Hands-on: WinOptimizer 6

Ashampoo unwraps version 6 of the popular WinOptimizer utility, exclusive on Wednesday to CNET Download.com. Here's what's new, what's different, and what's wrong with the major update.

Since its early days, WinOptimizer has folded a ton of PC-optimizing tools into an attractive, compact, and easily navigable interface. WinOptimizer 6, released on Wednesday exclusively on CNET Download.com, adds some new tweaks to keep things interesting and efficient. We've got the summary and pros and cons below.

WinOptimizer 6

What's new
AntiSpy module: This tool claims to "deactivate potential spy functions." Upon closer inspection, the module really goes after apps and services that send data back to Microsoft. That's ideal for privacy nuts, but sensationalistic if that kind of app behavior doesn't bother you. Either way, you'll be able to manually or automatically configure settings, or can ignore them completely.

Favorites tab: The freshly added tab monitors your five most-used modules alongside a list of statistics tracking your use of the program.

Context Menu Manager: A negligible addition, it nevertheless gives you control over the contents of the context menu, which you see whenever you click the right mouse key.

What's different
Disk Defrag: This updated version of the disk defragmenter runs in the background while your computer idles, and also runs on boot-up to speed Windows' loading time.

Registry Optimizer and Drive Cleaner: Both have received beefier options and back-end algorithm work to speed up the scanning process.

What's coming
One-Click optimizer: The first version 6 update will add a scheduler to the one-click function, where you'll be able to trigger shutdown after the schedule cleanup.

What's wrong
Our biggest gripe is semantic: that the AntiSpy module is misleading--it is not an antispyware tool.

We also recommend reviewing the app's recommendations before accepting them. We wanted to keep several "unnecessary" items around that WinOptimizer was ready to yank.

The verdict
Even if you're not already using WinOptimizer, you'll want to test this generous trial (40 days with registration) for its efficacy and its ability to quickly get you access to deeper Windows settings.

More: Compare editors' and users' ratings on several system utilities.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.