Older and slower systems will get the biggest PCBoost

This shareware system booster doesn't really do much more than most newer Windows versions already do.

We've seen plenty of tools that promise to boost your PC's speed, but like the proverbial bear in the woods, some do and some don't. PCBoost promises to boost your PC's speed, too, and it has some options and displays that can help you do that, up to a point. It's shareware, though you can try it for free for 30 days. It's affordable, but it doesn't do more than many free system optimizers, and actually does less than others. It claims to exert control over how your PC prioritizes processor resources, "accelerating" (prioritizing) some programs over others. Many common programs that don't benefit from acceleration are already included on a block list that you can add apps to.

Our first hint that PCBoost might not be much of a bargain came when we opened the user interface and saw the pixelated edge of the CPU usage display. We clicked View and Change Settings, but there's only one control, a Processor performance settings slider with four stops plus a checkbox to run apps on the fastest core available in multicore CPUs. We could Save or Reset our choices or open the Help file. To its credit, PCBoost's Help file explains much of how the tool works in detail, including the Advanced settings, most significant among them being the Application block list and how to add programs to keep them from being accelerated. But Windows already lets you prioritize for programs or background services and shows CPU use in greater detail. There's a benchmarking tool, but it's not much more useful than the Windows Experience Index.

This raises an important point: PCBoost will be most effective in older, more basic Windows installations that lack the tweaks built into newer versions like Windows 7, and in older machines that have been poorly maintained or never optimized. In particular, gamers struggling to squeeze every drop of speed from an old sparkbox should give it a look. If it boosts your PC, buy it. If not, try another tool. But if you already have Windows' Advanced System Settings and Performance Information and Tools, give them a look, too.

Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of PCBoost 4.4.1.2013.

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