TuneUp Utilities 2014 Review

key review info
application features
  • Clean and intuitive UI
  • (5 more, see all...)

From the makers of the renown AVG Antivirus comes the 2014 version of TuneUp Utilities, a long-standing application suite with powerful modules and rich customization techniques aimed at tweaking and optimizing Windows, as well as fixing various issues.

The trial edition lasts for 15 days and does not keep any features locked up. At the end of this period, users may purchase TuneUp Utilities 2014 for $49.95 / €39.95 (license for up to three PCs).

The lucky owners of previous versions may upgrade to 2014 for $29.95 / €24.95.

Installing the app takes little time. The full package includes context menu integration for files and folders with TuneUp Shredder, Disk Space Explorer (folders only), and Undelete (Recycle Bin).

In addition, TuneUp Utilities will automatically run at the first startup and on a regular basis (informs the user). Any of these options can be deselected in custom install mode.

The modern interface has a well-organized structure, with all main features broken down into separate categories. The dashboard provides direct access to “Maintenance,” “PC performance,” “PC Health” and “Rescue Center.”

An initial assessment on the computer's status can be made through one-click maintenance. It cleans and defragments the registry, removes broken shortcuts, cleans up Windows, web browsers and other programs, defragments the hard risk, and optimizes startup and shutdown. Results show total problems found and recommendations for each category, along with detailed descriptions. Specific entries may be removed from the fix-ups.

Any of the previously mentioned areas can be excluded from the scan job via the “Settings” panel, while the categories with Windows, web browsers and other programs can be customized.

Windows and programs include temporary and unnecessary system files (e.g. Recycle Bin, files for error analysis), Windows backup files (e.g. old restore points, copies of lost data blocks), history lists (most recently used programs and documents), temporary program files (e.g. help, installation), reports and logs from apps, unnecessary program files (e.g. chat logs), and backup files of programs. The defragmentation level to apply will either be fast, thorough, or depend on the severity.

As far as web browsers are concerned, TuneUp supports Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari, as well as Adobe Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight plugins. It handles cookies, form data, Index.dat files, saved passwords, logs, database optimization, and so on. Cookies from specific websites and items less than a week old may be protected.

PC performance can be increased based on an initial configuration that focuses on the Internet connection mode, speed, criterion used to optimize visual effects, and others. TuneUp makes recommendations for unused programs, functions that negatively impact performance, hardware, TuneUp services, Internet connection, browser settings, display and animation effects.

In our case, the program recommended installing an advertising filter in Firefox, specify the maximum number of simultaneous connections to a given web server in Internet Explorer and Firefox, as well as to use a drop shadow for the mouse pointer. Recommendations may be either accepted or hidden (permanently or for 30 days).

PC Health deals with various issues found in Windows. For instance, TuneUp says if User Account Control is turned off, administrative shares enable network access to all drives connected to the PC, credentials in web browsers are not protected by passwords, or if the system drive has never been checked for errors. For each problem, the application shows how it negatively affects the machine, offering a solution. Just like in PC Performance, issues may be hidden permanently or for 30 days.

All taken actions are logged in the Rescue Center, from where they can be undone. Modules stored in this area include one-click maintenance, economy mode, performance boost, problems to resolve, program deactivator, registry cleaner and editor, repair wizard, shortcut cleaner, startup manager and optimizer, styles, system control, and uninstall manager.

Economy mode is a component that takes care of notebook batteries by extending their life span to ensure minimal power consumption. It can be set to moderate or maximum level. Manual configuration implies customizing screen, hardware, services and display settings. It addresses processor energy-saving, synchronization with mobile devices, network sharing of the media library, and others.

On the other hand, Turbo mode provides an immediate performance boost when required. For example, scheduled defragmentation and maintenance tasks can be postponed along with automatic updates, synchronization with mobile devices can be turned off, while support for digital cameras and scanners can be limited. All settings are made step by step in a wizard.

If economy and turbo mode are both deactivated, then standard mode is turned on by default, applying default settings to Windows. Flight mode works only for notebooks and simply turns off all wireless network activity when enabled.

Alongside the dashboard are five other tabs dedicated to optimization, cleanup, resolving problems, personalization, and all functions. System load can be reduced by deactivating programs and startup apps, uninstalling tools, and tweaking live optimization options (speed up apps startup, increase response rate, specify exceptions).

The registry and performance can be improved by cleaning the registry (e.g. acoustic signals, database drivers, help files, fonts, Windows Firewall and Services), defragging it to recover space, speeding up system startup and shutdown (e.g. turn off iTunes automatic startup when plugging an Apple device), as well as by defragging the hard disk (fast or thorough).

Cleaning up the disk gains much needed space, removes clutter and deletes unnecessary files. This concerns Windows and programs (e.g. Prefetch file, caches), web browsers, broken shortcuts and Windows functions (e.g. hibernation file). Additionally, duplicate files can be identified and eliminated, along with large amounts of data from analyzed locations. Selected files or folders may be submitting to shredding beyond recovery, in order to prevent specialized tools from retrieving them.

TuneUp may also check the system to fix any problems, whether they are common (e.g. icons displayed incorrectly, taskbar cannot be displayed), the hard disk has errors, or files must be restored. Furthermore, running processes may be closed, while system information can be shown.

Windows settings can be personalized when it comes to animation and effects, file types, menu appearance, font smoothing, taskbar, network, and other areas. For example, net Windows themes can be downloaded for free. The app implements buttons for best performance and appearance, as well as for restoring settings to default.

The last tab shows a list with all functions bundled into the tool when it comes to installed programs, the hard disk, usage data, registry, computer, recommendations, Windows, and TuneUp Utilities, in order to access them easily.

As far as program preferences go, context menu integration can be disabled, the traditional Task Manager can be replaced with TuneUp Process Manager, while system tray notifications can be hidden. The app is capable of checking for updates automatically and deleting Rescue Center backups regularly. Meanwhile, password protection may be enabled to prevent unauthorized users from using TuneUp.

This is also the area where all modules can be customized in the slightest detail, such as automatic maintenance (e.g. clean and defrag registry, remove broken shortcuts), disk space explorer (e.g. permanently disable protection for system objects) and duplicate finder (e.g. ignore small files, hidden files and folders).

The Good

The program sports an impressive range of features and, at the same time gives access to tweaking each setting. Extensive help documentation is available, explaining each aspect of all modules, thus decreasing the learning curve for less experienced users.

Windows 8/8.1 is supported, along with both 32 and 64-bit architecture types. Automatic maintenance is reliable when leaving the PC unattended, while one-click maintenance deals with all types of issues selected by the user.

CPU and RAM usage is generally low, and the interface is clean and intuitive.

The Bad

Getting lost in TuneUp's numerous options is very easy. Perhaps the developer should have integrated a separate tab for keeping track of program activity via log data.

The Truth

Users looking to optimize system settings, resolve various Windows problems and keep a clean workspace can resort to TuneUp Utilities with confidence. The 2014 version has a lot to offer and the pricing is convenient.
user interface 5
features 5
ease of use 4
pricing / value 4

final rating 5
Editor's review