Systems Mechanic 4 Pro, by Marvin Kaiser

Taking the PC performance to a new level. It's not very often that I'm impressed with new software, but SM4 is changing my mind about some of the things in this program.

One thing that I do take exception to is the Optimize section. Iolo, the developer, claims to increase speed up to 300%. This big a jump has to be done through hardware changes. I just don't think software alone (defrag) can accomplish this much change. This may be because I'm a trained hardware person. I'm a firm believer that if you perform maintenance on a routine schedule (at least once a week) you won't have all the problems. Remember, clean cache, temp files, cookies, history, disk cleanup, scandisk, and defrag you will optimize your computer.

All of the other options are very good. First, the display on the screen is very easy to read and easy to navigate. Some of us might prefer a larger font on the Help screens.

The six functional areas are :

Clean Get rid of junk files

  • Clean up your tracks
  • Eliminate duplicate files
  • Eliminate web Popup

Fix Fix registry problems

  • Purge invalid uninstallers
  • Fix broken shortcuts
  • Recover deleted data

Maintain PC Maintenance Wizard

  • Utility Bar
  • Scheduled Maintenance

Optimize Tweak Windows settings

  • Defragment Memory
  • Startup Manager
  • Speed up hard drives

Protect Securely delete files

  • Eliminate Spyware
  • Block internet Threats
  • Clean deleted file data
  • System Snapshots
  • Virus Protection
  • Securely scrub drives

1,2,3 Options Tool logs

  • Download updates
  • General preferences
  • Product Help / Other information items

Carefully review the options and effects, which are associated with the various tools. SM4 Pro is not a toy, it deals with your operation system, use it carelessly you can do damage. There are reminders through out the application and abundant HELP functions, if you are in doubt about what you are about to do, then do not do it. Perhaps the first thing you should do with SM4 Pro is to learn how to backup and restore your registry files. Then move on to a review of the Start Up options; a clean up here will definitely improve the performance of your system. Basic maintenance includes Defragmenting your hard drive and clean out of various caches.

Several of these items are actual applications, which you may chose to turn on or off. The PANDA Anti-Virus, Fire Wall and Popup Blocker are full standalone applications. These three items virtually pay for SysMech4 Pro.

Spyware is becoming a more widespread problem; it’s dangerous and rapidly growing. You see this as popup ads and also highjacking of home page and more. Your antivirus system will not stop the spy ware. Spyware usually is stopped by the firewall. Remember every time you go to a web site, that site is putting something on your computer. Cookies (spyware) are installed with out your knowledge Also the old saying if its to good to be true, it is. Somebody will pay for it; usually it will be you through spyware. SM4 Pro’s includes PANDA firewall, this can and should be utilized. PANDA updates itself automatically every time you touch the internet. PANDA; it is rated near the top of all antivirus programs.

"SM4 from Iolo provides real competition for Symantec's venerable Norton System Works Professional. Both utilities suites are Swiss Army Knife packages designed to perform a variety of important functions on your window-based computer. Each covers a lot of the same territory, but they also offer their own specialties. In general, we found the SM4 tools to be more useful that those of Norton System works 2004 Pro. SM4 also offers superior, free product help and excellent on-line tools and tutorials. SM4 is a worthy challenger and offers advanced users more value."

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Marvin Kaiser is a HAL-PC member and senior tech in telephone support. He can be contacted