What do you remember about your PC when it was new? Do you remember the excitement you felt when you brought it home and opened the box?

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What do you remember about your PC when it was new? Do you remember the excitement you felt when you brought it home and opened the box? It had that new PC smell as you peeled off its protective plastic and connected all of its components together. And then there was the moment of truth as you turned it on. You remember the Windows logo appearing and that wonderful startup sound it made. You were amazed at how fast the desktop appeared. You remember thinking your shiny new PC was fast. This truly was the computer of your dreams. Then one day you woke up.

Maybe it’s been a year, perhaps a little longer when you realized what used to take your PC moments to do is now taking minutes. What happened? You didn’t notice it at first, but now your PC is so bogged down that you’re ready to give it to the kids and buy a new one.

But before you shell out the big bucks for a new model, there’s something you should know. PCs don’t wear out. Their components such as the hard drive can malfunction and memory can go bad, but when they do, everything either comes to a grinding halt or things won’t work properly. Hardware failures don’t produce a gradual speed degeneration over time.

So then why is your really fast computer now just chugging along? It’s not the hardware. It’s the software or, more specifically, it’s the Windows operating system.

Over time, as you use your PC, Windows can literally become bogged down for a number of reasons. One of them, for example, begins with the Windows registry. As you add new applications and remove others, Windows adds and deletes entries into the registry as part of its housekeeping process.

Over time, the registry grows in size and therein lies a big problem. The key to a computer’s speed is how much free memory it has at any given moment. The more free memory it has, the faster things get processed. But Windows was designed to load the registry into memory to process it faster. So the bigger it gets, the less memory you have.

It’s a vicious cycle. Over time, this insidious process robs your computer of its speed, eventually to the point where you finally notice it’s happening and by then, it’s too late. And that’s just one of the many Windows pitfalls waiting for time to do its thing. But fortunately there’s a simple and inexpensive way to get that new PC feeling back.

System Mechanic from iolo technologies (www.iolo.com) is a software utility that lives up to its name. Just as a knowledgeable mechanic can unclog a car’s fuel lines, adjust the ignition’s timing and generally clean up a variety of sticky problems, System Mechanic literally does the same thing to your PC’s operating system. System Mechanic removes registry bloat, eliminates junk files, accelerates PC startup and more, all without endangering any of your valuable data.

In this day and age of malware, you should be careful what you install on your PC. Just in the past two years, a flurry of so-called registry cleaners have appeared online claiming to scan your PC for registry problems. Typically they report hundreds of errors and then hold you hostage by claiming they’ll “fix” the errors only if you first buy the product. Unfortunately, that scare tactic seems to work. The misled wind up paying the price in more ways than one since some of these programs are nothing more than spyware. And even if they do work, they’re paying to fix just one type of problem.

System Mechanic comprises more than 40 different software tools that can literally fix thousands of problems and there are no scare tactics going on here. You can download the full working version of System Mechanic and use it free for 30 days, which is more than generous given you’ll immediately see your PC’s speed restored.

Buying it is a wise decision because System Mechanic’s ActiveCare 2.0 component maintains a constant vigil, making sure things stay lean and mean after your PC is fixed. ActiveCare is a tiny Windows service that takes up virtually none of your computer’s memory. It takes a look around to see if things are quiet and, if so, only then does its thing. Preventive maintenance like this is worth its weight in precious RAM.

Plus there’s confidence to be had in iolo technologies’ longevity, excellent reputation and track record. iolo has been around for more than 10 years and System Mechanic is now in its eighth version. According to the NPD Group, which measures actual retail-store sales, System Mechanic is the No. 1 PC tuneup software utility, available in more than 18,000 stores worldwide.

In these times of financial uncertainty, why spend money on a new computer? For less than 50 bucks, System Mechanic can restore your PC’s performance to when you first took it out of the box. Now that’s a good memory both you and your PC can share.