Operating systems like Windows have to find the right balance between compatibility and performance. This leaves the operating system open for tweaks and improvements to increase the performance and responsiveness of the computer system.
Ashampoo WinOptimizer 7 can optimize supported Windows editions. The program runs a quick scan on startup to determine areas of interests. It will list unnecessary services that are running in the background, system settings that should be changed for better performance or security, unnecessary browser items and Internet traces, obsolete Registry entries and redundant files.
A click on Details next to an entry lists the proposed changes or items that have been found. Here it is possible to filter the results, select some or all of the items for cleaning or modification.
It is recommended to verify the listings before starting the optimization process. Each of the scanned items, like the Registry Optimizer or the Drive Cleaner are also accessible directly. The individual modules provide options to delete selected items directly which tech savvy users will probably prefer since it gives them more control over the deletion and optimization.
A click on Start Optimization runs the optimization script which will make the system changes and delete the invalid and redundant files and Registry settings on the system.
The core of the program is accessible through the left sidebar. The sidebar display optimization groups such as Maintain System, Improve Performance, Customize Windows or File Tools. A click on a group lists its modules, which usually ranges between four and five.
We have already looked at the one-click optimizer. The remaining modules, with the exception of Defrag are part of the optimizer. The Internet Cleaner supports not only Microsoft's Internet Explorer but also Mozilla Firefox and Opera but only if they are installed on the system and not used as portable programs. The options detail which browser data gets deleted by WinOptimizer 7. Available choices offer the usual items like the cookies, manually entered urls or the browser cache. A Secure Cookie option is provided to protect cookies from being deleted by the optimizer. The options are directly accessible from each module which makes it easy to change and assess them before running an optimization module.
Several modules offer custom options. The Drive Cleaner for instance allows the user the creation of filters to clear specific file types from selected folders or drives.
Descriptions are displayed for each module when the user hovers the mouse icon over them. The excellent help goes into details and is linked to from every page.
Both the Services Manager and the StartUp tuner displays user ratings for known services and programs to aid the user in the decision making process. The interface makes it quite comfortable to remove programs from the list of startup items and services from being started automatically. The startup manager lists not only applications but also Internet Explorer plugins, giving users options to remove plugins from the web browser and auto start this way.
Some modules do not offer more features than standard Windows applications. The Uninstall Manager for instance does the same as the Windows Control Panel applet. It would have been great if that module would offer a similar functionality like Revo Uninstaller to scan the system for leftovers after the installation. Then again, other modules of WinOptimizer can be (manually) used for that task.
This group offers several tools that are highly requested by Windows users. AntiSpy for instance offers to disable some of the "phoning-home" features of Windows, the context menu editor options to remove entries from the context menu.
Tweaking leads to a whole new page with its own sidebar listing tweaks for Logon, Desktop, Internet Explorer and drives among others. This section alone is extensive enough that it probably could be a standalone program on its own. Want some examples? Users can configure an automatic logon so that they do not have to select a user and enter a password on system startup, change folder locations for folders such as My Documents, Templates or browser cache, uninstall Windows Messenger or configure caches for hard disks, file positions and path names.
This group contains several interesting items. Disk Doctor for instance can check a disk health. It will report errors and offers to repair them if possible. The disk space explorer displays charts of a drive's largest files and file distribution.
Again a section with useful tools that many users will find handy at times. It is possible to recover deleted files or delete files so that they cannot be recovered by those tools anymore.
Ashampoo WinOptimizer 7 creates backups of every action that is performed so that they can be restored in case that is needed.
Optimizing is actually just a part of what WinOptimizer has to offer. The program combines several tools in its interface that many users use individual programs for.
The installation of Ashampoo WinOptimizer 7 does not take long. Users should notice that the program displays a prompt to install the MyAshampoo Toolbar during installation. Options are provided to disable this so that the toolbar is not added to the web browser. The optimizer for Windows is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems. It was tested on a Windows 7 64-bit Professional PC.
Interested users can download a trial version of WinOptimizer 7 from the following link.
Update: Ashampoo has released WinOptimizer 9 in the meantime which is available as a free, basic, version and a commercial version that you can download as a trial from the official website.
The new version is fully compatible with Microsoft's new operating system Windows 8. It on top of that adds the following options to the program:
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.