Iolo System Mechanic Pro is a powerful cleanup and optimization tool that’ll get your PC running like new, and bolster its privacy settings. The latest version of this PC system utilities and repair software has a fresh design that’s easy to navigate, with a choice of dark and light color schemes.
There are two types of scan available: quick and deep. A quick scan will only look for internet and Windows junk files (and, as the name suggests, takes only a few seconds). A deep scan, meanwhile, will also look for broken or missing registry entries, hard drive fragmentation, programs that delay your PC’s startup unnecessarily and other performance issues.
Whichever you choose, once it’s complete, Iolo System Mechanic Pro will give your system a score and offer to rectify any issues it’s identified. The simplest way to address the problems discovered is to click the large ‘Repair all’ button. That's handy as a quick solution, but it can pay to delve into the results and see exactly what has been discovered so you can tailor the fixes to suit you.
For example, you might want to prevent the software from emptying your Recycle Bin if you’re in the habit of using it as a holding area for files you could need in future. And you may prefer to keep your browser cookies if you’re currently logged into several web services and don’t want to have to enter your credentials all over again.
Besides the scanning tool, Iolo System Mechanic Pro includes a toolkit of additional features for keeping you safe online: Privacy Guardian (which blocks ad trackers, prevents ‘fingerprinting’ and wipes your search history), ByePass (a password manager) and Malware Killer (for identifying and removing malicious software).
All these components must be installed on top of the standard software, but they’re quite small and should only take a few seconds to activate. These aren’t strictly essential – you could download free tools that perform the same tasks (such as CCleaner and LastPass) – but having them all easily accessible in a single place is convenient.
You’ll also be prompted to install the System Shield antivirus engine. You can defer this, but you’ll be left without antivirus software protection in the meantime. After the initial installation, the software will keep itself updated with new virus definitions to ensure you’re always protected.
You can run System Shield manually whenever you like from within System Mechanic Pro (and it’s a good idea to do this the first time you install the software), but it can also run scheduled checks and provide real-time protection from threats.
Windows 10 is notorious for sharing data with Microsoft in the interest of improving its services, so you might be pleased to know that Iolo System Mechanic Pro includes a set of tools for managing these settings. Again, these switches aren’t the only way to tighten up your privacy – you can do it within Windows itself, if you know where to look – but Iolo’s approach makes everything clearer and more accessible.
A little further down you’ll find settings for optimizing your PC’s performance with real-time tools that maximize CPU performance and turn off unnecessary services when you run demanding apps. There’s a wide range of options (gaming, video production, CAD design, programming, office productivity and web browsing). But in fact many of these are very similar, and the software would probably work just as well with only three options: Performance, Endurance and Balanced.
Our only real complaint with Iolo System Mechanic Pro is the large notification in the middle of the main interface informing you how much time is remaining on your subscription (complete with an ‘Add time now’ button). It seems a little pushy when you’ve already paid for the premium version of the software.
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That aside, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more complete set of tools for keeping your PC running like new. We just hope that Iolo doesn’t add even more features in a future update without paring back the existing selection a little.