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Posted on Feb 29, 2012 in PC Maintenance, Troubleshoot Windows | 0 comments

TWT Benchtests – Reimage

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Were we buzzing about Reimage or should you make a beeline elsewhere? Why not try a free scan for yourself?

Reimage is a whole new PC repair tool that leverage’s the power of the cloud to repair Windows systems. Can it deliver on its promise to quickly and efficiently make your PC good as new? There’s certainly no shortage of PC repair tools available on the market. There are products that claim to repair, tweak and speed up your PC and of course there are the notorious registry cleaners. One thing that an awful lot of these utilities have in common is that they fail to deliver on their promise of improving your computers speed or fixing any lingering Windows problems you might be experiencing. When Reimage contacted us and offered us a review copy of their Reimage PC repair software, we naturally took them up on the offer, after explaining, of course, that we never endorse any software that we wouldn’t use on our own PC’s. If PC repair utilities usually leave us disappointed and cynical, how come Reimage were willing to let us test theirs? The answer is that Reimage really is something unique in the marketplace and something that can deliver on its promises.

Reimage’s secret ingredients

So how does Reimage work, and what sets it apart from just another PC repair utility? Reimage works by first scanning your PC, it checks the registry and the system directories for damage, either from virus infections, malware or just general wear and tear, perhaps caused by badly written uninstaller scripts. So far so normal, but it’s what Reimage does next that sets it apart. Rather than trying to undo any damage that the program detects, it connects to the internet and checks the system files on your PC against a list of known good versions. So, for instance if one of the DLL files on your PC has been replaced with an older version, or even a version infected with malware, Reimage will know instantly and will be able to replace the file with a known good copy downloaded over the internet.

Reimaging a Windows 7 PC

I’ll confess, I was a little concerned about letting Reimage run on one of the PC’s here at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com. Out of our range of PC’s, there were only two that were showing any signs of trouble. Fortunately that included one Windows 7 machine and one Windows Vista machine. Both machines were in regular use, and had several customizations done to them. The Windows 7 machine was running Truecrypt (a full computer encryption package), Windowblinds (extensive Windows skinning utility), Directory Opus (an explorer replacement) and heaps of other software too. The machine was running fine, but occasionally froze while browsing directories or surfing the internet. Before beginning the process, a backup of the computer was taken using Acronis True Image, just in case, although the Reimage software claims to be able to undo any changes it makes.

Running Reimage. is extremely easy, there’s really nothing more to do other than start the software and let it complete its initial scan. During this phase, the software will show you various information about your computer and its peripherals. You can see a video of Reimage in action by clicking here. If you have less memory or hard drive space than average, for instance, the software will warn you that this is the case. The whole scanning process will take just a few minutes. Once you have reviewed the report you can decide if you want to proceed with the repair. At this point you will need a license key, that means opening up your wallet of course.

 

Reimage's initial scan
Reimages initial free scan evaluates the performance and stability of your PC

 

Once you have obtained a license key, running the repair process itself is also simple. On our Windows 7 machine it wasn’t entirely smooth. According to Reimage the process should take about an hour, but after several hours the progress bar had not moved from around 80%. After leaving the machine over night and coming back to it in the morning, we were presented with a dialogue box telling us that repair was not possible until we rebooted into safe mode, if only we’d been told that in the first place!

Following a reboot into safe mode, we ran the program again and this time the repair process went smoothly, although still taking well over an hour. Following a reboot we were returned to the desktop and logged in as normal.

Windows 7 results and conclusions

Despite our Windows 7 rig having several customizations, Reimage worked flawlessly. The only modification that was removed was a custom login screen. None of our programs or other customizations seemed affected by the process, which is an excellent result.

Concrete performance measurements before and after the repair are of course virtually impossible to conduct. However we did notice an improvement in responsiveness when using Windows Explorer, the computer seemed less prone to bouts of freezing than before. Reimage does give you a breakdown of how many files it replaced, and it also claimed to have removed one virus. Unfortunately for power users there’s no more detailed logs, it would have been interesting to know if this virus was an active payload or just something lying dormant in a temporary folder, but that information isn’t made available to us.

It’s not all good news though, Reimage told us it replaced thousands of ‘damaged’ Windows files, however it seems that many of them were operating system updates. We had to reinstall around 50 windows updates after the repair process was complete. This still means Reimage is faster and more convenient than, for instance, performing a repair reinstallation of Windows but of course a repair reinstallation can be done for free. We’ll discuss the thorny issue of pricing after looking at our Windows Vista machine.

Reimaging a Windows Vista PC

We ran Reimage on our Windows Vista PC directly from safe mode, to avoid any of the issues we encountered on our Windows 7 machine. The program went through the same list of system components and peripherals. Again when we clicked to fix, the process took more than an hour, but completed without any incidents and without affecting any of the programs installed on the PC.

Windows Vista results and conclusions

Once again Reimage worked flawlessly, none of our programs were affected by the process. Just like before, we had thousands of damaged files and supposedly traces of two trojans, but as before there’s no way to tell where these particular alleged infiltrations had infected. There were also lots of Windows updates that Reimage had undone and needed reinstalling, requiring a couple of reboots before they were all safely reinstalled.

While there did seem to be a difference in performance on our Windows 7 machine, our Windows Vista machine ran just as slowly after the repair process as it did before. Of course Reimage can’t fix a fault if its down to aged hardware simply not living up to our expectations any more, but keep in mind you will be paying a premium for the software just to find out if it makes a difference or not. It’s not really possible to tell from the initial free scan how much of a difference Reimage will make, as the scan always reports some ‘broken’ files regardless, probably due to some files on your system not matching those in Reimage’s database, since Windows update has replaced them. Keep in mind though, that Reimage does come with a 60 day money-back guarantee, so if it fails to fix your problem, you can claim your money back.

Final thoughts

All of this brings us to the issue of cost. While we appreciate that Reimage have ongoing costs maintaining their servers, we can’t help thinking that £43.95/$69.95 a year is a little on the steep side. It’s entirely possible that you might purchase this software and then only need it once, to repair your PC, which then could entirely be expected to run without problems for a period longer than one year! Of course the value of a service like Reimage depends on your own level of PC literacy. If you are a novice user and simply want your computer fixed in the most hassle free way, doing it yourself with Reimage may not be that much more expensive (or even cheaper) than taking it to a PC technician. It’s also extremely convenient too, of course. Nevertheless we can’t help thinking that a pay as you go service would have been fairer. If it cost, for instance, £5 per repair, this would offer the average user much better value for money while still allowing Reimage to make a healthy profit. Keep in mind that the £43.95 is for one computer only. Reimage do a family PC pack that allows you to fix three PC’s a year for £62.95. We can see plenty of families having more than three PC’s, and charging such a high amount for the yearly service is likely to put it out of the price range of many households. After all, who wants to pay for two extra licenses that they may never need? Again, a pay-per-incident plan would make much more sense for a lot of people.

Putting aside the issue of pricing however, it’s clear that Reimage is in a class of its own for PC repair utilities. Short of wiping Windows from your hard drive and reinstalling everything, there is no more thorough Windows repair tool or technique available anywhere. If you have your PC configured just how you want it, with dozens of programs installed, running Reimage rather than reinstalling could save you days of work. The fact that both our systems survived the process in spite of having numerous non-standard customizations is as reassuring as it is impressive. While more experienced users may want to explore more cost effective alternatives, in terms of speed and convenience Reimage really cannot be faulted. Reimage is the quick fix that really, genuinely does work, what a refreshing change!

Reimage is available now, directly from the vendors website. Support Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and try/buy the product using our affiliate link here.

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