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Improve PC performance

The folks over at Support.com run a tight a ship; at least, that's the impression we got testing the latest version of Registry cleaner and PC optimizer, Aro 2013. There have been quite a few improvements as well as some drawbacks.

Aro 2013 promises to speed up your PC by performing an all-around cleanup. It will scour through your machine looking for junk files, broken or missing Registry keys, and security vulnerabilities. The look and feel of the original Aro is there, but be warned that this is a different beast than its predecessor.

To start off with some good changes, installing and removal is a breeze, a huge improvement over the 2012 version that we very much appreciated. The bad news is, Aro 2013 now limits its free trial to fixing only the first 50 errors (previously 100). This is important because Aro 2013 does not joke around when it say it will find every junk file. The scan will take you through everything from browser temp folders (IE, FF, and Chrome), the Recycle Bin, to old error logs, shortcuts, cached files, and temp system icons. The findings it returns may be a bit shocking. On a clean image of our test machine running Windows 7, Aro reported more than 1,500 junk files (leftover installation files). On a regular-use PC, it reported a whopping 4,000 files.

We appreciate the thoroughness here, but felt it was unnecessary for everything to be marked as an error. It would be nice to have a clear distinction on what files are critical and should be removed right away or things that are remnants of an old uninstall that could very well be left alone with minimal impact. An option to organize and remove by threat level (or size) would be nice.

The Registry cleaner runs with the same fervent focus on search and destroy. Most of the errors reported were from ACTIVEX and COM entries, that although not detrimental, removing them would have a minimal impact on system performance. Serious problems were caught, however; Aro did find some error with shortcuts of applications that we are still currently using. On the clean image, 277 Registry errors; the regular-use PC report returned 1,092 errors. With so many problems, we wondered how the PC could have booted up in the first place.

The Security scanner is a nice feature, but for some reason Aro did not view our Avast Free AV as adequate protection. Corporate-level McAfee did the trick instead. Update notifier is a good feature if you're looking for complete security. We just didn't feel like updating Flash for the fourth time this month.

That being said, 50 free fixes in the scores of hundreds (if not thousands) of errors amounts to very little. If you're using the trial, forget about the cleaner and use it as a scanner. The registered version is where Aro really shines. After cleaning out all the errors and performing the Registry optimizer (defragmenting), our regular use machine did feel spiffier in bootup time and programs launch. With the restoration feature, you'd also get a little extra security in case anything critical was accidentally removed.

You can set a schedule on when and how often Aro runs without supervision as well as exclude things from the scan (Web browser folders, Recycle Bin, etc.). The one annoyance is that you still can't opt out of autostart with Windows. Aro is a bit of a nag if you have unsolved error upon boot.

Aro 2013 is a good improvement over its predecessor, but it still has some ways to go. As a trial product it can seem to be on the stingy side and most likely will not win over the freeware crowd. But as a paid software, Aro is a good program for those serious about speeding up their machine and perfect for the OCD types who are keen on keeping their PC pristine and optimized.

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