Seek solutions to PC problems with Soluto

Speed up your startup and tweak your PC with this unique knowledge-based freeware.

Soluto is an unusual program. This "Anti-Frustration Software" analyzes your system and compares its findings with an online knowledge base that proposes solutions to various performance bottlenecks. It focuses on three areas: Chop Boot, which reduces your startup time; Lighten Web Browser, which shows you how to speed up your surfing by optimizing your Web browser; and Heal Crashes, which tries to fix any problems causing programs to crash.

Installing Soluto requires a reboot, during which it analyzes your system's boot process and looks for improvements. Soluto's animated graphics and flow-based layout give it a feel somewhat reminiscent of Windows Media Center. It identified three categories of startup entries, displayed in expandable, proportional, color-coded sections on a hierarchical line. The first section, "No-brainer," listed four apps that we could remove from the boot process right away. One was our backup software, which we preferred not to change. However, the other entries listed recommendations to pause or delay an item during startup, based on what other users had done. We were more circumspect with the 10 apps listed in the "Potentially removable" section, which the program says is for advanced users. We made a few changes but mostly left these programs alone, which the program recommended, too. By far the largest section is startup entries that Soluto can't change--yet--and also programs that shouldn't be changed, such as antivirus software.

Soluto's online database grows over time as more users report their findings. We can see how it could help guide inexperienced users in choosing what to boot and what to skip. The browser tool identified 4 add-ons we could remove and 11 others we could potentially remove. We disabled a few, though most were there for a reason. The Heal Crashes tool correctly noted that our system had not crashed recently but offered to help fix it if it did. For inexperienced users with crash-prone systems, this could be a useful tool.

Soluto's interface bears a "beta" label, but we had no trouble using the program. While it made few drastic changes to our system, and thus no drastic improvements, it did a fine job of analyzing our system's potential weak points and proposing tested solutions. If your system takes too long to start or it's slow and balky, give Soluto a try. Someone might have already proposed a solution to your problem.

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