REVIEW: Advanced System Care Pro 8
Version 8.0 of Advanced SystemCare (ASC) by IObit Software, one of my favorite system maintenance programs, was released in mid-November. After running this major update for a couple of weeks, I am pleased to report that it is a significant improvement of an already great program. Here's my review of this free PC maintenance tool...
What's NEW in ASC 8 Free?
First of all, Advanced SystemCare 8 is remarkably faster than ever before. It blazed through my usual selection of maintenance tasks in two-thirds of the time that previous versions needed. The “one-click” simplicity of launching multiple tune-up/clean-up operations is as satisfying as ever.
But behind the big blue “scan” button are more options than ever before, if you’re the kind of user who likes to tweak every setting. ASC has more ways to skin a cat than a taxidermist; they’re organized on tabs and in tree-like menus.
Newly added is a “Protect” tab which includes options to protect your browser’s home page and default search engine from hijacking, and toggles real-time Surfing Protection on or off.
The new Performance Monitor shows the cooling fan speed plus temperatures of CPU, motherboard, and video card. One-click performance boost and screenshots are available. A Plugin/Toolbar Cleaner has been added to detect and optionally delete unwanted additions to your browser. The Startup Manager module has been rebuilt to provide one-click optimization of startup items; some unnecessary services will be disabled while the loading of others will be delayed. SmartDefrag has been renamed “Disk Optimization.” It now includes optimization of solid-state drives and one-click optimization of multiple drives.
The cookie crushing module that was misnamed “malware threats” is now called “tracking threats.” That’s still a bit of a misnomer; the module treats harmless local cookies and potentially invasive third-party cookies the same.
The “System Reinforce” tab identifies weaknesses in your Windows configuration that could allow hackers to gain access to your system, and gives you the option to correct them selectively or all together.
For a “limited time” that’s lasted a very long time now, the Pro version of ASC is available for only $19.99. It enables options such as a RAM cleaner, Registry Cleaner, Disk Cleaner, and Win Fix – a module that analyzes your Windows configuration and suggests tweaks that can boost performance or fix common problems. A new malware detection and removal system is in the Pro version, too.
The Price of Free
ASC is a capable maintenance and tune-up utility, but there are things I wish it would do differently. Differentiating between third-party cookies and local cookies is one of them; I don’t like losing the local cookies that help personalized a site when I shed the tracking cookies planted by ad networks. Currently, I’d have to manually specify every cookie I want to keep.
Some of the messages displayed after a scan are unnecessarily alarming. I was greeted with "1023 PROBLEMS FOUND" but when I clicked for more details, it was simply a matter of 1023 "junk" files in the Recycle Bin.
ASC also told me on Action Center tab that I was "Not fully protected by 3rd party anti-spyware program" and advised me to install IObit Malware Fighter 2. I've already got Avast Antivirus and MalwareBytes Anti-Malware, so my guess is this is simply a ploy to get people to install the free version of Malware Fighter, with the hope that they'll be persuaded to upgrade to a paid PRO version.
After first installing ASC, I was urged to install a companion program called Driver Booster. I declined, because I've always advised against using "driver update" programs, unless you are having trouble with a specific hardware component. Even so, after running the initial scan, ASC told me "11 Outdated Drivers found" and once more urged me to install Driver Booster. I upgraded this PC from XP to Windows 7 back in April, and did all the driver updates recommended by Microsoft at that time. I noted that there is a paid upgrade to Driver Booster PRO, so again, perhaps that's the real reason IObit wants me to have the freebie.
Oh, and I was also informed that there were "DIsk Optimization Issues found." And guess what? There's a handy free tool called Smart Defrag 3 that'll fix the problem. Do you think there's a Smart Defrag PRO available? Yup.
The Bottom Line: Yours, Mine and IObit's
I don't mean to diminish the good things that ASC 8 offers by mentioning these drawbacks. Overall, version 8 of ASC is a major improvement in a fine program. I'm just cautioning that you should expect plenty of upsell pitches when you install any free software.
Most people won't need the paid versions of ASC and all its companion programs to keep their computers running smoothly. But if you think the paid features of a PRO version are compelling, or you just want to support the efforts of a company that gives away a ton of free quality software, then go for it.
Your thoughts on Advanced SystemCare by IObit are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 4 Dec 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- REVIEW: Advanced System Care Pro 8 (Posted: 4 Dec 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved