Review: Auslogics BoostSpeed 5
|Platforms:||Windows XP, Vista (32/ 64-bit), 7 (32 and 64-bit)|
|Requirements:||25MB free hard drive space|
Most PC speedup programs are, let’s be frank, a disappointment. They’re often packed with ineffective options that make no difference to your system’s speed at all. And some are so poorly written that they can actually slow you down.
There are some high quality exceptions to this rule, though, and Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 is one of the very best. The program ignores the dubious tips recommended by so many of the competition, and instead concentrates on genuinely useful techniques and technologies that really can revitalise just about every area of your PCs performance. And, best of all, you don’t need to be a Windows expert to make this happen.
If you’re not sure how poorly your PC might be set up, for instance, it doesn’t take long to find out. Just tell BoostSpeed 5 to launch a system scan, and it’ll look for Registry errors, hard drive clutter, file fragmentation and more, then fix any problems is discovers in a click.
BoostSpeed 5 also includes a System Advisor module that checks your PC for configuration issues and offers specific, tailored advice. This highlights Windows services that you don’t really need, for instance, and allows you to disable them at a click. And it also made some useful security recommendations when we tried it out on our test PC.
But this is just the start. Click the Advanced Tools tab and you’ll find 22 useful speedup, security and maintenance options, many of which are powerful enough to be applications in their own right.
A good first step in any PC optimisation is to clean up any clutter, and Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 has plenty of tools that can help out.
The Disk Cleaner, for example, trawls your PC looking for junk and unnecessary files that can safely be deleted. When we tested it the program ran 15% faster than Windows own Disk Cleanup tool, and uncovered considerably more redundant files (8GB vs 850MB). You must always check that this kind of program isn’t deleting anything important, though, and Disk Cleaner makes that easy – just click a category like Application Logs and you’ll see everything it’s highlighted as surplus to requirements.
There’s also a Registry Cleaner that works in almost exactly the same way. A couple of clicks and it’s scanning your PC, looking for redundant Registry entries; you’re able to click on any category, like Startup, to see entries scheduled for deletion; and then they may all be wiped in a click. After which the Registry may optionally be defragmented, saving just a little RAM and hard drive space.
BoostSpeed 5 includes a Track Eraser that will wipe away your history in Windows, many applications and all the main browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Mozilla).
A Duplicate File Finder can then scan your drives, looking for duplicate files and allowing you to delete them. You need to be careful with this kind of tool – sometimes both copies of a file are required – but the program protects you to a degree by not highlighting duplicates in system folders.
And an Explore Disk option analyses your hard drive, then reports how all those gigabytes are being used. In a few clicks you can see which folders are the largest, for instance, or which file types occupy the most hard drive real estate, very useful if you’re looking to free up some space.
BoostSpeed 5 is great at cleaning, then, but if anything it’s even better at optimisation, with a range of tools that consistently deliver more than the competition.
Having freed up a few gigabytes from your hard drive, for instance, you may then be able to significantly enhance its performance by running the bundled Auslogics Disk Defrag. It’s one of the best defrag tools around, and while you can install it for free, that doesn’t take anything away from the program’s value here.
Auslogics Startup Manager will then display your Windows startup programs, allowing you to disable unwanted entries (and save valuable system resources) at a click. And again, it’s far more powerful than the similar options you’ll find in other speedup tools.
This Startup Manager displays file handlers, shell extensions and IE add-ons alongside the list of regular startup programs, for example, so it’s unusually comprehensive. The program can tell you in many cases which files are trustworthy, and which might be dangerous, making it easy to remove spyware and other threats from the list. And it’s extremely versatile. You can temporarily disable a particular startup entry, delete it altogether, move the entry to another location, and more, all in just a click or two.
You also get an unusually easy way to optimise your Windows service settings. Instead of poking around, manually disabling services – risky if you select the wrong ones – BoostSpeed 5 just asks you to select a profile for your PC, like “Home computer with networking” or “Office computer”. The program then chooses services that you can probably do without, and these will be stopped in a click.
And the set is completed with an Internet Optimizer, which will do its very best to speed up your internet connection. You’re sceptical? So are we, generally: Windows Vista and 7 generally does a good job of tuning your connection itself, and doesn’t require much help.
BoostSpeed 5 doesn’t just provide the usual tired old MTU and RWIN tweaks, though. The Optimizer also includes direct access to all the main key Windows settings, more than 30 TCP/IP values, and assorted settings covering WinSock, the Workstation service, DNS Cache, IE and Firefox. You don’t have to explore these – an Auto Optimisation tool takes care of the tricky decisions – but if you want to take full control of your web connection, then this is probably the best tool around.
Despite its name, BoostSpeed 5 includes many useful tools that aren’t entirely performance-related.
System Tweaks, for instance, is a full-featured Windows tweaking tool, with options to configure your desktop, Start menu, taskbar, Explorer, security settings, IE, even a few third-party applications (Skype, Acrobat Reader, Firefox and more). It’s very useful, though bizarrely slow to launch, taking more than 2 minutes to appear on our test system.
A handy File Recovery tool quickly locates and recovers deleted files. You can limit the selection on offer by specifying the drives to scan, the type of file you’re looking for, and its last modification date (though not the file name, curiously).
The Auslogics Task Manager works like regular Windows Task Manager, though with some interesting additions. So all running applications and processes have a rating, for example, that tells you how trustworthy they are, important if you’re concerned you may have been infected by malware. And a Locked Files section lists all the files your running program have open, which both tells you what they’re doing, and, if you want to delete or move a file that’s locked, lets you know who’s hanging on to it.
And a useful set of privacy tools include options to delete your application, Windows and browser histories, securely delete confidential files so they can’t be recovered later, and even scrub entire hard drives clean of your personal information.