Ashampoo WinOptimizer 10 - Review

very good
key review info
application features
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Ashampoo released WinOptimizer 10 at the beginning of the month, advertising new utilities and overall improvements.

Installing Ashampoo WinOptimizer is a breeze, especially since the company has taken the toolbars out of the express installation process. Just before completing the process, you are prompted to set up an automatic cleaning schedule, which can be altered later from the Settings panel of the suite.

Looks have changed for the better in this release, offering an easy way to search for general issues on the system, as well as a comprehensive view of all the modules and utilities available, general statistics and backups created by the suite.

The list of modules is exhaustive and comprises tools for maintaining the smooth running of the system, improving its performance, settings customizations, as well as information about the hardware available, HDD state, or file-related utilities.

WinOptimizer 10 also provides a section (Favorites) where you can pin the most used utilities in order to launch them quicker.

Maintenance procedures for keeping your computer in tip-top shape refer to eliminating clutter files from the disk and from the registry, as well as defragmenting the drives and Windows Registry.

Furthermore, WinOptimizer can get rid of items collected during web browsing sessions by Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Opera browsers.

The direct result of eliminating redundant files is freeing up space, while defragmentation of the disk and registry ensures faster access to data.

The drive cleaning utility is designed to eliminate redundant data resulting from working with the computer, but also gathered from applications such as Adobe Reader, QuickTime or Java (cache).

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As a direct result of this activity, you increase the amount of free space. The utility is configured to target only files that can be safely deleted from the system (temporary, general backup files or thumbnail previews) and provides the possibility to analyze the results before eliminating them.

Additional information available includes the total amount of redundant data encountered and their size on the disk. Keep in mind that, when deleted, files do not go to the Recycle Bin, but you can change this from the “Options” menu.

Further customization includes the possibility to add files and folders that should be excluded from the search, and defining filters for specific formats that should be skipped.

Cleaning up web browsing data is also a fairly straightforward process that removes cache, cookies, history, or session files from any of the supported browsers. Obviously, you can make per-browser settings so that only specific elements are deleted.

During our testing with the default configuration, WinOptimizer managed to clean all browsing elements in the case of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, but left behind some data collected by Internet Explorer.

The module for improving the performance of the computer includes management tools for services, items launching with Windows, running processes and an uninstaller.

Although some of these instruments (service manager and startup tuner) are generally helpful to more experienced users, Ashampoo succeeded in making them relevant to beginners as well, thanks to the community-based ratings for most of the entries.

Relying on info from other Ashampoo users, beginners could sometimes decide on their own if a specific entry should be kept running or not. On the downside, in some cases, there isn’t sufficient information or the rating may seem quite low, which might lead to erroneous decisions, especially with services.

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The process manager also provides additional details about the entries, marking those pertaining to Windows and informing of the manufacturer.

Another utility available in this module promises automatic improvements for the Internet connection, based on preset configuration of specific parameters (MU, RWIN, TTL, QoS, etc.). However, the change for the better depends on the system and the settings variations that could lead to a boost in connectivity are quite a few, so not all machines might benefit from the optimization. Ours was not among the lucky ones.

Sometimes even a performance drop may occur, but this can be easily reversed by restoring the original settings, which are automatically saved by WinOptimizer. This can be done from the Backups menu.

The options for customizing the operating system now include a section especially for Windows 8. They allow you to modify the boot sequence by hiding the boot logo, disabling the sphere animation or update and other notifications during the boot process. You can also switch to Windows 7 boot menu.

A very interesting option refers to the way modern UI apps are closed. In order to terminate them, you have to swipe them all the way down, but WinOptimizer 10 can shorten the distance required to complete the action. Thus, you can close the apps even with incomplete swipes. This option is designed for both touch screen and mouse usage.

From what we’ve seen, other than this, long time users of Ashampoo WinOptimizer do not get anything new in this version as far as tweaking is concerned.

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But even so, the amount of options at hand is incredible and covers settings that affect the logon procedure and screen, devices such as mouse and keyboard or drive-related tweaks (change cache value, hide partitions). For Windows Vista and 7 there is the possibility to customize Aero features.

Windows Explorer can be customized as well, in terms of appearance and functionality, like disabling some functions in the Start menu (Log Off, computer shut down, help and support, search bar).

Windows customization module includes the necessary utilities for changing file associations and the options available in the context menus.

Since Ashampoo WinOptimizer is designed as an all-in-one package for keeping your system in great shape, it also includes a module for retrieving details about the system.

This includes information about software and hardware, file dispersion on the disk (DiskSpace Explorer), system benchmark results and current disk status (Disk Doctor checks for potential errors) and health (HDD Inspector reads and interprets S.M.A.R.T. attributes). In the latest release of the bundle, there is also a font management utility for previewing and deleting installed fonts.

Benchmarking the system consists in running a set of tests that measure the Integer (Dhrystones), FPU (Whetstones) and RAM performance (RAMperf); these are the same tests as in our previous analysis of the package.

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The list of file-related utilities has been enriched with two new tools: Link Checker and Duplicate Finder. Their names are suggestive enough in reference to their purpose.

While the first one may not lead to too much of an improvement, eliminating duplicate files could lead to claiming valuable free space.

The configuration panel for this utility is quite simple and, apart from specifying the scan location (local drive or folder), it also allows you to define specific file types that should be targeted.

Duplicate Finder can find the double entries by matching name, size and data, but an option for bit-by-bit comparison or file checksum is missing, which makes the results less accurate.

Our testing showed that items different in name but with the same content are flagged. Still on the downside, we were not able to remove any of the search locations (neither the default one nor those added by us).

The bundle can improve performance automatically through Live Tuner, a service that constantly adjusts process priorities and resource allocation, according to application usage. To make things easier, this version offers an easy way to access the most used tools, or you can create your own by picking the favorites.

Overall, WinOptimizer may not improve the performance significantly, especially on faster systems, but it does remove clutter, helps you manage important areas (running processes, startup processes, services) and offers important details about the computer.

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The Good

The list of tools included in the package is huge, covering all aspects relating to system maintenance. Most of the changes can be reversed and you can easily create a restore point before making any modification.

It can also run optimization and cleaning procedures automatically, at a user-defined time interval.

The Bad

We experienced a crash on Windows 8 after running the disk space analysis, while removing target locations from the Duplicate Finder proved to be impossible in our case.

Some of the tools available are no better from what Windows offers, such as the uninstaller.

The Truth

Ashampoo WinOptimizer is a hefty suite of utilities and a pretty good solution for optimizing your PC, albeit a bit too large for the average user.

It does take some time to set it up, but once you do this it can pretty much optimize certain areas of the system on its own, with a specific frequency.

Note: We have 20 licenses to give away for Ashampoo WinOptimizer 10. In order to win one of them, you are expected to come up with a smart post, positive or negative, about the application in the comments section below.

The campaign ends Sunday, March 31. Winners will be notified by the end of the next week; needless to say that we need valid email addresses in order to contact you.

GIVEAWAY OVER

Winners for this campaign:




· Schipor Vasile Ioan - #1
· Gwolf2u - #5
· GuardianX - #17
· Suman Kumaar Thakur - #26
· gini_d - #37
· Bani - #41
· Sudip Kumar Das - #53
· BlogWurm - #47
· Cecilia Dragoi - #14
· Shampoo For Me - #4


· samit - #7


We're still waiting for the other users to claim their free license by confirming their email address.
user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 
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