I’ve been using BoostXP on my laptop. This laptop has a huge list of installed software because it’s used for development. The software list includes an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), a database server, a reporting server, office tools, project tools, image editors, source code tools, three different browsers, and lots more. It’s one of those machines where BoostXP can really make a difference.
Some of the optimization options that BoostXP includes features I will usually congigure using other tools, usually more than one, in addition to the changes I perform manually. BoostXP is an all-in-one, time-saving tool that, in addition to the customizations, provides some useful system maintenance tools. The Registry cleanup and RAM optimization are two such tools.
Installation & Setup (3 out of 5)
The install of BoostXP was quite straightforward. Basically a license agreement review, then a few clicks and your done. This is as easy as it comes. To uninstall it you just have to use add/remove programs in control panel.
It aggravates me when I have to re-boot after uninstalling software from my system. I find it even more annoying when there is apparently no reason for it. While BoostXP doesn’t require a re-boot after install, it does after you uninstall it. I have no clue as to why.
Price to Value (4 out of 5)
All things considered I do think BoostXP is a good value for the money. It combines a lot of tweaking capabilities and tools in one package. Despite including some options that I don’t see any use for, it does its job well. Some may argue that there are free tools doing some or most of the same things BoostXP does. Well, I may agree with that, because I did use some of them in the past. However, the truth is that I would rather use one good tool that does most of the work than use two or three different tools for the same purpose. It’s up to you to decide if that justifies the price tag.
User Interface (4 out of 5)
The main screen in BoostXP is quite simple. It shows you a set of options on the right. For each of those you have a subset of on average of threeoptions. For each of these options you are taken to a different screen.
[See Screenshots 1 through 9]
The user interface has a nice clean look and feel and it’s easy to use.
Still some modules are a bit different than the others. Some open on the same window, with a back “a la windows explorer” option, and some open a new window with a similar interface but an “exit” option. There is also a wallpaper changer that open’s a completely different window with a completely different UI. This doesn’t influence the functionality but you must be careful when closing a window. I’ve mistakenly closed the program more than once when my intention was just to go back to the main menu. Just remember that on one screen you must select “back” and the other “exit.” Again, this is not a big issue but I would prefer consistency for all modules.
[See Screenshots 10 – 12]
Product Features (4 out of 5)
Boost XP has a huge list of stuff you can change. Going though all of the settings that this package offers would fall out of the scope of this review. Most of them that you can see in the screenshots are self-explanatory. The most useful options for me are the configurable options for Performance, Visual effects, Start Menu Management, and Taskbar management. Here you can change some system settings that can in fact improve your performance and usability. In addition, I also use the RAM Optimizer which can take a look at your RAM usage and will try to free some when it falls below a certain specified amount. I tried this option and while I didn’t see any noticeable performance changes, it did seem to improve my RAM usage with a small exception described in “what’s not”.
To this list I have to add Cleanup Registry. It includes a configuration option where you can specify what to look for when cleaning up. Running this option will go through the registry and list the problems found. You can then select the entries to remove. After accepting the changes, BoostXP will keep a backup of the changes so you can undo the changes if necessary.
[See Screenshots 11 – 17]
On some BoostXP optimization options you get this message: “Important System Settings. These settings are important for your system to work correctly. You should not modify the settings unless professionally qualified. Do you want to continue?” I think it’s important to warn the users of potentially harmful changes to their system, but I also think it would be valuable to include some extra information on the help file. I would like to know exactly what “Improve core Kernel performance” will do. The help file says “This option improves your kernel performance and gives you fast speed for working. To apply, click on the option and BoostXP will improve the performance.” I would guess that any user that reads this text on the help file will select this option, independently of the warning message.
The RAM optimizer gave me some strange results a couple of times. Instead or reducing memory usage it actually increased it. The difference was negligible (below 500kb).
There is an “Appointment Planner” option. I don’t understand the reason for a tool like this. Perhaps there is something that I’ve missed but having this on a windows performance and maintenance tool is something I would not expect. I’ve tried to see if there was a hidden option to schedule performance maintenance actions of some sort. It is just a personal planner much like the one you get with outlook or other similar software.
[See Screenshots 18 – 20]
Performance (4 out of 5)
Boost XP loads fast and the UI is quite smooth. Most changes are done on the fly with little or no waiting time at all. Some take longer due to their nature. Registry cleaner is a good example.
Help & Support (2 out of 5)
If you consider that Boost XP makes some pretty sensitive changes to the way your system behaves, it would be expected to have a decent help system explaining exactly what will be done to the system and how it will be affected. At least with some of the more advanced options. This is not the case. The help “system,” while helpful in some cases, lacks detail in most instances. Adding to this annoyance is the fact that no matter where you are when pressing F1 key, the help always opens on the first section. Context help is something that you won’t get with BoostXP. It’s a nuisance to have to scroll down to the proper section to see the help you need. The help formatting is bad to the point that you have to read topic by topic to get to the option you are looking for. If you consider that some potential users of Boost XP will be beginners then a good help system is as important as the tool.
Some minor improvements to the UI could be made.
The help file needs some work. Also some context help would be useful.
Some tools like the Appointment Planner are of no use on a tool like this.
If you are a user who needs a tool with loads of optimizations and tweaking options in one place, BoostXP is the easy-to-use software that can help you. Keep in mind that this user doesn’t need to know much about the details on how these work or what they actually do. Don’t expect much from the help file and don’t anticipate everything to work as you might expect. This is because some tweaks may have different results in different systems that are not directly related to BoostXP but related more to the nature of the type of configuration.
If you are a more advanced user that likes to know what’s being done, how and get some extra technical information before pressing the apply button, then you probably miss that extra technical detail. Still there are some useful tools in here and I will keep it on my system. While I would not use some of the features, I like to have a tool that allows me to make a clean up of registry and to change some settings on XP that usually would take me more time doing by hand. It has loads of options and that works to its advantage.