PROS / After optimization, boot-up speed improved 28 percent.
CONS / It received a D for ease of use.
VERDICT / Pointstone's System Cleaner 7 provided an overall improvement of just 9 percent in our tests, but the boot-up speed was improved by an impressive 28 percent.
Developed by Pointstone Software, a provider of other types of system repair software since 1996, System Cleaner 7 is meant to improve and maintain your PC's performance. While our tests showed that the overall improvement to PC performance is likely minimal, the PC repair app proved it could dramatically improve startup speed. In addition, the diagnostic consistency score was perfect, which is impressive when you consider that only one other product also was perfect. For these reasons, System Cleaner earns the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for the best PC system utility software.
System repair software's purpose is to improve slow computers by fixing a host of errors that have accumulated over time and have caused the PC to slow down. To test this, we started by benchmarking our test computer with PCMark 8, which tested word and data processing, graphics processing, web browsing and video chat quality. Then we used all the optimization tools offered by System Cleaner, which was followed by another round of benchmarking tests. This way we could compare performance before and after optimization. We also included tests that gauged boot-up speed improvements and diagnostic consistency. Each test was performed multiple times so that the results weren't isolated.
On average, System Cleaner 7 improved our test computer's overall performance 9 percent, which isn't impressive. It's just barely above average and only 3.5 percent below the best-performing app in our tests. It's worth noting that even a 12.5-percent improvement is unnoticeable without benchmarking software, which is why you shouldn't expect a major boost to your computer's speed after using system repair software. That said, our results are indicative, and you may experience different results. Also, just because you don't notice the improvement doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. PC maintenance is one of the purposes of system repair software.
While the overall performance improvements aren't impressive, this app's improvement to boot-up speed is 28 percent. When you consider that a 28-percent improvement on a one-minute boot-up is almost 17 seconds, this is huge. For this alone, System Cleaner 7 is worth your consideration.
On average, System Cleaner cleared out 450MB of additional storage space after optimization. This wasn't impressive, but at least it was positive. Many of the apps we tested decreased storage space after optimization, even when they claimed to recover storage space.
System Cleaner is one of the few PC repair software suites in our review with a 100-percent diagnostic consistency score. This is impressive when you consider that this rate was taken from nearly 30 rounds of testing. Each round involved scanning the computer for issues, fixing the issues and rescanning the computer. On the second scan, the system repair app's diagnostic tools shouldn't pick up any errors. With System Cleaner, it never picked up any additional errors, which means you can trust it when it says its fixed all the problems. Many of the apps we tested either missed or exaggerated issues.
Unfortunately, the biggest downside to System Cleaner is the ease of use, which received a D. Intermediate and advanced users are likely going to find the app very easy to use, but for a novice user, the app can be difficult to navigate and many features require more steps than other apps. However, the installation received a B+ for ease of use, which means that even novice users won't find it difficult to install.
System Cleaner has a lot of advanced optimization tools. Of the tools we felt were important, the only advanced tool that was missing was file encryption, which is a minor but extremely effective security feature that ensures only you can view sensitive files. Still, you can back up and restore your entire system. You can recover accidentally deleted files. You can repair shortcuts and registry issues. It also features a security and privacy optimization tool. Advanced users will appreciate the in-depth tools.
Help & Support
Pointstone's support is disappointing, especially if you value help and support. The software comes with three computer licenses, which means you can install it on three computers. However, there is no phone and live-chat support. And there's not technically an email contact to support, just a support claim ticket. The service provides a FAQs page, which is fairly extensive and answers most of the common concerns you are likely to encounter.
Pointstone's System Cleaner 7 is one of the best system repair software applications in our review. While the 9 percent overall improvement to our test computer is nothing to brag about, the 28 percent boot-up speed improvement is. In addition, you can trust that when it recognizes and fixes an issue that it's actually working because it's one of only two products we tested with a perfect diagnostic score. The only significant downside is the low ease of use, which means it may pose a significant learning curve to a novice user.