Speed Up My PC

Reviewed by: Paul Schneider
Published by: LIUtilties
Requires: Pentium 400 or higher, 32 MB RAM, 10 MB disk space, Windows 98 through XP
MSRP: $39.95

Speed Up My PC is designed to help your speed up your Windows installation and your computer to help them run more efficiently. As long as we have had PCs, there have been solutions that attempt to squeeze a bit more performance out of your existing system. One way to overcome this problem is through newer pieces of hardware. A faster CPU, more RAM and a beefier video card can work wonders. An alternative is to install software that attempts to speed up or stabilize Windows, memory or hard drive usage. I'll forgo a full historical review of these applications and instead sum up the basic problem and solution.

Windows and its predecessor, DOS, have been plagued with less than optimal abilities to handle memory and multitasking applications. These problems result in slow operation and system crashes. Software solutions aim to optimize the use of memory and hardware to address some of Windows’ inherent flaws. Another way to look at it is from a people perspective. Although you could upgrade a person’s hardware (give them a new brain), it is quite costly (and impossible with today’s technology). It's simply more efficient to teach them better ways of remembering or processing information. Although computer hardware upgrades are more viable, they can still be costly.


Speed Up My PC, like other software solutions, aims to make the most of your current PC hardware and software and keep the “blue screen of death” at bay. The tool monitors several aspects of your PC and, via a wizard, offers suggestions on how to improve your current situation. The areas it addresses are CPU (processing speed), RAM (computer memory), Internet, Startup Applications and Windows crashing.

When you install and start Speed Up My PC it offers several suggestions on how to improve your PC’s performance. The instructions are straightforward and the suggestions appear to be sound. One of the first items to look into are the startup applications. Speed Up My PC provides an optimizing wizard and will let you pick what programs to disable as Windows loads. The program then records the last several startup times so you can see if your changes have the desired effect.

The next item to examine is the CPU monitor. Its primary advantage is that it allows you to prioritize programs. Using a drop down menu you can specify a program that should be set to run in the background or have priority in the foreground. Coupled with this is a system resource monitor that enables the feature to only be activated when a certain CPU usage level is reached.

The memory monitor is probably the most active portion of the program. When using your PC, RAM is often not made available in the most optimal fashion. This problem can lead to slower program operation and heavier use of the page file (which uses space on your hard drive to temporarily store data when you run out of RAM). In addition to being able to use the RAM recovery application on demand, you can also set it up to automatically activate whenever a certain threshold is reached.

The Internet monitor aims to optimize your Internet connection. Speed Up My PC notes that the Windows system optimizes your settings for a local area network (LAN) connection. Using some of the same principles as some of the other connection speed up programs, Speed Up My PC looks at your PC’s speed and then adjusts the registry settings to optimize your network or modem throughput based on your current Internet connection.

Crash recovery, in principle, works to prevent any crashes and allows you to continue if one does. Of course the best thing about this is that it then enables you to hopefully save what you were working on before the whole system crashes.

My experience with this program has been varied. I first installed it on my blazing fast Dell Dimension. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake. After following all of their recommendations I then begin to use the computer and was faced with a computer that plodded along at a snails pace. The computer literally became unusable. An e-mail to technical support informed me that occasionally some computer configurations resulted in problems such as these and uninstalling the program would address the problem. I, however, didn't wait to test that theory and used XP’s restore back in time feature. Once this was done my machine was fine. I next tried the program on my Dell Latitude laptop.

My laptop, running Windows 2000, had become quite the turtle in the last 6 months. In preparation for testing Speed Up My PC, I removed several programs that I was no longer using. This alone sped up my computer considerably. I then installed Speed Up My PC and followed its recommendations. There were a few startup programs that I didn't need and told Speed Up My PC to remove. I also set my IM program to run in the background and then asked Speed Up My PC to monitor my memory usage.

After using the program for a little over a week I noticed some improvement and only have a few complaints. The memory monitor is the most active tool and fires up fairly frequently. When it is activated it takes approximately 30 seconds to run and claims to free up, on average 20-30MB of RAM. This appears to make the programs I am using run more efficiently, but to be honest it is difficult to assess the improvement. The only complaint here is that I couldn't make the activity message automatically minimize. This resulted in waiting 20-30 seconds each time it decided to free up some computer memory.

The only other problem I ran into was degradation in performance over a couple of days. After leaving the machine on for a couple days it appeared to slow down considerably. Although this could be Windows, I've not experienced this level of change in the past. Needless to say, a re-boot solved the problem.

The anti-crash utility worked as advertised, but be forewarned that some programs which run in the system tray might not survive a restart of the Windows shell. To Speed Up My PC’s credit, this problem has occurred previously in instances when Windows was able to recover and restart its shell on its own.

For those of you with a computer that already runs reasonably fast I would say you are best off continuing to let Windows do the monitoring. Windows, while certainly not a star in this area, has gotten better recently. If you are running an older machine, plagued by system crashes, memory problems, or if you use some memory intensive programs, you ought to take a look at Speed Up My PC. Although improved hardware invariably gives you a greater performance boost, Speed Up My PC may just be the low cost alternative you're looking for.


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