iolo System Mechanic 12 Pro Review

System Mechanic was released by iolo Technology in 1998, and remained as one of the most-used PC optimization software until today. According to iolo Technologies, System Mechanic has been used by over 40 million people globally. How does System Mechanic help in speeding up your computer? We will be looking into the newly released System Mechanic 12 Pro to see how it exactly works.

Computer that I’m using: I’m testing this software on a brand new Asus Vivobook S300CA with Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and self-upgraded Crucial M500 120GB SSD, which has only been used for about one day. The ultrabook is fairly clean and optimized with bloatware removed and minimal startup programs. 

First Impression

The introduction screen shows up when it first launched. You can find links to tutorials, new features, and benefits here. While it is great to welcome and introduce System Mechanic features to first-time users, it would be better if System Mechanic provides some getting started tips in the software instead of just browser links.

Introduction Screen

Once you proceed to the main screen, System Mechanic 12 will request you to run your first system analysis. You can either perform a quick analysis that detects common problems (1 – 2 minutes) or a deep analysis that scans all types of problems (5 – 7 minutes).

System Mechanic 12 Pro Interface

All features are listed at the sidebar and sorted according to categories. It is fairly easy to navigate, but I find TuneUp Utilities 2014’s interface to be slightly more intuitive then System Mechanic. Besides, System Mechanic doesn’t have a tab that lists all functions within a screen like TuneUp Utilities.


Quick Analysis

I have decided to first run a quick analysis before testing its deep scan. It took less than a minute, which is expected for a new computer. Surprisingly, my system’s overall status is rated as fair by System Mechanic. Now you can simply press the “Repair All” button to let System Mechanic Pro fixes all of the problems for you, or you can view the details of the problems and solve them individually by pressing “View Problems”.

Quick Analysis

Critical problems are highlighted in red font to distinguish them from normal problems. You can choose to fix detected problems by yourself or let System Mechanic to solve them for you.

Strangely, for some of the problems, System Mechanic neither allow me to look into the details of the problems nor let me to repair them by myself. For example, as you can see, System Mechanic has detected 250 core data conflicts within the Windows communication infrastructure. However, System Mechanic has only provided me the option to let the software repair the problem by itself, without listing the conflicts in detail.

View system problems in detail

Nevertheless, I chose to let System Mechanic repair all of the issues by itself. It took about a minute to repair and I was prompted to restart the computer to complete the repair.

In overall, System Mechanic’s quick analysis is indeed useful in repairing existing problems, but tech-savvy users would prefer to know where the problems are and how System Mechanic is going to fix them, which are hidden for some of the problems.

Deep Analysis

After completing the quick analysis, I immediately run a deep analysis to scan for all potential issues in my machine. You will probably see this pop-up (refer to the image below) that tells you not to cancel the hard drive scan once it is started, which is a great way to inform users and provide them the option to skip this test, as it may take up to an hour for a big hard drive.

Deep system analysis

The deep scan took merely 3 – 4 minutes on my new ultrabook to complete, and System Mechanic found some potential fixes for me, such as eliminate redundant software and update drivers. It suggested me to eliminate programs with overlapped features like avast and Malwarebytes. Although I chose to keep all of the redundant software at the end, it is still an useful recommendation in case you have installed unnecessary software without realising.

Its driver updater is extremely easy-to-use. System Mechanic will download and install the updates automatically once you agreed to install them.

Find and install updated drivers

Even before the deep analysis, System Mechanic 12 has already recommended me to disable unnecessary startup programs. Aside from listing the programs’ information and their performance impacts, System Mechanic also displays statistics about how many users are turning them on or off, for some popular startup programs. This is certainly a valuable resource to users who can’t decide whether to disable or enable a particular startup program.

Optimize Windows startup

PC TotalCare

PC TotalCare runs additional fixes and optimizations that combines repair, speed-boosting, cleanup, and protection tools into one. So, how does PC TotalCare differs from system analysis? I find it rather confusing too at first. After looking up for the description of both features, I would say PC TotalCare is more of a cleanup tool that remove temporary and unnecessary files and defragment registry, whereas system analysis focuses on improving system health and security.

PC TotalCare

Once I’ve started PC TotalCare, System Mechanic provides me some recommended and optional actions, as you can see from the image below. These recommendations are based on the quick and deep analysis that I’ve run previously.

Perform a complete PC tune-up

There are some duplicated actions like “recover and defragment system memory” and “back up system registry” that are previously listed as problems or actions under system analysis. Nevertheless, I’ve selected all of the actions and run PC TotalCare, which took less than a minute to complete.

PC TotalCare is an useful diagnostic, cleanup, repair and security tool, but some of its functions are overlapped with system analysis. It would be better if the functions of both tools are completely separated to reduce confusion.

Search and Recover, DriveScrubber, and SystemShield

3 extra products with fancy names are included in System Mechanic 12 Professional, which are basically recovery tool, data destruction utility, and antivirus/antispyware program. Search and Recover allows you to find, recover and view deleted, lost, and damaged files. DriveScrubber wipes all contents or free space of a drive with just one click, or you can create a bootable disk that you can use to erase all contents of a drive. Lastly, SystemShield is a security software that protects your PC from viruses and spyware, which is not compatible with other security software like avast and Norton.

iolo Search and Recover

If you need these extra features, you may consider to get System Mechanic 12 Professional. Else, you are better off with its standard edition to save your money.

Other notable features

ActiveCare is a patented technology that automatically maintains your PC when you are away. Tasks that ActiveCare runs automatically in the background include repairing hard drive errors, fixing registry problems, optimizing startup configuration, cleaning up system clutter, and more. You can easily enable or disable any of these tasks under the ActiveCare category.

ActiveCare automated tasks

Under the Reports category, you can also track and monitor your system health in real-time, view your PC’s reliability, access to history of changes, crashes, and failures, etc.

At the menu bar, you can find SafetyNet that allows you to undo System Mechanic Actions and restore your computer to its previous state.


I would recommend System Mechanic 12 Pro to normal computer users who are looking for

  • a complete PC tune-up software
  • hassle-free PC maintenance software

iolo System Mechanic 12 Pro is an all-in-one PC optimization software that analyses, repairs, optimizes, and maintains your computer. However, its interface is rather confusing to use especially for first-time users. Besides, tech-savvy users will probably demand for more information on detected problems, instead of just letting System Mechanic to repair all of the problems by itself without understanding what it actually fixes.

Despite its shortcomings on user-friendliness, there’s no doubt that System Mechanic 12 Pro is a powerful optimization software that rivals with TuneUp Utilities 2014. System Mechanic 12 Pro covers all household PCs with just a single license, whereas TuneUp Utilities only allows up to 3 PCs per license.

If you already have an anti-virus software installed on your machine, you should get the standard version of System Mechanic 12 that excludes anti-virus features for $24.95 here (50% discount). If you need security protection, file recovery tool, and data destruction software, get System Mechanic 12 Pro for 39.95 here ($30 off).

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ray Rowell

    I have a Pentium-4 XP system in very bad health. I just bought SM Pro at Walmart. Install didn’t work for existing security I couldn’t find nor disable. I then paid tech support big bucks to fix this solo system. Many stops, and reconnects from T.S., many phone calls, and 8 and a half hours, I was handed back a system I was to tired to check out. Next day, system seemed much better. Day after, I ran S.M., Deep Scanned, apparently cleaned 400+ registry errors, fixed 5 spies or something … changed the dials from yellow to green, ran or looked at the second page stuff. Wiped out the full list of start-up slowdowns and exited S.M.Pro. Why, so much auto-repair and de-fragmentation after 2 days and immense Tech Support? The system works great, but $180 later, I question the return, no T.S. feedback, yellow dials … this is hepatitis relived! I stop here for a response, e-mail me please

  • Dave

    I know how you feel. On both of my systems it keeps repeatedly telling me that my system drives have serious problems, yet not other testing tool shows any issues with those drives. I let it “repair but it alerts me to the same problems over and over, same goes for disk defragging. I’ve already let it do a full defragmentation and the next day it will tell me the whole drive is BADLY fragmented.

    SM is junk and stellar at the same time. “core data conflicts” repair did wonders for my system speed, but when it comes to hard drives it’s awful.

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