Macecraft Software's PowerTools Lite is a freeware registry cleaner and system maintenance tool based on the company's Jv16 PowerTools suite. It places a lot of emphasis on safety and user control, which aren't always compatible in free system cleaners. It manages to be both safe and easy to use, on the one hand, and thorough and effective on the other, thanks to a PDF-based manual, clear explanations of each step, user-selectable safety levels, considerable built-in backup capabilities, and plenty of warnings when appropriate.
Setup takes 2 to 10 minutes, but it only has to be done once. The main interface is a simple affair with just three buttons: Clean and fix my computer, Backups, and Settings. We opened the Settings first, making few changes to the default options, which include fonts, destination directories, and backup settings. As its first duty, the program scanned our system thoroughly, returning PC and registry health scores in the high 90s. However, anything less than 100 percent on each score is grounds for improvement, according to PowerTools, so we clicked the Clean button. Unlike most scan tools, this offered safety settings, additional safety settings, a search word feature for targeting specific registry entries, and an ignore words list. We could emphasize safety or speed in scans via a slider. We started with the default scan settings but didn't click Fix until we'd also run the safest scan for comparison. This level ignores all Windows components and compares any files against two separate engines to make sure they agree it's junk. The default scan turned up little that the safest scan didn't also find, so we ran the repair tool, which included a backup description phase to make it easier to restore files if things go wrong. Our system showed 100 percent scores in both categories when the job was done. We also ran the most aggressive scan, to see what it turned up, but we didn't run the fix until we'd thoroughly checked everything and also run two separate utilities for comparison. Interestingly, PowerTools' most aggressive scan took much less time yet turned up many more entries, although we chose not to remove many of them.
We like PowerTools Lite, not just because we can safely recommend it to just about anyone but also because it has something for just about every user, from beginner to expert.