Note: the following is not a paid review. I was approached by the folks at Answers That Work to review The Ultimate Troubleshooter. I did accept a licensed copy of the software in order to complete the following review.
What: ATW claims “The Ultimate Troubleshooter is PC healthcare, PC repair, PC tuning, and PC maintenance in Plain English” – and I won’t dispute that one bit.
The Ultimate Troubleshooter (TUT) works on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, and the 32bit version of Windows Vista. It will set you back $29 (US Dollars) for a single license, and includes 1-year of database updates and product upgrades. After that the (optional) yearly renewal fee is $17.50. So – what do you get for your hard earned money? A solid, very easy to use (though not exactly visually stunning), very easy to understand program that will identify and resolve dozens, if not hundreds, of problems.
When you first run TUT, it will prompt you to update its database. TUT then scans your PC and compares everything it finds against what it knows about your programs. The results are categorized by Status – “Not OK” means you can, and probably should, disable the program or service, “Users Choice” means that in some cases it’s probably a good idea to disable the program/service, “Multiple Possibilities” means you should take a closer look, and “OK” means ‘leave it alone’. If TUT finds something it’s unsure of, it assigns it an “Unknown” status.
For every task, program or service that it identifies, it provides detailed information on said task/program/service. One of the things that impressed me most about TUT is the extremely clear and easy to understand language that’s used throughout the application, but especially in the descriptions.
At no point in time will TUT do anything that you don’t want it to do. In fact, every action you perform will be proceeded by a ‘are you sure you want to do this’ warning. Unlike many similar programs, TUT doesn’t try to automatically fix everything for you, rather, it suggests fixes, and explains how to do so. This is a good thing – what one person may not want running, another may. TUT does a great job of understanding that.
Another helpful feature of TUT is the System Info panel. Not only does it identify the software on your PC, but it provides version numbers, links to the publishers site – and even links to the publishers Help pages.
TUT can even help you reclaim disk space via its Housekeeping utility. Similar to every other aspect of TUT, you’re presented with a list of options – you choose what you want to clear and what you don’t want to clear. And by default, everything that it deletes is moved to the Recycle Bin, rather than completely erasing it. That way you can reboot, use your system for a while to make sure everything is OK, and then empty the Recycle Bin. Very, very smart.
So to sum up – TUT is very much worth the price tag. And I’d like to remind you once again, I wasn’t paid to say that. This is the kind of software that every ISP should be giving to its customers – not only would it save the customer time and effort, it would save the ISP countless calls to support.