If ever there was a PC that needed speeding up it's our Windows machine. It's a 3.4GHz P4 with 2GB of RAM. It's slow - from cold, it takes 185 seconds to get to the login, 353 seconds to display the desktop and a total of 438 seconds to get the Sidebar clock ticking - that's over seven minutes to boot! So Uniblue's SpeedUpMyPC 2009 sounded like just what we needed. It installs quickly and is quick and easy to use.
What SpeedUpMyPC 2009 does isn't rocket science - it's basic housekeeping and tweaks you can perform yourself, or with the aid of free ‘go-faster' tools. It can clean out junk and privacy files. On our PC it found 1,450 of these. By contrast Piriform CCleaner, a similar utility, found almost 2,000 files to remove. After letting SUMP clean up, CCleaner found another 950 junk files remaining.
SpeedUpMyPC 2009 can also tweak your network settings, though this is a misnomer - what it actually adjusts are your browsing settings. It can tweak Windows too, shutting down unneeded services. The suggested candidate list is rather conservative and we're not sure it took into account the fact we were running Vista Business.
It offers a simple way to adjust CPU prioritisation for all running processes. There are five levels - most processes run at '2' but a few run at '1' or at '4'. We had 98 processes listed and it was hard to know which ones to 'boost'. The online info tells you what the process does and if it should be disabled; but not if it benefits from being prioritised. SpeedUpMyPC 2009 should feature a way to suggest which programs to boost.
It is possible to specify priority settings in different profiles - so you could have one set for gaming, a potentially useful feature. CPU and memory usage is monitored on a moving graph but this duplicates features already present in Windows.
SpeedUpMyPC 2009 can empty the clipboard and manually empty memory to free up RAM, but usage will inexorably creep up again. Incidentally SUMP itself takes up 22MB, more than Word 2007 and Outlook, and was second only to Firefox in hogging memory on our system.
You can manage your startup apps, something that has a direct impact on boot times. Again some ‘smart' recommendations would have been useful here. The list of suggested tweaks to speed up Windows was disappointingly short - only four items. SpeedUpMyPC 2009 didn't mention obvious things such as defragging your hard disk.
Did SpeedUpMyPC 2009 speed up our PC? In a word, no, and our boot times were also unaffected. Any other improvements were way too subtle to spot. Our advice: spend your £20 on another 2GB of RAM. That will speed up your system.