Overly simplified tool

Simplify system maintenance with Smart PC Suite, but be careful of the consequences.

While this program goes a long way in removing the intimidating elements from system maintenance, it simplifies the matter to the point that it hides important details. As a result, an uninformed novice could actually harm their system instead of enhancing its performance.

Smart PC Suite launches a colorfully designed palette of icons, each of which represents a tool for performing system maintenance and enhancement. Actually, the icons and color scheme look like something designed for a child's game site instead of for serious business like maintaining a PC system. The provided tools include the usual suspects for this type of performance toolbox, but they're even named in simplistic ways: Fix PC Problems, Tune Your PC, Recover Deleted Files, Antivirus, Ensure Personal Privacy, and the rather generically named Useful Utilities.

The explanations and directions for each tool were also simple. We liked that we could display a list of the files and the path of each. We didn't like the nag screen that came up whenever we launched a tool, and we didn't like that Smart PC Suite failed when it tried to recover a deleted file by saying it couldn't access the drive--even though testers had full administrative rights. We also didn't like that the program didn't specify on what it based its spyware and virus definitions.

Experienced users will certainly want to skip this one, while novice users may be better off relying on Vista's built-in tools instead of on a tool that simplifies the clean up process too much.

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