If your notebook suffers from sluggish performance, chances are that the PC is a victim of poor notebook maintenance. It’s understandable, as tinkering with Windows’ inner guts can be intimidating. Fortunately, Macecraft offers a solution in jv16 PowerTools 2009, a utility (starting at $29.99 for one license) that is designed to clean your notebook’s registry to help your system run faster, safer, and stay free of performance problems. The software offers many different (and highly detailed) methods to clean your system, which makes it a solid tool for power users, but somewhat complex to the uninitiated.
When compared to other utilities, PowerTools 2009 is not as intuitive, but allows veteran users to make very specific adjustments to their systems. The brightly colored interface consists of a sidebar that contains the four repair and cleansing categories (Registry Tools, File Tools, System Tools, and Privacy Tools). Clicking on one reveals a number of different options, which again, will seem somewhat opaque for novices, but will please those with advanced knowledge. For example, the Registry Find & Replace option in the Registry Tools menu will probably only be useful for a handful of people. For others, confronting numerous icons like these may prove intimidating.
The only true one-click fix option can be found buried in the System Cleaner menu, under Privacy Tools. This cleans out temporary files and unused directories. Alongside it is History Cleaner, which removes the history lists of your most used applications.
New to this year’s edition of PowerTools is the inclusion of System Optimizer and Service Manager. The former disables system processes that run in the background (such as DOS 8.7), and explains what it does in plain English, so that even novices can understand; the latter lets you disable or outright delete items that you may not use (such as fax or Bluetooth support).
The thoroughness of the Registry Cleaner can be set using a slider. At the highest setting, you’ll be warned that there’s a chance that something could potentially go wrong and may cause your PC to not function properly. The software includes a Backup button, which we recommend using before starting up a cleaning should a problem occur. After adjusting the depth of the cleansing, just clicked Start to blow out the cobwebs.
Diagnosing and Repairing
Upon launching the software, we clicked the Optimize button, which ran a system scan to determine the overall health of our four-year-old Dell Inspiron 1150. We received a health rating of 80 out of 100 (which was good, but not great), and a Registry Health rating of 55 out of a 100 (which signified that it needed some help). We followed that by running File Cleaner to delete unused registry files, and Registry Cleaner which revealed a whopping 1,874 system errors. Clicking the Fix button repaired 37 of those problems, while the rest of the troublesome files were deleted.
We then fired up System Cleaner (which deletes temporary files, unwanted directories), and History Cleaner (which deletes applications) to continue the scrub job. The System Cleaner can bring your system up to snuff in just one click. Sluggishness is not an issue when running PowerTools 2009 in the background; we were able to indulge in all of our usual computing activities (checking e-mail, Web surfing, listening to music) without a noticeable performance hit.
Post–Cleanup Notebook Performance
Before allowing Macecraft jv16 PowerTools 2009 to identify and fix problems, we ran Cinebench 10 (a CPU and RAM benchmark) and Geekbench 2 (a CPU and GPU benchmark) on the Inspiron 1150 (2.6-GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 256MB of RAM, Windows XP) to test the system’s performance. The notebook scored 178 and 633 on Cinebench (tests of OpenGL and single CPU muscle, respectively), while Geekbench notched a score of 705. After running PowerTools 2009, the Cinebench scores increased to 199 and 651; Geekbench’s score jumped up to 722. While none of the scores were highest among utility suites we’ve tested recently, they were within a few points of the top.
In terms of everyday tasks, Macecraft showed mixed performance. Our system loaded in 1 minute and 19 seconds, an improvement of 11 seconds, the least amount of difference among the utilities in the roundup. However, transcoding a 114MB video file originally took 13 minutes and 28 seconds, but was reduced to just 5:29, putting it behind competitor TuneUp Utilities by just 2 seconds. Ripping our Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ 11-track Show Your Bones CD took 7:59 before TuneUp Utilities 2009, and 7:01 after—a roundup best.
You won’t suffer poor notebook performance with PowerTools 2009 running in the background; while it was scanning and repairing our notebook, we were able to go about our day-to-day activities without an obvious performance hit, unless several actions were occurring simultaneously (such as multiple browsers running and music streaming).
Macecraft jv16 PowerTools 2009 does an admirable job of cleaning the muck from a notebook’s innards. Prices vary from $5.95 (for those who upgrade from a previous edition) up to $649 (depending on personal, business, or nonprofit purchasers and the number of licenses needed). It didn’t provide a performance boost that rivaled iolo System Mechanic 8.5 or TuneUp Utilities 2009, but its effect was obvious. Macecraft jv16 PowerTools 2009 is a solid solution, provided that its somewhat intimidating interface doesn’t turn you off.