Sluggish PC performance is the mark of a machine suffering from a fractured registry, fragmented hard drive, and other ills—many of which can be remedied with Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional (49.99, direct). Avanquest tuneup suite serves up new features not present in the previous iteration—Disk Frag and PC Analyzer—that aim to improve system performance. It scored well in our tests with its one-click clean up that runs over 250 diagnostic tests, but the Editors’ Choice award-winning Iolo System Mechanic 10 ($39.99, 4.5 stars) remains the top dog in the PC tuneup utilities circle.

System Requirements and Interface Compatible with Windows 7, Vista, and XP PCs, Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional requires an Internet connection for downloading updates that may be available during installation. Unlike Iolo System Mechanic 10, which gives users the right to install the software on an unlimited number of systems, Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional limits you to just three—typical for software of this type.

Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional sports an easily navigable blue-and-white interface that’s split into two sections. There’s a column aligned to the left side of the screen that contains cleanup and repair tools, and a main content area that displays the various options available to each.

The Cleanup Tools Upon launching Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional, I was presented with a home screen that displayed the number of problems detected, active tools (such as Active Defense, E-mail Defense, Active Intelligence), and the overall system, security, and maintenance health. The last trio of features are accompanied by bars that show the PC’s health percentage in those areas—a nice touch for giving users at-a-glance information.

You can boost those percentages by running one of the many optimizers: System Optimizer, Windows Optimizer, Memory Optimizer, and Internet Speed Optimizer. System Optimizer lets you select profiles to enhance certain PC tasks (Gaming, Multimedia, Office), or you can scrub everything with just one mouse click. Windows Optimizer touts the ability to improve Microsoft Office applications by tightening their security. Memory Optimizer is described as being able to improve system performance. Internet Speed Optimizer boasts increased Web surfing speeds by up to 80 percent (for Firefox and Internet Explorer). The aforementioned Active Intelligence, when activated, monitors and automatically fixes and maintains your PC without your intervention. Disk Defrag defragments the hard drive, and PC Analyzer aims to decrease start-up times.

Performance Improvements after running the cleanup tools, I tested Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional’s ability to whip a PC back into shape by performing three tests—running the Geekbench system performance tool, measuring boot times, and transferring a 1.1GB folder of mixed media to external storage—before and after running the software to compare the computer’s potency. each test was run three times and averaged. before Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional scrubbed the system, the 2-GHz Intel Core i7 X990 Style-Note notebook with 4GB of RAM, and an 80GB Intel SSD drive achieved a 5,903 Geekbench score, booted in 50.3 seconds, and transferred the 1.1GB folder in 40.5 seconds.

after using Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional, the system saw performance gains in some areas. Boot time decreased to 45 seconds, which was swifter than PC Tools Performance Toolkit 2011’s ($39.99, 4 stars) 46 seconds, and Comodo System Cleaner’s (Free, 3.5 stars) 48.7 seconds, but slower than AVG PC Tuneup 2011’s ($29.99, 4 stars) 43.1 seconds, and Iolo System Mechanic 10’s 42 seconds. The file transfer speed dropped to 43.5 seconds, which was on a par with AVG PC Tuneup 2011 43.3 seconds, and Comodo System Cleaner’s 44.2 seconds, but slower than PC Tools Performance Toolkit 2011’s 39.3 seconds, and Iolo System Mechanic 10’s 40.2 seconds. The GeekBench score actually dipped slightly to 5,852, which proved to be worse than all other tuneup suites I’ve tested.

overall, the system felt swifter than it did before I ran Avanquest’s app, but not quite as fast as when I cleaned it with Iolo System Mechanic 10. Still, the overall PC system score rose from 37 percent to 82 percent after running the software.

Extra Features Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional, like other PC tuneup utilities, gives you the option to make back ups of your drive so that you can retrieve document, photos, and other files at a later date, should you delete them or experience drive failure. You can also create a Rescue CD that will let you boot the PC should a problem occur. Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional also contains a file shredder that meets the U.S. Department of Defense security cleaning standards. Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional also includes optional antivirus and antispyware protection that comes with 1 year of free updates. The Internet Speed Optimizer offered barely no change when I loading a Flickr page, and later downloading a large file.

Should You use Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional? Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional isn’t a bad tool—it was just outperformed by several other tools. The app’s $49.99 price for 3 installs is also trumped by the all-around excellent Editors’ Choice winner Iolo System Mechanic 10—which you can install on an unlimited number of PCs for $10 less. Even the free Comodo System Cleaner in the overall system performance test. Still, it does come with antivirus and antispyware solutions, and helped the testbed post decent boot and file transfer times. Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional isn’t a bad tool, but you can do better.

More Utility Suites Reviews: •   Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 11 Professional•   TuneUp Utilities 2011•   Norton Utilities•   AVG PC Tuneup 2011•   Comodo System Cleaner•   more