Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


Give Your Machine a Boost
by Alan German

BoostSpeed 5 is a new product from Auslogics, the makers of Disk Defrag, that offers a software suite with more than eighteen power tools promising to clean up, speed up and repair your system to make it run as fast and stable as new. The various components are designed to clean your system, free up disk space, fix and defragment the Windows' registry, optimize your file system, maximize hard drive performance, and tweak numerous settings on your Internet connection.

The program's main screen shows three tabs: System Scan, System Advisor and Advanced Tools. Running the program, brings up the first of these tabs and offers a “1-Click Scan” to erase the browser and Windows' history, clean up temporary files, and optimize memory. A drop-down menu provides combinations of further options to scan and/or repair, and set the machine to sleep or shutdown on completion of the specified task.

The one-click scan checks for errors in the registry, looks for files considered to be junk, checks the disks for errors and for file fragmentation. The first scan on my system identified 605 registry errors of moderate severity, 268 junk files (moderate-high), one disk error, and no disk fragmentation. The resulting message, “A total of 874 problems were detected on your computer and need to be fixed now”, seemed to strongly suggest hitting the Repair Now button. But first, a quick look at the Show Details option just to check what is going to be repaired.

Everything looked fine. The registry errors were the usual mix of file does not exist, invalid application path, and empty/unused registry key, that one normally sees with a registry cleaner (but never have a clue what they actually are!) Similarly, the junk files were indeed junk, these being temporary files from Windows, media player and Sun Java, MS Office installation files, and the recent file history. The one unusual problem noted was “Errors found on system disk drive”. Unfortunately, there was no further information on the latter so it was a toss-up whether or not to leave the check mark for repair in place.

Well, we're testing the program, so let 'er rip! The results indicated that 874 problems were indeed repaired. The detailed report included the note: “Local Disk (C:) Repaired”, but once again provided no clue as to the specific nature of the problem. But, lots of items were repaired, including the disk error – so that's good – isn't it?

Interestingly, I ran the one-click scan a second time, a day later. And, guess what? A total of 12 errors including one error found on system disk drive! This was “repaired” a second time, but the re-appearance of the issue doesn't inspire me with a huge amount of confidence in this disk. An item for further research...

Going to the Smart Advisor tab results in a somewhat different scan of the computer being performed. The results are displayed as a series of headings for recommended actions, a brief description of each, and an empty check box waiting for user input. Some of the recommendations sounded very reasonable, such as “Disable Certificate Propagation service”. Also, since there are no smart card devices attached to my computer, the program indicated that I could free up memory by disabling this service. In fact, there were three separate items relating to smart card services that could readily be disabled. I wonder why Windows isn't smart enough to figure this out?

One or two of the recommendation were surprising, such as I should disable Autorun (I thought I had!), and my machine's memory needed upgrading from 893 MB to “at least 1.00 GB”. This machine does actually have 1 GB of RAM (which seems to be plenty for its main task of running Ubuntu Linux). However, it appears that something is siphoning off a few MB that causes BoostSpeed to believe that the available RAM has dropped below the magic number.

So, for some of the recommendations, a little research will be necessary before I agree to implement the advice. However, there is one recommendation that I really like – Disable ReadyBoost Service – because “Your computer is fast enough, so ReadyBoost wouldn't improve system performance.” Yes Sir! Now that I know I (perhaps) have a super-fast machine, I can turn off ReadyBoost quite happily.

The program's final tab leads to a menu of advanced tools as shown in the following screenshot:

The Disk Maintenance – Defragment option calls up Version 5.0.6.250 of Auslogics' Disk Defrag utility. An earlier version of this software was my first introduction to Auslogics (see: http://opcug.ca/public/reviews/auslogics.htm). I really like this program over Vista's defragmenter, since it allows multiple disks to be selected for concurrent processing, and shows a graphic illustration of the defragmentation process, among many other options.

As you can see from the menu, BoostSpeed has many other tools available in the single package to help optimize your system. To free-up disk space, you can search for and remove duplicate files of various types (e.g. image, audio or video files), or you can run a check on your disks and directories to identify where most of your disk space is being used and then either delete or move individual folders as desired. You can easily disable programs from running at boot time by simply unchecking their entry in the list of start-up programs in the Software Control menu and, similarly, change a whole bunch of Windows' features with the System Tweaks settings.

Some of the other program features are a recovery utility to retrieve accidentally deleted files from disks, USB memory sticks, and digital camera memory cards; a track eraser to remove your browsing history (with options for both Internet Explorer and Firefox on my system), delete cookies, and remove various lists of recent documents and operations; plus the ability to securely shred files and folders (including the recycle bin) and to entirely wipe disk contents. A system information utility provides an in-depth report on both the hardware and software present on the computer, while other components identify items like running tasks and services. Internet connectivity can be analyzed and the associated settings adjusted, while registry maintenance options provide the abilities to analyze, repair, and defragment the Windows' registry. And, when all else fails, a Rescue Center lets you undo changes made to the system by any of the Auslogics' programs.

Even BoostSpeed itself has multiple settings that can be tweaked to have the program work the way you prefer, including specifying which modules should backup their changes for possible rollback, the option to run the program at boot-up, or to schedule a system scan and repair.

A clearly written and well illustrated help manual is available on-line as a PDF file. The manual may be viewed in a browser or downloaded for off-line review or printing. The manual consists of only 21 pages. It covers the basics, but doesn't go into much detail on any of the individual programs. For example, I learned that Disk Doctor found my disk error, but I got no more information on the types of errors that this program identifies. There was just a warning that “If you start seeing a lot of bad sectors, backup and replace the faulty disk to prevent data loss.” I guess so.

However, even though the manual is a little brief, the program's operations are so intuitive, it's doubtful that you will need to read the instructions. All of the program's features are just a click or two of the mouse away, and appear to run flawlessly.

BoostSpeed 5 is available for purchase on-line at a cost of $49.44 (automatically converted in the shopping cart from US $49.95). Each software license covers three computers for an individual user. And, the Auslogics' web site lists 20 features that are bundled into the software suite. So, that's 60 items for fifty bucks – less than a dollar an option. Or, is that the new maths?


Bottom Line:

Boost Speed 5 ($49.44)
Version 5.0 for Windows
Auslogics Software Pty Ltd
http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/boost-speed/


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Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

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