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HP Total Care Advisor set to help you keep your PC healthy

New custom support software will come in all new HP laptops and desktops.

We've already reviewed HP's new, Vista-equipped TouchSmart PC, announced here at CES 2007, but what we didn't talk much about was the new custom support application that HP sent with it, and which will come in all new HP laptops and desktops. We sat down with HP this morning to talk about it, and we came away more than a little impressed.

Total Care Advisor is an HP-made suite of support tools designed to help you stay proactive in maintaining the health of your HP system. The software clearly breaks down the various areas of your system via large icons and simple explanations, and clicking an icon leads to more specific information about the current and potential problems within the specified area. If your PC is connected to the Internet, the support application can talk to HP's servers in order to run diagnostics, install updated support tools, and in general help keep your computer, as well any peripherals connected to it over your home network, up to date and running well.

Total Care Advisor's main screen. HP

HP joined Dell and Gateway in 2006 in offering remote tech-support services in which you can give tech personnel clearance to take over your PC over the Internet and drive any necessary software changes. If HP's Total Care Advisor works as advertised, it prevents you from having to make that tech support call in the first place. Another idea we like about Total Care Advisor: it's designed to corral those nagging pop-ups from the Windows Update Advisor and other auto-updating programs.