Advanced SystemCare Free
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Full user review
"Can't beat it for free."
Easy to use and effective.
GUI seems a bit juvenile, as if it was designed by or for third-graders. No registry compaction utility, just a defragmenter and a repair utility.
Back in the bad old days of Win9X, using Norton Utilities was a must, but Norton fell short when XP came along. Now comes Advanced System Care, and it's free! It seems at first glance to lack Norton's "speed disk", but simply download & install "Smart Defrag" (also free) and you're set, ASC-free even has a shortcut built-in and ready for it in the "utilities" section. Just uncheck the defragmenter in the "diagnostics" section and use the smart defragger from the utilities page.
I have a 2003-vintage P4 system that was getting cranky. In fact, as I was attempting to plug in a thumb drive with the ASC-free installer on it it froze up. I haven't seen the "safe to remove" balloon for years. Advanced System Care Free cured those glitches, and cut its boot time in half.
I'm not sure why IOBit found it necessary to add the center "Care" button. It automatically runs both the "maintenance" and "diagnostics" buttons and the fixes, without any user feedback at all, but I found the "normal" buttons so easy to use that the "Care" button seems overkill. Anyone who needs or wants this button would be unlikely to use any system care utility!
I would like to see the registry utilities more robust. After all, Windows is entirely driven by the registry. I was very happy with the repairs ASC-free did, but I would like to see a utility that would repair, defrag, compact, and move the registry to the front of the partition. I believe this would require a restart, I think it would have to be done in DOS. Any ambitious young programmers listening?
All in all, Advanced System Care Free is the best thing that's happened to Windows since XP debuted.