PowerTools Lite is a free registry and system cleaning utility based on jv16 PowerTools 2009 utility suite, one of the best available registry cleaning utilities. PowerTools Lite is designed to provide regular or novice users with a safe, effective registry and system cleanup. It removes unnecessary data from the registry, performs a general PC cleanup, and cleans MRU and history data from most applications and from Windows.
PowerTools lite is a freeware version of what arguably is one of the best commercially available registry cleaners out there, jv16 PowerTools. I first used that program about 10 years ago or so when it first came out. At the time it was freeware and was very well received and as it developed it was widely lauded as one of the best programs in it’s class; which is why it was eventually bought and re-released as shareware (the last freeware version is still available on the net).
This newly release freeware version (PowerTools Lite) is a version of jv16 PowerTools which contains some of the core functionality of that software (and to be honest with you this functionality is what I would care about anyway; all the other utilities that are added to the “suite” are bells and whistles that can be found in a number of available freeware titles).
This posting will feel more like an endorsement than a review, and, well… that would be a fair characterization. I cannot credibly review a registry cleaner without something to compare the cleaning results with (a ’clean’ system, say, and/or some sort of quantitative measure of system performance improvement). I have taken a stab at reviewing free registry cleaners in the past (see Registry Distiller and TweakNow RegCleaner), but generally speaking reviewing registry cleaners is a tricky business. This is for several reasons (a) there is a big question mark as to the extent to which a “cleaned” registry would contribute towards better performance in any significant or measurable way, and (b) there is always an inherent risk that a registry cleaner will do damage or remove/change information which it shouldn’t, which when weighed against concerns that even a “successful” registry cleaning may not boost performance that much anyway, makes it difficult to recommend apps in this category.
However insofar as there is value in using a registry/system cleaner, I have no qualms recommending PowerTools Lite as a safe and powerful free option. This is mainly due to (a) the excellent reputation that this program has, and, (b) the fact that it has been around for many years, enough time to iron out any kinks.
Here are more notes on this program:
- The Interface: designed for extremely simple, 1-click operation. The results set of proposed fixes is segmented into 4 sections (registry errors, registry junk, MRU & history data, and temp files) where you can drill down to see the various proposed fixes and check or uncheck these for implementation as needed (selecting an entry will display more information).
- Undo: gives you the option to backup its pre-intervention state and to undo all changes if needed (just in case).
- Search: you can search within the results listings (regular expressions supported).
Differences between the free and paid versions: in addition to the registry cleaning and system optimization functions which are available in the free version, the (paid) jv16 PowerTools 2009 utility suite includes a startup manager, a program uninstaller, File and directory tools with advanced system functions such as encryption and file attribute editing, a File Cleaner, Start Menu Cleaner, a Script Manager and an automated back-up tool, and a service manager.
The verdict: the way I see it, registry cleaning is really more an art than a science, and finding a “good” registry cleaner is to some degree a matter of trust. This re-release of jv16 PowerTools registry cleaner as freeware, therefore, is music to my ears, as it has a long history and an established reputation.
I will also add that, personally, I am GRATEFUL that this free version cuts out all the other utilities and apps. Not only does this make for a more lightweight app free from bloat, but the function that remains is the one I am interested in, and the one that made this software special in the first place. If anything I would have preferred that they did not include the “temp file” cleaning function of this software (which a hard drive cleaner like CCleaner can take care of).
Finally I will mention that lately I had been hearing good things about another freeware registry cleaner, Comodo System Cleaner, so that’s another program you might want to look at as well if you’re interested.
Version Tested: 126.96.36.1995
Compatibility: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/2003/Vista.