by FrostApps team on 2010-04-19 15:20:09
Version reviewed: AnVir Task Manager free 6.3.1
It is a well known fact that the longer you use your computer, the more it becomes overbooked and all unnecessary data will eventually impact on your computer overall system performance. Startup list, Processes,Services, every single aspect of the system must be kept at peak efficiency in order to ensure highest overall performance. Otherwise, at best, you risk system slowness and annoying installations from the grounds up. Thankfully beside built-in windows tools for tweaking, for all of you who are not familiar with "under the hood" preferences there are a lot of external tools ready to handle the job.
Designed to target different aspects of the system AnVir Task Manager Free offers comprehensive all-in-one solution for managing system's running processes,applications, services and a lot more. At first glance, the opposite of the "under the hood" preferences AnVir Task Manager Free looks like something you can easily adapt to with a little effort invested and even if you have no previous experiences whatsoever. It's easier said than done, nevertheless our biggest concern are the absolute beginners since this tool might appear to be overwhelming due to the number of functions.
AnVir Task Manager Free has five main sections, each one has its role and represent a substitute for default windows tool in order to facilitate accessibility to certain parts of the system for easier tweaking. It includes Startup, Applications,Processes,Services and Log tabs stretched through most of the main screen.
Startup Manager tab shows all programs that run when windows loads and brings you the opportunity to work around msconfig configuration wizard, allowing you to easily set startup options. Startup Manager has implemented some sort of watch list and it notifies you every time when uninvited program tries to add itself to windows start up. Quite a nice addition to the default windows tool, however it's not the only one considering what it still has to offer. There are also a delayed start-up option, for which we found to be very useful, to speed up the whole windows loading process and a customizable automatic shutdown option for non-responding programs. During our tests we set several programs to the delay list, everything went smooth, windows showed no tendency to hang and we actually felt slightly improvement compared to previous state.
Next tab is Applications windows which shows a list of programs currently running and that's basically it. There is really not much to say about this one, it is exactly the same as default Windows Task Manager/Applications tab only at your fingertips and nothing more. If you did not know here you can end task, bring application to front or hide it to tray when needed.
Now regarding the Processes tab it is a substitute for Windows Task Manager/Processes tab and it showes full informations about all running processes on the system as well as other indicators including Security Risk, startup, CPU usage, Disk usage, product vendor name and full path to the .exe file. On the other hand right-clicking the process in the list allows, well a lot, therefore we'll cover only the most important ones. You can change the priority of the process, set processor affinity(setting which CPU(s) the process can execute on), add to startup, kill,block,restart or suspend processes are definitely self-explanatory terms, Free Memory and a bit on. As you can see this as any other part of the tool does not lack functionality whatsoever. The whole package, killing,blocking,restarting and suspending processes are realy piece of cake, we do not see how it can be complicated, anyway it went repeatedly smooth and we have not seen any drawback in the whole "process".
Next, by no means less important tab Services represent the programs that run in the background of the Windows. Here you can start/stop services, change startup type (auto on startup, on demand, disabled), or delete service/s if needed. Keep in mind that knowing which services to turn off can reduce your exploit risk, while improving overall system performance. On the other hand if you delete/stop wrong ones, this particularly applies to win32 services, you run the risk of windows being hit badly or at best you risk computer slowness. Therefore we advise you to act carefully and if you are not 100% sure whether to delete/stop particular service or not sometimes it is better to leave it there than to cause even bigger mess.
For each of the four cards that we have indicated at the bottom of the main screen is a set of whole new line of tabs with additional information about each application, process, service or startup item. The following are the additional tabs Propertis,Product Information, DLL,Files,Conncetions,Performance,Windows and Drivers. This is when, what we said about services comes into play, for each one of them you can see a detailed info (propertis tab), what it refers to, what it is actually used for. To see CPU, memory, and disk usage(default) and if needed download/upload speed, Performance tab comes to the rescue, at least we thought so until we actually tried to see graph. Graph looks like a rainbow, labels on the left are useless since the graph is drawn through them, colors are mixed, everything is definitely cluttered and hard to read especially on the long term.
Just to be clear, simplicity is definitely not something you can count on when it comes to this tool, as you can see there are tons of features suported but just to "cheer" you up this is the tip of the AnVir Task Manager free iceberg while the paid upgrade offers even more features. To get the most from the program, start fresh because you will need to spend some time getting to know the application. Anyway you have nothing to be worried about since AnVir Task Manager Free prompts you to set restore points and two-way built in detailed help file to guide you along the way. The two-way help file applies to detailed help through developer Web site and complete video tutorial which can be accessed through the help menu.
As for the looks, everything on this software looks average, definitely like some default windows skin, there are no shiny buttons or fancy hovers, just tabs and nothing more. We can not come to terms with the fact that developer has not done anything regarding comfort issues since this is version 6.3.1. AnVir Task Manager free really needs a little more face lifting.
Long story short, AnVir Task Manager free is highly customizable tool with tons of options, we can not neglect its efficiency and functionality is somewhere on the high level. On the other hand "overwhelming number of options" issue could effect the judgment of absolute beginners and that is something that can not be compensated. Nevertheless, this is still a powerful tool for managing system processes and even if it may suit only to some users, give it a shot, you just might like it!