By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 1999, The Syracuse Newspapers
The Web is hazardous to your PC's health. In a single week on the Internet, your PC can be attacked by a hundred cookie monsters and buried under the debris of a thousand inanely placed temporary files. It can slow down from too much file activity and all those scattered files can drive its disk drive crazy.
And all the while this is happening, your computer is setting there at the end of a big virus pipeline, waiting for the next zap, right?
Do something about it. Get the Fix-It Utilities 99 from Mijenix. I've raved about Mijenix before -- they're the creators of Zip Magic, the only sensible way of handling zip archives, to name just one other product -- and I'm even more enthusiastic this time. Fix-It is the single best way I know of to get Windows 95 and 98 to behave, especially if you do a lot of Web surfing.
Fix-It is as sweet a suite of programs you'll ever find for fixing whatever ails your PC. It won't work a miracle -- only the All-Knowing One (and I don't mean Bill Gates) can do that when it comes to Windows -- but it can come pretty close. It doesn't have as many gee-whiz features as the Big Guy on Campus, Norton Utilities, but it's much easier to use and performs better.
Fix-It costs only $50 if you buy it on the Web (at www.mijenix.com) and download your copy. You can also look for it in stores if you want to kill a tree and get a packaged version.
Fix-It is like the Swiss army knife of utilities. It has a good anti-virus program, which can run all the time or scan files every now and then. It has a good disk checker that finds and fixes errors that can afflict hard drives or floppies. It has the best defragger I've seen yet -- it is faster than Norton's defragger and, like the one Norton is famous for, doesn't mind if the computer is doing other things at the same time.
Fix-It does an outstanding job of cleaning up Web debris, too. And it has its own version of the infamous Crash Guard, which has always caused more crashes than it fixed on my PCs. Unlike Crash Guard, however, the Mijenix version actually seems to work.
Fix-It checks for Year 2000 problems, lets you customize the way Windows works, locates shortcuts that don't work any more, cleans out old text and read-me documentation files if you let it, undeletes files you emptied from the trash and does many other things. But the best part of Fix-It is the Registry-repair module. For the first time in the history of Windows 95 and 98, someone actually knows how to take bad stuff out of the Registry without wrecking Windows forever.
The secret of the Mijenix Registry Fixer is simple. First, you have to run it and then rerun it and then re-rerun it as many times as needed until it finally shows no more problems. Second, you should always choose "Select All" when it shows you its list of bad Registry entries and then click the "Apply" button. The Registry Fixer will warn you about so-called "yellow" entries (items that may not be safe to delete), but don't let that scare you. Tell the program that you do, indeed, want to select the yellow-marked items, then apply your choices so that the Registry Fixer will get rid of the problems.
Make sure you click the "Back" button and have the program do the whole thing over again, each time, until no more problems are found. I ran the Registry Fixer on five different PCs, letting it mark a total of thousands of Registry errors, and I had it delete all the ones marked in green and yellow. The Registry Fixer did not make a single mistake in its choices.
Fix-It also includes a system-performance panel that sports a few gauges. It's an embarrassment compared to the wealth of little gauges available in Norton Utilities or the amazingly configurable ones in Nuts & Bolts 98. But this is the only part of Fix-It 99 that falls short of marvelous. You can't get a score much higher than that.