These speedup utilities aren’t worth your money

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

Can you really get the extra oomph you want for your system just by shelling out a few bucks for a speedup program?

Many effective utilities do exist, but in my testing I found three that I consider to be just a waste of your hard-earned cash.

Dozens of Windows utilities promise to optimize your system’s memory, improve your Internet connection speed, and rev up disk-access times to provide an overall performance boost. Some of these benefits can be demonstrated. For example, in a Sept. 11, 2008, Best Software column (paid content), Windows Secrets contributing editor Scott Spanbauer found three Windows cleanup utilities worth recommending: Business Logic’s WinCleaner OneClick Professional Clean, Piriform’s CCleaner, and PC Pitstop’s PC Optimize.

Other programs promise fantastical performance. The makers of System Speedup Wizard and PC Speeduper, two nearly identical programs I tested, claim to include “new 2007 hard-disk optimization technology that allows your computer to read data up to 300% faster from your hard drive.”

The Web pages for these products go on to say that each one “optimizes your RAM and configures other settings to speed up your Internet connection and overall computer performance.”

To put these and similar claims to the test, I timed how long it took an XP system to perform the following everyday computing tasks:

  • Boot to the Windows login screen
  • Log into Windows
  • Open a large QuickTime movie file
  • Open a large RTF file in WordPad
  • Exit Windows
I then installed each of four speedup utilities for this review, ran each program’s optimize routine (if it had one), and timed the tasks again. I restored my test machine to its original configuration between each product test. I ran the tests multiple times for each product and averaged the results.

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