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Fix-It Utilities 6.0 Professional review: Fix-It Utilities 6.0 Professional

Back in the day, nothing beat Norton SystemWorks for the best disk-utility package. Well, times have changed. V-com's Fix-It Utilities Professional 6.0 surpasses Norton in top-quality tools. But is it better than Iolo's System Mechanic? Our review finds out.

4 min read

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While venerable Norton SystemWorks 2005 only repackages its disk-utility tools, V-com's Fix-It Utilities Professional 6.0, like Iolo Technologies' System Mechanic Pro 5.0, continues to improve by offering new and more creative disk-diagnostic tools. Each utility suite offers a mix of strong, basic hard disk tools and features: hard drive defragmentation, data recovery, antivirus protection, and registry scans and suggested fixes. The tools included in Fix-It Utilities could still be improved; for example, it currently lacks the multiple-undo feature recently added to System Mechanic, and the addition of live technical support (either via telephone or online chat) would be a definite plus. We like System Mechanic Pro better but give Fix-It Utilities a close second, with SystemWorks falling to a distant third.

7.4

Fix-It Utilities 6.0 Professional

The Good

Provides a wide range of in-depth hard disk utilities; easy-to-navigate interface; detailed printed manual; good in-program help files.

The Bad

No live phone tech support; lacks context-sensitive help menu.

The Bottom Line

A strong, well-organized selection of tools, Fix-It Utilities Professional 6.0 surpasses Norton SystemWorks and runs a close second to System Mechanic Pro.
Fix-It Utilities Professional 6.0

Setup and interface
V-com Fix-It Utilities Professional 6.0 is available either as a boxed CD or a download. Either way, installation offers a full or custom install (roughly 45MB of hard drive space for the full installation). With the full installation, you get Recovery Commander (a repair tool that helps with unstable, unbootable systems) and PowerDesk 5.0 (a file manager). We experienced only one glitch: a dialog box asking us to reboot while another asked if we wanted to download updates. We downloaded the updates and rebooted without any trouble.



Fix-It's main menu is easy to understand.

The Fix-It Utilities interface is simple and intuitive, with categories of utilities displayed along the left. Clicking any one of these links displays a series of buttons on the right side of the screen, each linking to a specific utility and providing a brief description.

The settings for Fix-It Utilities could be better organized. While most controls appear in the Settings menu above a specific utility screen, the settings for SpeedUp, CleanUp, FixUp, and All-in-One are one level higher, under the One-Stop Solutions category; meanwhile, the settings for DiskFixer and JetDefrag appear on the bottom-left portion of the screen. We found this layout confusing.

Features
Though the most important enhancement to V-com Fix-It Utilities Professional 6.0 appears in its antivirus module, Fix-It also provides a fine set of utilities for hard disk maintenance. However, it includes several other utilities that are arguably of minimal value, such as syncing your system clock with an online time source or capturing Windows error messages to a log file.

In this new release, Fix-It Utilities uses a version of Trend Micro's antivirus module that includes heuristic virus scanning. Where the last version of the program could only recommend manual solutions, the new release optionally removes viruses itself. In our experience, Fix-It Utilities did a satisfactory job discovering and destroying several viruses. Fix-It Utilities allows you to manually enable or disable the AutoEmailScan and AutoFileScan features of the antivirus protection. Like System Mechanic and SystemWorks, the Fix-It Utilities antivirus app autoupdates via the Web.



Automated antivirus updates are accompanied by a read-me file listing all improvements.

Fix-It Utilities can also test hard drives, undelete files, recover damaged systems, and scan for spyware. RegistryDefrag reorganizes your registry, PCDiagnostics analyzes your system, and JetDefrag moves and rejoins fragmented files to speed up your hard drive. JetDefrag includes options that let you set the number of days before it places frequently used files in the drive zone reserved for fastest access and rarely used files in the zone for slowest access--handy features. Fix-It Utilities offers more defrag options than the defragmentation utility bundled within Windows.

For all its efforts to outstrip System Mechanic Pro, Fix-It lacks a few utilities. For example, System Mechanic Pro's Internet Optimization Wizard does a fine job of adjusting a range of Windows configuration settings that affect Web and network connection speed, while its memory defragger regains RAM that some apps fail to release. We think V-com still has its work cut out for it if it wants to make Fix-It the obvious choice among hard disk utility suites.

Service and support
Unfortunately, V-com Fix-It Utilities Professional 6.0 doesn't offer context-sensitive help, though its in-program help file is very good, bolstering the printed manual's contents with related subject hotlinks. (If you decide to purchase Fix-It, we recommend purchasing the boxed copy rather than the download; for the same price, you get a printed copy of the more than 180-page-plus manual.) Another available in-program help file is the Emergency Recovery Manual, an extensive white paper that explains how to deal with performance issues and data loss.



The help system isn't context sensitive, but it's great for quick searches. The online knowledge base offers searchable links to many white papers.

V-com offers e-mail tech support five days a week, and we found the company's claims of a 24-hour turnaround accurate; the support was courteous and informed. The company's Web site also supplies numerous short, effective FAQs for Fix-It. However, the site has no online forums, nor does V-com provide live tech support by phone. We feel the latter is a serious drawback for a utilities package that delivers mission-critical performance to your system.

7.4

Fix-It Utilities 6.0 Professional

Score Breakdown

Setup 7Features 8Support 7