10 years of experience at the professional level is what Ashampoo has to offer in what is a very important topic for daily PC use, namely, Windows optimization. This extensive pool of knowledge is now the basis for the new and completely improved Ashampoo WinOptimizer 5. The program is designed to enable both novice and advanced users to cleanse and optimize their Windows system and adapt it to their own needs. The tool feels equally at home optimizing the Windows XP and 2000 operating systems as it does under Windows Vista.
The extremely easy-to-use menus present the individual modules of Ashampoo WinOptimizer 5 and make it possible to measure system performance, deactivate annoying autostart entries, or delete unnecessary files, all with a click of the mouse.
The latest version, WinOptimizer 5, boasts two new modules. They restore mistakenly deleted files with the click of a mouse and save the arrangement of icons on the desktop. And a lot has also been done in the realm of Windows optimization.
The bell rings for round five — Windows, the way I want it.
In the fight for fast Windows operation and against sluggish performance, Ashampoo WinOptimizer has a lot of new tricks up its sleeve for the fifth round.
One mouse click too many — and an important file is lost forever. Really? Not if Undeleter can help it. Undeleter restores deleted files on NTFS, FAT-16, and FAT-32 partitions. Even compressed and encrypted NTFS files and deleted files for instance on USB sticks can be saved in this way. The health status of deleted files is displayed, letting the user know how good the chances are that the files can be restored.
Many users move icons around on their desktop to make their daily work as efficient as possible. Unfortunately, this icon arrangement is very easily lost. All it takes is switching the screen resolution. Icon-Saver keeps track of the arrangement of icons on the desktop and can restore them at any time. The module can keep track of several stored desktop configurations.
Real-time Backup monitors all key system processes that the user performs with Ashampoo WinOptimizer 5 to back up the original configuration in real time. If necessary, it's easy to restore the original configuration. Extensive notes are included with all backups.
Previously referred to as the Registry Cleaner, this module scans the Windows registry. Ashampoo WinOptimizer 5 finds broken links that have empty references and automatically either eliminates or immediately repairs them. The integration with real-time backup here ensures that it is always possible to restore the original condition of the registry.
Under Windows Vista, all the cleaner modules of Ashampoo WinOptimizer 5 can be launched from this gadget. Even One-Click Optimization can now be run from the gadget. Users can also view a graphic representation of processes with the gadget and have the available capacity of their hard drives displayed.
An indispensable favorite
With its two new modules and countless enhancements, Ashampoo WinOptimizer 5 provides many more features than its predecessor. The following old favorites have been thoroughly revised:
* Drive Cleaner: Drive Cleaner searches the hard drive for files that are no longer needed so they can be deleted upon confirmation from the user. The search algorithm for this module has been considerably improved for increased efficiency. What's more, comprehensive information is now available for the objects that are found.
* Tweaking Tools: Hundreds of settings can easily be switched on and off in this module with a click of the mouse. Not only the visual appearance and general behavior of Windows in certain situations is addressed here, but also topics such as security, Internet, and multimedia. The integration with the real-time backup makes it possible to undo all changes at any time here as well.
* Process Manager: Now, frozen windows from crashed applications are no longer a problem. The Process Manager deals with these applications in short order, kicking them out of memory and off the screen. Suspicious applications can also be immediately terminated in this manner. What's new is that the module not only lists all active processes, but also provides corresponding information on them. A new visual aid also shows which system processes are absolutely necessary so that they are not deleted.
* StartUp Tuner: This module displays all autostart entries, allowing users to deactivate irritating programs so that they are no longer executed when Windows starts up. This module also now names the autostart entries that are absolutely necessary and should not be switched off by the user. An overview and recommendation for unnecessary services is now also available for Windows Vista. Requested by many users: Now, Internet Explorer plug-ins can be viewed and deleted if necessary.
* File Wiper: When Windows deletes files, they're not really removed, but rather made available for overwriting. In short: Any data thief can easily restore them. The File Wiper deletes data with sensitive contents completely, making it impossible to restore them even with specialized programs. The new version is fully integrated into the Windows Explorer context menu and can accordingly be opened from that location without starting the main application. In addition, performance has been noticeably improved.
* One-Click Optimization: No time for anything? One-Click Optimization cleans up any area desired with the single click of a mouse. What's new is the ability to optionally display lists of results.
Still in our corner
System Benchmark, Visual Styler, and Hard Drive Defragmenter are still included with Ashampoo WinOptimizer 5:
* System Benchmark: The module tests the processor and measures the performance of the system memory. A nice feature is that the results from your own computer can be compared to those of other PCs.
* Visual Styler: It's important to many users that their Windows system has its own unique look. That's where the visual styler comes in. The module can switch out existing icons for new ones and make the individual windows look transparent.
* Hard Drive Defragmenter: This module also runs under Vista, reconnecting files which have been broken into fragments to restore them to their original form. This increases performance when working with Windows.