Pros: User interface, some features work well, customer support.
Cons: May brake stuff, customer support will not take responsibility, nag screen.
PC Health Advisor is a computer optimization tool from ParetoLogic that I have been using for my laptop at work. There are many other tune up and optimization tools out there. I recently reviewed one called “Fix It Utilities” but there are many others including “System Mechanic”, “Tune Up Utilities”, “Advanced System Care”, and “PC Tune Up”. These tools do things like registry cleaning, defragmentation, junk file cleaning, system optimization and some of these tools include malware protection.
I have had a somewhat bad experience with these kinds of tools. Sometimes they can speed up your system and/or fix problems. Sometimes they don’t seem to do any good and sometimes they break things. I’ve even had optimization tools destroy my computer. I certainly don’t believe the various advertisements I see on TV for these kinds of tools.
What PC Health Advisor Does
PC health Advisor does things like, clean the system registry, it clears temporary files, history, and junk files, it checks for driver updates and does updates, optimizes start up process, and it can do disk defragmentation. In addition it keeps track of system check points, software installs, and system updates and system restore points, and you can create system restore points using PC Health Advisor. It can also clean up active malware but it does not offer active malware protection and I would not get it for malware protection. For that you need separate malware protection software and you can have both on your system.
It also includes special tools for searching the disk, finding files with extensions that you specify, finding duplicate files, and they include a so called “Process Manager” which is similar to “Task Manager” but it is a little bit more informative and you can use it to optimize processes.
They have a web site that features a lot of useful information they also offer free support if you buy and install their software. ParetoLogic is not a well known company but it is legit and they are partners with Microsoft. Being a Microsoft partner is not necessarily a badge of honor, unless you are as “unknown” as ParetoLogic.
PC Health Advisor costs $29.97 and it is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.
This is the web site for the product I bought.
This is the web site for the company
The user interface has four tabs “Home”, “Optimize”, “Disk” and “Settings” plus an information button and a help button in the top right corner. The “Home” tab, which is the main page, features a large picture of what looks like an EKG and it says “Click to Start Scan”. There are also six large buttons corresponding to various tools “Driver Manager”, “Process Manager”, “Startup Manager”, “File Extension Manager”, “Duplicate Finder”, and “Defrag”. The Driver Manager allows you to update drivers, Process Manager is the aforementioned tool that is similar to Task Manger, and Startup Manager allows you optimize or disable startup processes. Using “File Extension Manager” you can find files with the extension you type in and information about the file as well as the extension in general is displayed. “Duplicate Finder” helps you find duplicates. I have many but I want to keep them. “Defrag” defragments the drive.
The other three tabs essentially capture whatever you did last using the six buttons on the “Home” tab, but the tabs corresponds different categories. For example, if you pressed “Duplicate Finder” that goes in under the “Disk” tab. In any case my opinion on the user interface is that it is very intuitive, colorful and nice looking. One negative is that PC Health Advisor has a nag screen that comes up about every second day to tell you it is time for a tune up. Well I guess it is helpful to some forgetful people who otherwise would never do it.
One of the main tools that PC Health Advisor offers is the scan (the large button). This is a very simple tool to use. You simply press the scan button and PC Health Advisor scans the computer for registry problems, malware processes, and detects issues with startup processes and active processes, as well as privacy files. The scan takes about 10 minutes on my computer which has about 150GB of data on it.
When the scan is done you can choose to view each issue found and take appropriate action. You can also press the “Fix All” button. The “Fix All” button is great for people who do not know much about the registry or startup processes. However, it is also the most dangerous feature. The “Fix All” button can break stuff.
My Adventures with PC Health Advisor
ParetoLogic certainly includes a lot of features and tools. I would say that they include more tools than most optimization and PC tune up tools. The defragmentation tool is fairly quick and it does defragment the drive well. If I compare with the defragmentation tool that is included with Windows it is both faster and I think more successful. I have had instances when the Windows defragmentation tool just outright fails. Therefore it is good to have an alternative.
With the other tools I have had mixed results. Driver Manager typically fails, and the scan keeps finding registry entries that should not be removed. However, I should say that using the Passmark benchmarking tool I was able to tell that the performance improved slightly and the start up time I also improved a little bit.
I’ve used the “Fix All” button a few times and it causes problems. It breaks stuff. It broke my blue tooth feature and it caused problems with a windows application called “EasyGuard”. Every time I’ve used the “Fix All” EasyGuard needs to be reinstalled and when I am starting the computer without internet access or network access it tries to do it several times before “giving up”. The blue tooth feature is majorly messed and needs to be reinstalled. However, I have done so because I am not using blue tooth on this computer.
Another issue I should mention is that the free trial version can find the issues but it will not fix much. You’ve got to get the full version to get things done.
I am impressed by their customer support. They actually speak perfect English and they really want to help you at no cost to you, despite the fact that this is a $29 dollar application. If you buy something for $29 from Microsoft and then you try to get help, well you can forget about it. The thought is even rising.
At the same time I am also unhappy about the customer support I got. The guy I talked to about the “Fix All” issue claimed that I must have malware on my computer. Unlike some other companies that will blame “malware”, then say not my problem and hang up, he tried to walk me through various troubleshooting. However, I am still unhappy about the argument I had with him.
I was fairly sure it was not malware because the existing malware protection I had (Trend Micro plus Malware Bytes, and PC Health Advisor, of course) did not find any and it happened right after the “Fix All”, well, fix. However, he suggested that I do not know what malware is and he told me that malware protection software may not find existing malware. The thing is that I knew that and I do know something about malware, but the way this happened, the timing, and the symptoms, plus the fact that the malware protection I had did not find anything, all taken together, was a pretty good indicator that it was not malware. He still kept insisting that it was malware and that I did not know what I was talking about. Well low and behold. I got these issues fixed and then at a later time I pressed “Fix All” again, and exactly the same issues reappeared on the next restart. Then I did it a third time. At this point I think that I can with some certainty claim that it is “Fix All” that is deleting or killing something it shouldn’t and not some undetected malware. I think I know which registry key it is as well (assuming it is a registry key). I have to do that experiment one day. So I blame ParetoLogic not malware. This is also why I have customer support both as a positive and as a negative.
Well overall this is a decent system tune up application. It includes a lot of tools that are actually useful. However, it can actually break stuff and that is bad. On the other hand breaking stuff seems to be a common issue with optimization and tune up software. I was impressed by how hard the customer support tried and that it was free despite it being a $29 product. I am not pleased with the argument I had. So in the end I can recommend this product but with great hesitation, which to me corresponds to a three star rating. Basically, a maybe, or a maybe not.
I am adding this review to my “Time & Space write-off” because this product has a connection to time. It interacts with the operating system which depends on the system clock, and it attempts to speed up startup and the operation of the computer.
Finally I would like to say thank you to Bob (pvreditor) for adding this product to the epinions data base.