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Advanced System Optimizer 3 gives people a comprehensive suite of utilities fronted by an interface that showcases an excellent use of color-coded icons, making banal system tasks easy to complete--if not exciting.

Advanced System Optimizer 3 gives people a comprehensive suite of utilities fronted by an interface that showcases an excellent use of color-coded icons, making banal system tasks easy to complete--if not exciting. However, its restrictive trial could prevent some people from fully exploring the program.

The program attempts to be all things to all people, and includes tools that can be split into three categories: maintenance, security, and backup. Advanced System Optimizer focuses on the maintenance side of things, and includes a Registry optimizer and cleaner, a disk defragmenter, a disk repair utility that claims to fix errors before drive failure, an explorer for managing disk usage by file type and size, a memory optimizer for freeing RAM, a game mode, and a driver updater. Security is not the focus here, but it does include malware protection, secure deletion, and a file encryption utility. Backup and recovery features include rescuing deleted files, a backup manager that streamlines restoration, and a separate system file backup and restore feature. The Smart PC Care feature is new, and allows users to run multiple maintenance tasks with one click.

The new main window is well-crafted and takes a page from security suites by providing status updates in one place, letting you know what the problems are in general terms. At the end of a scan, a small Details link will appear to the right of the scan type. Click it to drill down to see specifically which files, Registry entries, or cookies will be deleted. The harsh trial compares favorably with its competitors, but, like them, it's so tight that most users will find it challenging to fairly evaluate the program's efficacy.

Editors' note, November 6, 2009: The review has been updated to fix an inaccuracy, but the overall score has not changed.

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