is nice to see that the UK magazine PC Advisor agree with us! In a detailed technical review they have tested 2 commercial ‘speed booster’ utilities costing £24 and £29 and two free programs – including our favorite Ccleaner which we recommend to delete temporary files but which also has a registry cleaning function.
The full review can be read here but it is blindingly obvious that all the programs failed miserably to make any significant impact on computer performance:
- On 4 of the 5 PCs tested at least one of the programs actually decreased the computer’s performance.
- On 1 of the 5 PCs tested all the programs decreased the computer’s performance.
- Only 2 of the 5 PCs tested had their performance improved by any of the programs – and the ‘improvement’ was only by 1 point in the benchmark score – small enough to be within the margin for error and certainly not enough to notice in real life as opposed to a software benchmarking program.
- Ccleaner was the best of the four programs tested – even though it is free. Whilst we love Ccleaner we would still only recommend it for experts cleaning the registry of specific items - not as a general purpose clean up tool to be run on a regular basis.
It must also be noted that we have seen cases where such a utility has even stopped a computer from loading starting Windows. A classic example we have seen several times occurs when a utility thinks it is a good idea to compress all the files on the hard drive in a misguided attempt to ‘save space’.
This leads to an unbootable computer as it compresses the important bootmgr file as well – Windows can’t start up and all the user sees is an error message that bootmgr is compressed. Fortunately there is a way to fix this error but it only arose because of the utility trying to be clever…
Overall we have to agree with PC Advisor’s conclusion: “Even if a utility made one PC run better, it might not necessarily help yours – and it could even make your PC’s performance slightly worse”
Why take the risk of slowing your computer down? See our guide on the safe way to speed up a slow computer.