Without a doubt there is a tremendous need to safeguard computers and sensitive information in today’s digital world. If large corporations and government agencies can be hacked and compromised, then our own personal computers are certainly vulnerable as well. iolo technologies have been providing computer protection software for over a decade that can safeguard personal computers and keep them running smoothly. Whether it’s virus checking, restoring deleted files, or keeping your computer operating in top form, they have a product for you.
System Mechanic Pro, their flagship “tune up” product, is a software package that offers a number of problem solving solutions for the PC. In this review, I tested the software on a PC running Windows XP, although newer Windows versions are also supported. The retail box comes with a CD although the product can be downloaded from their website as well. When the installation process begins, the program will check the website for any updates and download them. You’ll also need to create an account, which just took a minute, before things go any further. The program will also check for any virus or other malware protection software already on your PC and ask that you uninstall it before it will proceed. After installation completes and the computer reboots, you will notice the “Real Time Protection” icon in the system tray, indicating that virus and spyware protection is in effect. The program will also scan and check your computer before presenting you with a report of any problems, deficiencies, or other issues you should address. Such issues could include memory and hard drive usage, registry problems and fragmentation, Internet connection speed adjustments, etc. You can have everything corrected with the single button click, or go through the list and fix each separately, which was my choice. The first thing I did was to optimize my Internet connection speed. This took a just a few seconds and I later noticed that streaming videos on Youtube was smoother. So far so good! I also had the program remove unnecessary startup files for a quicker boot up. Then I had the program check for driver updates and it found several that I wanted to check out at a later time since they weren’t deemed critical. Another feature of System Mechanic Pro is the Hard Drive Optimizer, which re-aligns programs and file data. It’s similar to de-fragmenting, but goes further by grouping data and programs together so that accessing the drive is faster. This process can, however, take a significant amount of time, so you might want to do this when you can leave your computer alone for a while. Finally, I backed up the Registry and fixed over 600 reported registry problems, which surprisingly took less than a minute. I now felt my computer was running at a more optimal level, and also didn’t notice any slowness with the real time protection shield running. The virus scanner can be run at any time, but it will also run by itself when your computer is sitting idle for a while and stop when you start working again. It’s worth mentioning that iolo technologies also offer the Antivirus and AntiSpyware software as a separate stand-alone program.
Hard drive problems can be an issue for anyone, and iolo technologies offer two other programs to address them. One is “Search and Recover Erased Files”, the other “Drive Scrubber.” Search and Recover can be run directly from the CD, or installed on a permanent basis. After starting the program, you then select the hard drive from which you want to recover deleted files. The program performs a scan looking for deleted files, which on my PC took only a few minutes. Afterwards you are shown a report page, which lists the files that have been deleted, their condition (good, fair, etc), and their size. If you want to recover any, you select those files and specify a different hard drive where they will be stored after recovery. The actual process of recovering a file takes just a second and then you can view it or move it to a different location. If you are looking to clean up your drive, Drive Scrubber allows you to do just the opposite of recovery: erase files completely. This is very useful if you’re going to discard a hard drive or just want to insure someone else cannot recover your private information. The program can also be used on digital cameras, flash drives, and other storage devices. Some of its options include wiping the entire drive, or just wiping the free space of any deleted files and data.
The products from iolo technologies ran trouble free for me. They obtain updates when run so you are always kept up to date. Anyone who is concerned with keeping their computer running well and securely should try them. Their website is www.iolo.com.