Category Archives: Computer Tune Up Utilities

Glary Utilities 2.52 – A Free Collection of System Tools and Utilities – In 2 Flavors

imageGlary Utilities Free (last updated Jan. 9, 2013), is a reasonably complete set of system tools with which even a relative newcomer to the computing game can tweak, repair, optimize and improve system performance. Since discovering Glary Utilities years ago, it has remained my go-to application for system maintenance and cleanup.

With a graphical user interface arranged in a clean straightforward manner, you can quickly find the tool you’re looking for: disk cleaner, uninstall manager, secure file deletion, memory optimizer, registry cleaner, duplicate file finder, tracks eraser, empty folder finder; a very convenient feature for those of us who like to test drive new software.

Installation: YIKES!!!!

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You can avoid all of the above (strongly recommended), by selecting the Slim Version – no toolbar. Alternatively, choose either of the two Portable Versions as per the following screen shot – no toolbar.

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I suspect that there may be users who see the advantages of installing a Toolbar such as the one offered as part of this installation package. Quite frankly though, I’ve yet to meet one. For a taste of my views on Toolbars please see – We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Toolbar!

For users who are comfortable with a “one click” solution – Glary Utilities covers the basics nicely.

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Results: running the Standard Version installed on an SSD HD. Scan time – 2 minutes and 8 seconds.

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Results: running the Portable Version from a Flash drive. Scan time – 2 minutes and 8 seconds.

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Dig a little deeper: The hands-on crowd can dig into the individual Modules and clean and massage their machine to their heart’s content.

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Users can even avoid the frustration of having to hunt down a number of standard Windows tools by selecting the appropriate tool from the System Tools menu.

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You can comfortably fine tune the application using the clear and precise Settings Menu. While the “Settings” menu is often the last item to be looked at following an application installation, it should be at the top of the “to do list” prior to running any new application. Unpleasant surprises can be avoided with a little prep work – first.

Of particular interest, to those of us who work with files using a “context menu”, Glary Utilities has a nice selection of new items which will be added to Windows Explorer.

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There are those who will take comfort in an included “Restore Center” but, a more prudent course to follow is – prior to completing any significant system changes – take the time to generate a manual Restore Point.

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Fast facts:

Disk Cleaner – Removes junk data from your disks and recovers disk space

Registry Cleaner – Scans and cleans up your registry to improve your system’s performance.

Shortcuts Fixer – Corrects the errors in your start menu & desktop shortcuts

Uninstall Manager – Uninstalls programs completely that you don’t need any more

Startup Manager – Manages programs which run automatically on startup

Memory Optimizer – Monitors and optimizes free memory in the background

Context Menu Manager – Manages the context-menu entries for files, folders…

Tracks Eraser – Erases all the traces,evidences,cookies,internet history and more

File Shredder – Erases files permanently so that no one can recover them

Internet Explorer Assistant – Manages Internet Explorer Add-ons and restores hijacked settings

File Encrypter and Decrypter – Protects your files from unauthorized access and use.

Disk Analysis – Shows you the disk space usage of your files and folders

Duplicate Files Finder – Searches for space-wasting and error producing duplicate files

Empty Folders Finder – Finds and removes empty folders in your windows

File Splitter and Joiner – Splits large files into smaller manageable files, and then rejoin them.

Process Manager – Monitors programs that run on your PC and stop spyware and Trojans.

Windows Standard Tools – Provides direct access to the useful windows default functions.

Current Version: 2.52.0.1698.

File Size: 8.59 MB.

Release Date: Jan. 9, 2013.

System requirements: Windows 8, 7, 2000, XP, Vista. 32/64bit versions.

Languages: 23 Languages.

Download at: Glarysoft

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Freeware, Integrated Tune Up Solutions, System Utilities

Free ToolWiz Care – The Competition Might Need To Worry

Toolwiz CareYou’ve heard it all before – this application “is a free tool set designed to speed up your PC and give your system full care”, or some variation of this. Occasionally, this statement might reasonably describe a freeware utility application – but, more often than not, hype is the operative word and user expectations are not met.

Toolwiz Care, described by the developers as “a free tool set designed to speed up your PC and give your system full care”, does not disappoint. This application is feature packed, and includes a wide range of tools that an average computer user should find powerful, efficient, and effective.

I’ve run with Toolwiz Care, off and on, for a month or so, and found that by and large, it lives up to the developer’s claims.

Installation is fast and very straightforward. The user may choose selected languages including –  English, Chinese, French, Hungarian, Korean, Polish, Spanish and Russian.

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First up is a quick system checkup – the “Checkup Settings” menu will allow you to set preference parameters as shown below. Clicking on any of the following screen  captures will expand the shot to its original size.

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On this run, 67 fixable issues were found. I’ll point out that since I normally run a tight lean test machine, I choose not to accept all of the recommended fixes.

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Next up, I took a peek at the “Speedup” applet. Again, I’ll point out that this test machine has been tweaked to the max so, you’ll notice that many of the suggestions for improvement will be “skipped” – the application has already determined this. On a typical machine however, I think an average user will benefit.

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The Tools menu is most impressive and, having run all of the available tools successfully, I have to give this feature set a huge “thumbs up”. Having quick access to such powerful tools, should be a major advantage for a typical user.

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The App Manager provides access to the Uninstall feature (not shown), but what I found most intriguing was, the listing of suggested freeware software for the user’s consideration. As it turns out, virtually all of the suggested software has received high marks, in previous reviews, here on this site.

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For those who like to run in a virtual environment while surfing the Internet, the developer’s have kept you in mind with the inclusion of a “one click simple” virtual “Time Freeze” component.

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I’ll go offside just for a moment. You may have noticed that an “Eye Care” feature can be selected which is designed to remind those of us who spend much of the day starting at a Monitor, to take a short break. The following screen capture is an example of the 2/3 reminders launched, as I was writing this post.

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Finally, if you choose to auto-start this application on Windows startup – the application will place a floating toolbar (see below), on the desktop for convenience.

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Fast Facts:

Time Freeze – Keeps your system safe and protect your computer from unwanted changes.

Eyes Care – Protects your eyes with scheduled warning

Virtual Safe – Creates a virtual safe which works like a regular drive where you can store files. The files stored in it are encrypted and cannot be accessed without the right password.

Game Booster – Concentrates every system resource for gaming purpose. It temporarily shuts background processes and other unnecessary Windows services & cleans out the RAM.

Password Manager – Helps you create secure passwords that are extremely difficult to crack or guess. Also it can help you to manage your password, account and other private information.

Password Generator – Creates highly secure passwords with upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation symbols.

Duplicate File Finder – Allows you to scan all duplicate files in specified path. You can remove some of them and free up your disk space.

File Undelete – Ensures recovery of data permanently deleted from the Recycle Bin or with the help of SHIFT + DELETE key.

Disk Doctor – Helps you to check your hard disk both in I/O access and file system and give you a full report for the checking.

Disk Cleaner – Cleans your hard disk from temporary files like those in the system temporary folder and the Recycle Bin.

Registry Cleaner – Makes the PC system more stable by cleaning out the bad Registry entries.

Registry Backup and Restore – Helps you to backup or restore your Registry with a simple click

Registry Defrager – Rebuilds PC’s Registry, making the entire system run quicker and smoother.

Privacy Cleaner – Protects the user’s privacy by deleting all activity history and surfing traces.

Fast Defrag – Defragments the hard drive with it’s smart engine, keep the PC running efficiently and prevent the formation of other fragmented files.

Checkup Module – Provides a full report of user’s PC system and allows the user to fix all problems with one simple click.

Startup Report – Provides a easy to read report that shows the start-up time of user’s system. It offers a detailed list of the processes loaded since booting.

Startup Optimizer – Allows the user to disable or delay the loading of any startup entries. It also provides the users with suggestions of standard processes.

System requirements: Windows XP (32 bit), Vista, Win 7, Win 8 (32 bit and 64 bit). I tested this application on Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Languages: English, Chinese, French, Hungarian, Korean, Polish, Spanish and Russian languages.

Download at: ToolWiz Care

Credit where credit is due – a big “thank you” to my good buddy Rick Robinette over at What’s On My PC, for turning me on to this application.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Freeware, Software, System Utilities

TuneUp Utilities 2012 – The Classic Computer Maintenance Application

imageThe Internet is awash in computer tuning tools – tools designed to help computer users manage, maintain, optimize, configure and troubleshoot their computer system. From freebies to shareware, to full-blown commercial products, the market is saturated with applications targeted at those who suspect that their PC is operating at less than maximum potential. That pretty well describes most of us, I should think.

Those of us who are technically competent are, I suspect, comfortable using any number of free system tools readable available for download on the Internet – tools that can act as a helpmate in tweaking and maintaining computers.

Now that’s very cool – if you’re a high end user. But, if you’re a “I know where the power button is” – type of user, you’ll need more than just a handful of freebie helpmate applications to assist you in tweaking and maintaining your computer.

Luckily, there are tune-up applications designed specifically for average users – applications that make it easy for a typical user to achieve the same level of high performance as a techie. One such application, an application which can rightfully be called a “classic” in it’s class, is TuneUp Utilities 2012.

I’ve tested every released version of TuneUp Utilities going back to 1997, and I’ve come to rely on it to help me get the very best out of all my machines. Despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of free software, there are times when only a commercial application will meet all of my needs in one interface.

Quick overview:

Following installation, you will have the opportunity to analyze your computer to search out issue that are negatively impacting performance.

For this test, I’ve installed TuneUp Utilities 2012 in Windows 8 developer edition with it’s hilariously absurd Metro interface.

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An abundance of modules, shown in the Windows 8 screen shot (above), are available to analyze and repair, maintain and improve, and configure the operating system. The following screen capture, in Windows 7, shows a more familiar application module layout.

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In step one of the test, I checked the system status and choose to allow the application to recommend improvements.

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When the analysis phase is completed, system issues that require action can be dealt with easily and quickly.

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Done! Virtually in the blink of an eye!

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Fourteen days later, after running the 1-Click maintenance module intermittently, the following screen capture shows just a small number of issues which need to be corrected. Optionally, the 1-Click maintenance module can be set to run automatically which will ensure that any issues which arise will be dealt with immediately.

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Common computer problems are a snap for TuneUp Utilities 2012 to deal with. Simply select the problem in TuneUp’s Repair Wizard and in a couple of clicks, the issue is resolved.

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As with previous reviews of  TuneUp Utilities, I could go on and on describing the additional features that are included in this terrific application but, I think you get the point. This program is overwhelmingly inclusive, and provides virtually every tool and applet, that an average computer user is ever likely to need.

Is it worth $49.95 US for a 3 machine (many of us have more than one computer), license? In my view the answer is a definite – yes. TuneUp Utilities 2012 is easier to use than ever, is overwhelmingly inclusive, and provides virtually every tool and applet, that an average computer user is ever likely to need.

Take a free test run on TuneUp Utilities 2012 for 15 days, and see if you don’t agree that this is one commercial application that offers excellent value – $49.95 US for a 3 machine license.

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (all 64 bit compatible).

Download a fully functional 15 day trial version at: TuneUp Utilities

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Integrated Tune Up Solutions, TuneUp Utilities, Windows 8, Windows Tips and Tools

System Mechanic Free – Click To Fix Windows Errors and Optimize PC Performance

I’ve previously reviewed System Mechanic here a number of times, including October of last year – a review in which I said –

System Mechanic 10– a highly effective performance-tuning application designed for the average user.  System Mechanic is the most inclusive system application I have ever tested. And, the developers have managed to do this in such a way, that an average user does not have to drill down through complex menu structures to correct performance issues that negatively impact his computing experience.

In a first for iolo, System Mechanic’s developer, they have released a cut down freeware version of the this powerful tune-up application – System Mechanic Free.

System Mechanic Free is comprised of 7 powerful core tools, designed for system repair and maintenance, which follow the times tested “one click simple” user interface developed in the commercial version of System Mechanic. An ideal GUI for both novice and power users.

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Fast facts:

Registry Tuner: The most effective tool of its kind, Registry Tuner uses regularly updated research to safely repair registry errors and stabilize Windows computers.

Startup Optimizer: Eliminates the top 25 most common startup bottlenecks in order to noticeably speed up Windows start time.

Memory Mechanic: Reclaims more RAM memory for an instant performance boost.

PC Cleanup: Cleans up system-clogging junk files and clutter.

Drive Accelerator: Defragments hard drives to improve drive speed and performance.

Shortcut Repair: Reconnects broken icons and shortcuts.

Internet Connection Repair: Heals broken internet connections to get PCs back online.

I should point out, I have not tested System Mechanic Free, but I have had substantial experience with the commercial version, and the tools included in this freebie. They work as advertised.

System requirements: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP

Download at: iolo (read the page carefully to ensure you download the free version).

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Tackle One of the Top PC Performance Killers: Low Disk Space

In this article, guest writer Tibor Schiemann, President and Managing Partner of software developer TuneUp, (the TuneUp Utilities 2011 folks), takes the mystery out of why low disk space can slow your computer to a crawl.

imageNo matter how fast your PC is, low disk space can slow any computer down, especially newer ones with fast, solid-state drives (SSDs). In fact, low disk space is typically the #1 reason for a sluggish machine, and one that is even overlooked by IT pros. In order to tackle this issue, it’s first important to understand why low disk space significantly slows down programs, affects SSD drives, increases load times and causes dozens of error messages.

Windows and most third-party programs need disk space to breath. Windows, for example, needs space for its paging file, which extends a PC’s physical memory (RAM) in case it runs out. When there is low disk space, the paging file can’t grow when required and impacts PC performance. Low disk space can also reduce SSDs’ speed, as it requires these flash-based disks to read single data cells into memory before writing new data. This will even crash read/write performance.

Depending on its demand, the paging file dynamically increases and decreases in size. Imagine if your PC’s disk space were to fall below the 500 to 1000 MB limit. Once the paging file tries to increase and hits the disk space limit, you can expect terrible performance, and your system will most likely crash.

Windows isn’t the only system depending on at least a couple GB of free disk space; many applications create files to store data temporarily. PhotoShop, for example, is known to create a “scratch disk” when running. This disk has a dynamic size ranging from a couple of hundred MBs to several GBs. Expect PhotoShop, or any other application for that matter, to run poorly or not at all once this temporary file takes up the rest of your hard disk limit.

Unfortunately, this problem persists on modern machines as well. Take a netbook, a low-budget notebook or even a high-end machine with an SSD drive. Your music libraries or even stored photos might just be enough to hit the limit quickly—add the regular size of a typical Windows installation (20 GB) and applications, and you’re working at the limit of their disk’s capacity.

Of course, I wanted to test this theory to make sure that low disk space is, in fact, a serious performance threat. For the tests, I used an Intel Penryn C2D with 3 GHz, 4 GB of RAM and an SSD. In order to run low on disk space, I simply duplicated a couple of files that were several hundred MB until I hit the disk space limit.

Surprisingly, once my disk space sank below the dangerous 100 MB mark, the PC didn’t suffer. This is probably due to the fact that both my RAM and the default paging file compensated for the current memory need. However, things got shaky once I started to work more heavily. Programs and applications suddenly wouldn’t start, and those I was currently running didn’t react. For example, iTunes didn’t respond to any clicks—it froze yet kept playing music in the background.

And the PC’s performance continued to take a turn for the worse when I maxed out disk space. The boot procedure took more than twice as long, according to XPerf from MicrosoftsWindowsPerformanceToolkit. Since many of my regular programs refused to launch, I couldn’t benchmark the start-up times for many applications. After trying Outlook, PhotoShop, Indesign and even Live Messenger, I was finally able to get Internet Explorer 9 to launch. But, time basically stood still the moment I clicked on the web browser icon—nothing happened. After about 13 seconds, the web browser appeared on the screen and started to load a website, and that was all I could do—the system was unusable.

Given my test results, low disk space is certainly a performance killer. Luckily, there are several tips to follow that can help you quickly rescue your system from low disk space. First, TuneUpUtilities 2011’s Gain Disk Space feature can be used to remove unnecessary files and old backups, while TuneUp Disk Space Explorer can help you find huge data hogs. It’s also helpful to do some routine maintenance and use Microsoft’s Windows Disk Cleanup tool. Additionally, uninstall unnecessary Windows features and remove large programs that you no longer need to free up your machine’s disk space. This “FiveWaystoGetRidofDataClutter” blog post provides step-by-step instructions on how to implement these tips.

It’s important to keep a close eye on the amount of free disk space your computer has. When disk space starts running low, make sure to take the necessary steps to improve performance and get your machine back up and running again in no time.

For additional tips and tricks on maintaining PC performance, I invite you to visit the TuneUp Blog about Windows (http://blog.tuneup.com).

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Computer Tune Up Utilities, Guest Writers, Hard Drive Maintenance, Integrated Tune Up Solutions, Software, System Memory Management, System Utilities, TuneUp Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Slow Computer? Optimizing Windows Services Can Help

image Windows is a terrific operating system – no doubt about it (although, some will argue otherwise). Windows meets most of  my computing needs, as it does yours, I expect. The chances of my computing needs and your computing needs being the same however, are remote.

Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t differentiate between your needs and my needs. On installation, the OS generally assumes we both have the same needs (including security needs), and configures Windows Services accordingly.

Running with fewer services though, especially a service that you don’t use, or need, puts less strain on both the CPU and system memory. In some cases, reducing the number of running services can turn a sluggish PC around. So, if you want to get the best out of your machine, tweaking services is good practice.

Examples of services I’ve tweaked on this machine:

I don’t have a printer attached to this particular machine I’m using this morning, so I don’t need the spooler service running.

I don’t run a Tablet PC so I don’t need the Tablet PC Input service running.

The Fax service is disabled since I don’t use Fax.

I don’t allow any remote access to this machine so any services dealing with remote access are disabled. For example – I can’t imaging allowing remote access to my registry so, “allowing remote users to change my registry settings” (on this machine), is disabled.

Tweaking services however, is not without its hazards. For example, if a particular service is disabled, any other service/services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Adjusting a service setting incorrectly, has the potential to leave a computer in an unbootable condition. I know – I’ve managed to do just that, a time or two, over the years.

Recently, an open source (free), application that promises to allow a user to tweak Windows services in a safe and easy way, caught my attention. Vista Services Optimizer, a Windows tweaking utility, which despite its name, has been optimized to run in Windows 7 as well, makes good on this promise.

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Even a casual user, with a few mouse clicks, can easily optimize Windows services to increase performance and security, automatically.

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A more experienced user gets a little more leeway, and can manually tweak using a more in-depth feature list.

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Very experienced users can tweak to their heart’s content, with the built-in Services Manager.

Here’s an example – I recently made some changes to the playlist on my IPod, which meant running ITunes; a bloated, cannibalistic piece of crapware that eats resources through various (usually unwanted), added services. Adjusting these parasitic services was a snap using Services Manager.

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In case your tweaking goes a step too far, recovery is just a mouse click away by simply using the built-in Smart Rescue Center.

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Bonus Module

Since many games are processor, system memory, and graphic intensive, setting up Gaming Mode will give your system an immediate performance boost when needed. Keep in mind that the best solution to improved gaming (all other components being up to the task), is the installation of a high-end graphic card.

Additionally, this module can be used to temporarily turn off unneeded Windows features, and free up computer resources, when running applications that benefit from a “lean” system profile – e.g., Photoshop.

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Fast facts:

System analysis highlights services that can be turned off

Automatic tune-up based on user’s system requirements

Restore function to restore to system defaults

Profile building

Automatic service state snapshots

Gaming mode

I don’t think it could be any easier to tweak Windows services than this. All the user needs to do is tick the appropriate check boxes, and the Services Optimizer takes care of the rest.

System requirements: Windows Vista – SP1 or higher (32-bit or 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit), Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Service Pack 1

Last updated: July 15, 2010

Download at: Smart PC Utilities

For those who need a portable version, you’re in luck – a portable version is available. However, Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 with Service Pack 1, must be resident on the host machine.

Note: During the install, you will have the option of installing a toolbar – don’t!

XP users – Optimizer XP 3.5 is available for download at Softpedia. I have not tested this application.

If you’re a real “hands-on” techie, then visit Charles “Black Viper” Sparks Website, (the best tweaking site on the Internet), where you’ll find  complete explanations of each service, and advice on which services you can safely disable – plus, a lot more.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Freeware, Open Source, Portable Applications, Slow Computer, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, USB, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista

TechPaul’s Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 – Software License Giveaway Contest

I recently reviewed Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 here (Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 – A Powerful “One Stop” Optimization And Maintenance Suite),  and judged it to be an impressive solution for a host of issues affecting a computer’s performance and reliability. BoostSpeed 5 can uncover bundles of issues and problems, and then correct those problems – often, with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Review takeaway:

If you’re an average user, disappointed with your computer’s performance, or you’re just tired of having to deal with reoccurring unexplained issues, you may find that Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 is worth its $49.95 purchase price.

If you’d like an opportunity to possibly pickup a free license for Auslogics BoostSpeed 5, and save yourself $50, then checkout TechPaul’s Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 – software license giveaway contest.

From the Tech – for Everyone site:

Folks, I had decided to not run any more contests; but, I recently received an email from a company I trust, asking me for a review. The upside for you is: the folks at Auslogics have generously donated three licenses (a license can be used on up to three PC’s) to me, to award to my readers.

So, I am going to do a random drawing contest from folks who “enter” by posting a comment. The drawing will close midnight (Pacific) Thursday, April 7 — the winners announce Friday — so act now.

How to enter? Residents of the US and Canada may enter the contest drawing by simply clicking on “comment” and entering a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you the license key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional.

To enter the contest go here.

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