Most utilities that promise to clean, tweak, and protect your PC share a shortcoming: they do too much and too little. They give users little control over the sweeping changes they make, sometimes disastrously. WinSettings Pro from FileStream offers plenty of control, but it requires more knowledge and effort than the "all-in-one" tools. However, that's precisely why we recommend it over the free and cheap alternatives.
WinSettings Pro's primary access point is an icon in the Notification Area, aka system tray. The program's stylishly skinned interface and Windows-style layout is anchored by the Group Bar, a left-hand console panel labeled with the program's primary functions: Cleanup, with 10 separate system cleaning tools; Registry, with around 20 tools; and Desktop, which includes customization features such as wallpaper and background music as well as a screencapture tool. We sampled the Backup, Restore Point, Clean Up Track, Remove Junk Files, Remove Startup, and File Association tools, among others; each had an impressive number of options and settings. Next we clicked Remove Duplicate Files to test WinSettings Pro's ability to weed through our digital snapshots, which are so badly organized they might as well be in a shoebox. We selected a drive, navigated to our Pictures library, added a folder to the Exclude list, selected the check boxes for our Compare Options, and clicked Scan. After a thorough scan, WinSettings Pro identified far more duplicates than we'd expected to see, with the option to select items to move to the Recycle Bin or delete permanently. The Desktop section has a neat Notification Icon tool that we used to add system tray icon for system tools such as SysConfig and the MMC as well as WinSettings Pro's various tools. The Wallpaper and Screensaver features didn't seem to add much to the built-in features in recent Windows releases, but the screencapture tool is much more versatile than the Windows snipping tool, with 16 capture options. WinSettings Pro also offers extensive statistics and reporting tools as well as passwords and other protections.
We've barely scratched the surface of the useful features WinSettings Pro packs, such as Windows and Internet tweaks, special folders and names, adding items to context menus, and editing restrictions. WinSettings Pro has something for everybody, but it's not for everybody; users who know something about their systems will get much more out of it than those who are less experienced.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of FileStream WinSettings Pro 10.1. The trial version is limited to 20 days.