TuneUp Utilities is a long-standing member of the PC tweaking programs club and they’ve continued to improve their product, at a steady pace, year after year. For 2012, they’ve introduced Economy Mode, which helps save battery life—keeping you connected for longer while you’re mobile. This is the only new major feature this year; however, the program has been updated with more tips and tricks, revisions to previous tweaks, and UI improvements to help you work your way around this powerful collection of tools.
If you’re new to TuneUp Utilities, you might enjoy this little overview; otherwise, skip to what’s new.
TuneUp Utilities Overview
TuneUp scans your PC’s settings, system files, registry, and more and, based upon what it finds, offers you tips to improve your PC’s performance. TuneUp can take care of everything for you with one click or can walk you through the process of speeding up your PC.
Download and install TuneUp Utilities 2012. I recommend you check the Custom Installation box on the first screen:
I like to check for updates myself and I don’t use desktop gadgets; here are my configuration choices:
When you first start using TuneUp, you are guided through the 1-Click Maintenance wizard. Before you go through the Wizard, I recommend you configure the Settings:
Once you’ve made your choices (or if you chose not to configure your settings yet), click Start analysis now:
TuneUp scans your PC and identifies:
- Registry problems
- Registry fragmentation
- Broken shortcuts
- Temporary files
- Startup optimizations
- Shutdown optimizations
Click Show details (where available) and view more details about the recommendations given:
Clicking Run maintenance will fix the errors and problems and get you on your way to a cleaner PC:
After running the automatic maintenance for the first time, you can “set it and forget it” and TuneUp will tweak your PC in the background:
You can manage TuneUp right from the system tray and get a quick overview of any potential problems that exist. You can also switch between Turbo, Standard, and Economy Modes.
Note: Some of the following screenshots come from the TuneUp Utilities 2011 review–the features in 2012 are the same.
By telling TuneUp your computing preferences (e.g. what level of visual effects you like) and information it may not be able to determine alone (e.g. Internet connection type and speeds), it can customize your computer for best performance according to your needs:
TuneUp will, at first, offer you many performance-enhancing changes and tools. Don’t worry, it wont take you long to get through all the suggestions, and you’ll be glad you did afterward. Here’s an example of TuneUp offering to scan your drive with the TuneUp Disk Doctor to check your hard drives for errors:
I decided to scan all hard drives:
Here’s another example where TuneUp identifies programs you haven’t used in a long time and asks you if you recognize them or not. If you don’t recognize the program, TuneUp will help you determine its purpose and help you disable it (more about that later) or uninstall it:
As with all good optimization programs, you can back out your changes at any time. The TuneUp Rescue Center can help you fix and problems that may be caused by over-zealous clean up.
Disable Programs; Verify their Usefulness by Rating
The Program Decactivator deactivates programs that you currently don’t use. By deactiviating a program, you stop the services and supporting programs that are run by it. If you need some of these programs occasionally, it could be tedious to uninstall and reinstall these programs again and again. The Program Deactivator is designed to “pause” a program until you need it again. I deactivated iTunes (which tends to slow down my PC), plugged in my iPhone, and TuneUp popped up to let me know iTunes had, in an instant, been reactivated for use again — easy!
Not sure which programs to deactivate? TuneUp comes with a user-driven rating system that lets you rate the programs you use and view the ratings left by others:
Aware of privacy concerns, I checked out What data will be transferred? and saw the following:
I also spoke to one of the founders of the company, Tibor Schiemann, and he verified that no personal or identifiable information is sent in this process and that your anonymity is high priority.
One feature that isn’t new but is very useful is TuneUp Shredder. Find out how to use it here: Permanently delete files with TuneUp Shredder.
That concludes the overview. Now, on to the new features in 2012.
TuneUp Utilities 2012 New Features
TuneUp Economy Mode
TuneUp Economy mode changes system settings, disables hardware, and helps your PC run more conservatively to help save battery life. If you’re someone who is on the go all the time, you know how much an extra 20 minutes of battery life can help when you’re, for example: stuck on a plane; finishing a report just before class; or cramming a revision session in outside the exam hall. Economy Mode can be accessed with just two clicks (click TuneUp in the system tray and click Economy Mode) and it will instantly start saving you power.
I tried TuneUp Economy Mode on my wife’s netbook:
Setup: New installation Windows 7 Ultimate w/SP1 and VLC Player. Battery fully charged.
Test: Play HD (720p) MKV on loop until battery drains
Standard Mode: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Windows Power saver mode: 2 hours and 23 minutes
Economy Mode: 2 hours and 53 minutes (a 28% improvement! over standard mode)
The results of this test are fairly significant; use of Economy Mode is a far better option than Windows “Power saver” mode or no power savings.
New in TuneUp 2011 was the Tuning status bar; this year, it’s been improved to be a little more intuitive and help you understand what needs to be done to improve performance:
As you can, see there is more information on what steps you’ve taken to optimize and what is outstanding–unused potential.
TuneUp Utilities Settings
As each utility within TuneUp has it’s own configuration, you can quickly get lost in settings screens and even change the same settings twice or three times through different panels without realizing. This year, TuneUp Utilities comes with a unified settings console to help you configure each tool in a central location. While this isn’t really an exciting feature, it really does help you organize yourself a little more and take a more systematic approach to your optimizing.
Other notable changes include:
- Enhancements to the program deactivator; now the assistant reactivates programs for use and then automatically deactivates them again for you. Read more about the Program Deactivator in the overview above.
- A modified dashboard UI with integrated settings buttons for each utility as well as a switch for the three performance modes