Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 12 is the most recent version of one of the most venerable suites of maintenance applets available under Windows. Over the years it has grown more sophisticated at tracking down the problems you're likely to hit which can slow down a Windows PC or laptop.

At the same time, Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 12 has become more automated, so many customers will rely most heavily on the One-Click Fix, which runs most of the key utilities and hopefully keeps things working smoothly. See all software downloads.

Installation checks for pre-existing anti-virus programs and offers to use whatever's installed, rather than Fix-It's own AV routines, which come from Sunbelt Software, the company behind VIPRE anti-virus.

The utilities are grouped under three main headings: Optimise, Security and Fix and Maintain. Optimise offers tools like Registry Fixer, Memory Optimiser and a fast Disk Defrag, among others. It's designed to make your PC start up and run faster. Security controls how the anti-malware apps work and gives you options to perform different kinds of scan and to set up Allowed and Blocked lists. Fix and Maintain handles file and registry cleaning, System Recovery, File Restore and a scheduler, so you can automate maintenance. See also: How to speed up your PC: 6 simple hardware upgrades.

The four new or improved features that Avanquest highlights for version 12 are a new PC Analyser technology to enable you to tailor what runs on your PC, a fourfold increase in the speed of registry repair, a Program Optimiser which accelerates the launch of applications and their responsiveness, and a 35 percent speed increase in AV scanning.

As a test, we ran it on the 50GB file bundle we use in Internet Security reviews. It took exactly an hour to complete, though the progress bar showed 99 percent complete for 48 of these. This is none too quick, compared with the majority of AV engines we've tested. Since the number of files selected for scanning isn't recorded, there's no way to calculate a scan rate.

By far the easiest way to use the program is to click the One-Click Fix button, which runs all the necessary utilities sequentially.

On our test system, this took about an hour, but it did find a lot of redundant files, processes and registry entries. Once it had completed, the system started up and ran noticeably quicker.

The automation may have been carried a bit too far in places though. For example, running the One-Click Fix on our test machine threw up a comment that not all the temporary files could be deleted and our attention was required. Fine, except that it didn't say which files couldn't be deleted, so we couldn't take matters into our own hands.

Running the Temporary Files Cleaner separately appeared to delete them all, but the message popped up again next time we ran a One-Click Fix.

There are also popups labelled Performance Alert, with options to kill the named high-resource process or to reduce its priority, but these are more of a nuisance than an aid.  

As well as the Windows-based interface, the supplied CD is directly bootable and offers Recovery Commander, which attempts to recover a corrupted system partition, Boot Fixer, which repairs the Master Boot Record on a Windows PC's C drive, and Manual Partitioning, which can change hard drive partitions.

Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 12: Specs

  • Windows XP/Vista/7, 32-/64-bit
  • 256MB RAM
  • 40MB drive space
  • Windows XP/Vista/7, 32-/64-bit
  • 256MB RAM
  • 40MB drive space


It would be good to say that Fix-It Utilities 12 handles all the key housekeeping tasks needed to keep your PC running clean. To a large extent, it can. The problem we had with the Temporary Files Cleaner, though, which prevented the Fix and Maintain index ever rising above 41 percent, detracts from an otherwise strong performance. It might not happen on your PC, of course and £31 for a five-PC licence is good value.