System Mechanic Review

There’s nothing worse than a slow PC. Absolutely nothing. Ice caps melting? Not even close. Global pandemic? Well, maybe. But you won’t be able to enjoy gaming in quarantine if your PC chugs like a tractor. Just imagine being the laughingstock of your Discord server for missing critical shots in Warzone because your computer stutters like it has a speech impediment. You deserve better and so does your PC.

PC tuning apps are nothing now. One could even say there are too many of them. Among dozens of similar apps, we have decided to try System Mechanic, review it, and see how it fares against other speed-boost programs.

Key features:

  • All-around PC maintenance tool
  • Whole home license
  • Affordable plans
  • Fast, thorough tools

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Unlimited licenses
  • Quick scan and deep scan
  • Affordable pricing
  • Real-time scanner
  • No discounts for bundle or multi-year purchases
  • Some settings are missing

System Mechanic Overview

System Mechanic is the best-known product from Iolo Technologies, a Pasadena, California maker of PC utility software. Launched in 1998, System Mechanic is now up to version 20, which is the version we review here. Iolo says it is the pinnacle of PC optimization software, capable of breathing new life into aging computers.

This software has several modules that work together to analyze, optimize, and clean up your PC so it can perform better. It’s able to rid your PC from freezes, speed up the Windows boot process, even improve the stability of your internet connection. Let’s see what’s ticking under the hood.

System Scanner

System Scanner is the core component of System Mechanic. It fires up automatically when you start the program. It scans your computer to find all the broken registry entries, leftover junk files, and other bloat that’s slowing down your computer. You can decide how deeply Iolo System Mechanic will review your system’s status:

  • A quick analysis takes one or two minutes to check for the most common Windows problems.
  • A deep analysis takes significantly longer (depending on how much data you have). It is a multiple-level analysis of all of PC’s files and settings.

system mechanic review system scanner

Running these scans won’t change any of your files or settings. The scan gives you a quick overview of how the software can optimize computer performance, whether it’s by cleaning up gigabytes of orphaned files or fixing the Windows registry. Like all of the best PC cleaning software, System Mechanic lets you pick and choose exactly what to repair and what to leave. You can always come back and run the diagnostics again.

Once the scan is completed, you can decide how you want to proceed. System Mechanic’s powerful cleanup and repair tools are divided into several sections.

PC Cleanup Tools

First up: cleanup tools. You can run an all-in-one PC cleanup, remove junk files and bloated data from your internet browsers, clean up Windows files (broken shortcuts, temp files, and more), run a registry repair tool, or use an advanced uninstaller to completely remove programs from your PC – including their uninstall programs, which are often left behind.

system mechanic review pc cleanup tools

Speed Up the Computer

Next are speedup tools. This set of System Mechanic features can even speed up an old computer – really. These tools let you run a memory mechanic tool to free up RAM or optimize startup so your computer boots up faster. Another great tool is the aptly named Program Accelerator, which is basically a defrag lite. It sorts the data used by installed apps so it’s all bunched together, thus loading more quickly. For hard drive and file maintenance there’s a tool designed to scan and defragment a hard drive. It is not very different, candidly, from the one integrated into Windows.

Protection Tools

If System Mechanic is to succeed in its ambition to be the overall best PC utility, it’s not enough to scan and repair the system. A great utility should also be able to prevent further problems. Even if your computer runs on Windows 10, optimization of core system processes is needed to prevent hackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities. That’s what System Mechanic’s System Checker tool does. System Checker can also disable personal data sharing through Wi-Fi, keeping you completely anonymous even on a public network.

Recovery

A tool from System Mechanic’s Recovery section can help you find and fix more common problems. The Recovery collection also includes System Restore, the same as Windows. But System Restore works only if you’ve run regular backups.

Automatic PC Maintenance

We’ve finally come to one of the strongest tools in System Mechanic’s toolbox: tools that run as background tasks, observing system performance. System Mechanic uses this data to increase computer speed. This section is also called ActiveCare, and it features a lot of options and tools that you can tinker with. The options appear limited at first glance, but clicking on the little arrow on the right opens up a lot of settings.

system mechanic review automatic pc maintenance

For example, you can instruct System Mechanic to defrag the hard drive and clean up your browser cache after some period of inactivity on your PC. All of the System Mechanic Pro tools are shown on this screen, and all of them can be scheduled to run when you are not using your computer. This is perfect when you don’t have enough time to run lengthy full scans. Just let System Mechanic run these individual scans and apply fixes whenever your PC is free.

system mechanic review settings

Scheduling options are very flexible. ActiveCare can be set to run at a specific time interval, or you can choose for the scanner not to run during periods when you know you’ll be at your PC. One of the things we really liked when testing the app for our System Mechanic review was the scanner’s ability to wake the PC from hibernation.

There are no optimal settings or presets here. After all, we all use our computers differently. That being said, it would’ve been nice if there had been a preset or two aside from enable/disable everything. Not everyone needs all of these checkups to run at the same time, so it is completely up to you to define your own preferences. It might take a few days to find your sweet spot, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. PC optimization takes patience.

Real-Time Boosting

Iolo System Mechanic has both on-demand and scheduled components. The Real-Time Boost screen lets you perform a quick check-up of the program’s real-time components and set everything up for optimal performance. A neat graphic in the right corner will show you what percentage of total proposed optimizations you’ve applied.

system mechanic review real time boosting

There are, luckily, some presets here, mainly for better gaming experience and reduced power consumption. All of the settings are easy to understand, and their effects apply immediately.

Antivirus and Firewall

When you download System Mechanic, you’ll find that it also includes a set of antivirus and firewall tools. They are pretty decent, especially if you’re looking for a Windows Defender alternative, but we preferred to let our dedicated antivirus software deal with any digital nasties. These elements are handy parts of System Mechanic, but they’re not crucial and many customers probably don’t use them.

User Experience

The look of this program is high-tech, to say the least. Dark gray with red accents seems to be a popular color scheme among software developers these days and the reason we gave a good score to the UI department in our System Mechanic 20 review. Dark modes have proved to be easier on the eyes anyway, so this palette works great right out of the box. The interface isn’t too busy, and you can get quick information about all of the program’s functions by hovering your mouse over action buttons.

Yes, you’ll need to click on a lot of buttons, drop-down menus, and whatnot to get to all of the settings, but that’s not a bad thing. This is a complex piece of software. It has a LOT of extra tools many other PC cleaners lack. It’s not the best PC tune-up utility if it’s a barebones product, it’s as simple as that.

Still, you won’t see most of these buttons and menus more than once or twice after you’ve set the schedule for automatic cleaning.

Most of the information you need is on the main dashboard. It shows the status of your system after the most recent scan along with the number of issues it found. In our experience, once you’ve completed the initial deep scan, System Mechanic usually just prompts you to clean junk files now and then. In any case, the dashboard is the best PC optimizer’s friend, a one-stop-shop for all the major system optimization info.

Perhaps you have noticed that we have talked only about Windows during this review. System Mechanic runs only on Windows. In fact, Iolo Technologies creates utility software for Windows – period. System Mechanic 20 works with Windows 7 to 10. (Support for Windows XP and Vista was available as recently as System Mechanic 16.) If you’re rocking it old school, don’t fret, as there’s still System Mechanic Classic available for download through Iolo’s website. It looks like the current version, though some of the advanced features are missing.

Other Iolo Computer Tuning Apps

Iolo isn’t a one hit wonder. The company offers a wide range of utility programs for home and business users. Each and every app developed by this company is about computer optimization and security. Here are some programs you can check out to complement your System Mechanic download.

Privacy Guardian

A recent addition to Iolo’s software lineup, Privacy Guardian keeps you truly anonymous while surfing the web. It blocks cookies that track your activity and help serve you ads, it can keep your browsing and search history away from spying eyes, and it even includes data theft prevention tools. Want to disable Windows 10 Telemetry processes? Get this app and they’re gone in one click.

System Shield

We’ve mentioned that System Mechanic has a lightweight antivirus app in it. Taking it to the next level as a candidate for the antivirus world’s best utility for PC and laptop users, Iolo developed System Shield – a single app that handles antivirus and antispyware protection. System Shield can clean and block any kind of infection aimed at your PC. Powered by AI technology, this program features  early detection of malicious files and activity, which is especially useful in this day of mutating viruses.

Search and Recover

Accidentally deleting files from a computer or USB stick used to be the bane of our existence. Apps like Search and Recover can find and restore all those deleted photos, songs, and even emails. Like System Mechanic, it also has a scanner for locating all recently deleted files. It’s one of the best PC utilities to have around, just in case.

DriveScrubber

This is a total PC cleaner, an app that is able to completely wipe all the data from a hard drive. Whether you’re planning to sell your computer or you’re just preparing the hard drive for a fresh Windows installation, this is the app you need. It’s even capable of cleaning drives that contain stubborn malware.

Customer Support

One of the final steps we took while working on this System Mechanic review was to check how Iolo supports the app. While we didn’t have any issues or problems during the review period, you might find that you need to contact customer support for help. Maybe your license couldn’t be activated on a second PC or something like that. Iolo’s support team is available via live chat and telephone. You can also browse the site’s comprehensive knowledge base for a quick inquiry. Just type in whatever you want to learn about their products, and there likely is an article about it.

If you’re looking for the best technical support for the best PC cleaner, you might want to opt for Iolo Premium Services. Available in the US and Canada only, this service can be purchased as a subscription for $199 a year or as a one-time service for $99.95 per computer that needs fixing. Premium customers also get access to a toll-free phone line 24/7. Iolo’s free service is quite good, but if you’re running a business you’ll find it easy to justify the cost of Premium Services. It’s a lot cheaper than replacing a whole PC if something goes wrong.

Pricing: System Mechanic Trial vs Paid Versions

The best things in life are free, they say, but clearly they weren’t talking about PC software. System Mechanic’s free version is a great app. It can complete a full system scan, remove junk files from the browser and Windows, even defragment your hard drive. It’s not bad at all for a free PC cleaner, but it’s severely limited compared to the full version, so our recommendation is to use it only for a test run and learning the ropes – not to rely on it for day-to-day use.

System Mechanic pricing comes in several tiers, and they all involve an annual subscription with unlimited licenses. Iolo calls this a Whole Home License, and it’s a rarity in this business. Most other companies offer three to five licenses with each purchase, meaning that homes with many PCs, or gamers that upgrade their computers often, are left out in the cold.

With System Mechanic, Iolo offers the Standard version, System Mechanic Professional and the appropriately titled System Mechanic Ultimate Defense. Each brings more features and add-on apps into the mix. System Mechanic costs $49.95, but it’s often discounted to $39.96. We think that’s a great deal, especially when you factor in the unlimited licenses. The Pro version is $20 more, and the Ultimate version costs $10 more.

We like the Standard version and Ultimate Defense. The prices are just right, and with all the features we mentioned in our review of System Mechanic, you get quite a lot of bang for your buck. Ultimate Defense is a great pick if you want any other Iolo app besides System Mechanic, as the price for this bundle is much better than purchasing everything separately.

If you own a business, you should check out the business license. It is inexpensive, and you pay for the number of computers you’ll be installing the software on, with big discounts if it’s more than 25.

How Does System Mechanic Compare to Others?

system mechanic logo system mechanic review
  • All-around PC maintenance tool
  • Whole home license
  • Affordable plans
  • Fast, thorough tools
Price $39.96
ccleaner logo system mechanic review
  • Automatic cleaning
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Multiplatform
  • PC health check
Price $19.95(one PC)
systweak logo system mechanic review
  • Automatic checkup
  • Driver update
  • Game optimization
  • System backup

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to speed up a laptop that you’ve recently bought, bring an old gaming PC back to its prime, or just keep an office machine steadily chugging, you’ll find System Mechanic one of the best PC tune-up utilities around. This is not only an all-in-one solution for all of the issues you might run into while using your computer, but also a tool that will secure your investment by keeping it running well. The design leaves total control to the user, which means that you’ll always know what is going on with both your PC and the program. It’s not the cheapest app on the market, especially if you pick the Ultimate Defense version with all the bells and whistles, but it surely is one of the best at what it does, as you can see from our System Mechanic Pro review.

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Unlimited licenses
  • Quick scan and deep scan
  • Affordable pricing
  • Real-time scanner
  • No discounts for bundle or multi-year purchases
  • Some settings are missing

FAQ

Does System Mechanic really work?

Yes, System Mechanic can really speed up your computer. This program removes all the junk and broken files that inevitably pile up over the years, thus freeing up space for your more important documents. By restoring your hard drives and Windows registry, among other things, it also speeds up the boot process and makes your computer more stable for everyday use.

Is System Mechanic a malware?

No. In fact, it’s one of the best PC cleaners that can remove viruses and block internet attacks. The most recent version of System Mechanic has an additional layer of malware protection and works in conjunction with the antivirus software you might already have installed on your computer. It doesn’t even need to make any modifications to the system. If you only run its scanner to check up on the computer’s health, System Mechanic will show you what issues need addressing, but it won’t touch any file without your permission. 

Is System Mechanic free?

You can download a free trial version of System Mechanic from the Iolo Technologies website. It is a lightweight version of the full application, able to do the same scans of your computer, but limited to just a few quick fixes. There’s usually a discount when upgrading from the trial version.

Does System Mechanic work on tablets?

Unfortunately, this is an application that works only on Windows PCs. The developers of this app, as we mentioned in our System Mechanic review, specialize in utilities for Windows. That being said, it is one of the best apps of its kind and millions of people use it daily.