I’ve used several software suites over the years and some have worked better than others. Some I’ve used only for 1 reason as it offered 1 specific feature that I needed or just wanted to have around.
I’ve been using System Mechanic from iolo since way back in 2006 when I worked for The Source. We used the System Mechanic Mobile Toolkit to scan and repair issues with customers’ computers. When all the warnings came back “RED”, we knew it was a serious issue and would normally “repair all”. I’ve seen systems that would take 5minutes or more to load before we used the utility, to loading in under 2 minutes after running it.
This to me was possibly the greatest software package at the time for this purpose and easily beat out Norton SystemWorks, which got rid of the mobile scanning feature back in 2004. I had to rip SystemWorks apart to make it work and evening updating it was nearly impossible so I tossed as soon as I discovered the Mobile Toolkit from iolo.
Before we get started with the official first review from FrostTek, please read the following disclaimer.
The opinions expressed in this product review are solely those of the reviewer and not necessarily representative of the opinion of the Eaton Media Group. We try to remain as non-bias as possible and feel that we must declare any possible incentives for writing a review. The following review is of a product from one of our affiliate sponsors. The following review is being made in an agreement with our affiliate iolo. We did not pay for the software to review and were provided with a free license for one year as well as a bonus for any software packages sold as a result of this review. Having acknowledged any potential bias, we will cover both the pros and the cons of this software package to give the reader and viewers the most accurate and honest review possible.
As I mentioned before I have used System Mechanic previously. In fact, I currently have an active subscription to System Mechanic Pro. I’ve never really considered using their Ultimate Defense because I’ve always relied on Symantec for providing antivirus and firewall software. When given the opportunity to test this software I thought it might be worthwhile having everything integrated into one solution after all it does have a number of benefits over running separate programs. Primarily when you run everything all in one software suite he uses much fewer system resources than it would if you run several different programs all doing a different task. I do have an immense amount of trust in this software platform because of one particular software utility that I’ve used and has saved me so much pain and headache in the past.
The installation of the software package was completely boring and uneventful. Simply start the installation of the software and once the software was installed, a system restart and then when I open the software for the first time I entered my product key and then proceeded to update the antivirus and run all of my initial scans and repairs. The screen above represents your main loading screen after you’ve completely cleaned your system. Alas, I apologize for not having anything on the list because as soon as I opened it to grab some screenshots out of habit I simply hit the optimize button.
Primarily you can see in the center of the screen where it says system status and then a colour-coded system. Everyone should want their system to be in good although I quite frequently have a lower system status due to the lack of ram in the testing machine. Our testing machine used for this review was an HP Envy x360, Ryzen 5 powered convertible Ultrabook. It’s not exactly the most powerful system in the world with an extremely modestly powered Ryzen 5 processor and only 8GB of onboard Ram that is shared with an integrated Vega 8 graphics processor. I did, however, test Ultimate Defense on another system with a more powerful processor and more RAM and it did indeed run much faster. This, of course, is not the fault of the software package itself but rather a sign of some of the drawbacks of going with smaller portable systems that are much less powered.
As far as the overall impact that the software platform has on the overall operation of the system. I wasn’t able to notice a discernible decrease in load times or even general system operation with Ultimate Defense installed. It operated almost identically to how the system did before when I had the Norton Security package to which I maintain an active license primarily for mobile devices.
The antivirus software, of course, did not pick up any viruses on my system because I’m extremely careful with everything that I download and what websites I visit. I haven’t had any issues come through on the firewall either for the exact same reason.
As long as you’re careful about what websites you visit and the files that you download and the email attachments that you open and read you really won’t have too much for a problem and your firewall and antivirus software will probably go for the most part underutilized almost completely.
There are of course sometimes where people might receive an email from who they think as a family member and open it that has a nefarious software attachment or somebody who just simply isn’t thinking and opens the wrong attachment that has a virus in it.
I will note that the initial virus scan did take a pretty reasonable amount of time simply because it was a total system scan and just not a frequently-used space scan. The initial scan I had to simply leave the laptop alone because again it is not the most powerful system in the world.
On the first tab on the left-hand side, you can click on the little toolbox icon that’ll bring up a suite of five different areas that you can, of course, clean up your computer.
It starts with the all-in-one PC cleanup and I highly recommend it because it’s just simply a one-stop-shop and can do everything for you. The next item is the internet clean-up which is great for some of these lighter machines that don’t have a lot of storage space on them because after all whenever you visit anything on the internet it downloads a copy of it on your computer and sometimes that can take up an immense amount space. This feature is, of course, similar to the next one on the list called windows clean up. It gives you the ability to go through your operating system to just simply clean up as it says remove Windows junk files. You know things that you simply don’t need to have on your computer because they were temporarily created and after they were being done used they were not deleted.
The registry cleanup is something that I’m a little bit skeptical too because normally this utility is not needed although if you are like myself and wither install or uninstall software regularly you can end up with bits and pieces clogging up your Windows registry. This was a much more severe problem on platforms like Windows XP and Windows Vista and I think Windows 10 handles it a lot better.
The next two areas Active Care and Live Boost to me are not nearly as useful. Active Care and Live Boost can be taken care of both on the dashboard and in the toolbox. Having an extra section for them is useful for some people but depending on if you’re a power user like myself or just your every user you’ll probably never going to use these tabs. The last is The Shield representing security.
This is where you can use your system Shield and your firewall. For some odd reason every time I tried to access this page at least twice on my test system but it would crash. That is not good so I decided to close some of the applications running in the background and tried to determine if it was indeed a resource problem. Even when trying to load the system shield in the firewall separately the software platform itself would still crash. After several hours, I did find out that Windows Defender was causing the program to crash. I had to manually shut off Windows Defender and then it worked great!
The next section of Ultimate Defense uses the Privacy Guardian. This area allows you to check out your privacy it helps you scramble your data that adds prevent websites from spying on you essentially if you’ll notice my security is only rated as Fair because I have tracking detection and cookie cleaning turned off. In order to escape tracking detection.
I actually use a separate piece of software called a VPN or a virtual private network. I believe that a VPN is a far better way to get rid of people tracking your personal data or finding what you’re doing then using an integrated system such as this. I travel back and forth to China quite frequently and a VPN is actually necessary for China to be able to access the internet outside of what the government allows you to access. For example in China, websites like Facebook and YouTube and Twitter are all technically illegal and you have to use a VPN if you want to use them. After all apparently having free access to information on the Internet is a bad thing in the eyes of the Chinese government.
Another one that I don’t use is the cookie cleaning utility. Although tracking cookies can be a very large pain in the ass I’m not so much worried about them as I was in the past. A lot of the cookies that I use save my passwords to different websites and remember that I’ve already visited said website. I do clear them out once in a while but it’s kind of always a bit of a pain to have to we can figure everything.
The third page is called Byepass and it is a secure password manager for storing your password and credit card information from hackers or spies. It locally and encrypts the information and protects your accounts only releasing it when needed.
I have not used this feature yet and I probably will not use this particular feature myself because I have other methods of managing my passwords and I’m also very careful with what websites I make online purchases from. Most of the websites that I make purchases from our Amazon or Best Buy and a few others that use PayPal.
All of my information is already secured by Amazon and PayPal plus my credit card comes with several Advanced security features for free. I would definitely highly recommend this section if you’re someone who routinely forgets your password or your someone who makes a lot of online purchases and you’re a little lazy when it comes to protecting your own personal privacy and security.
I know it’s not very polite to call people lazy but the truth is a lot of people are. Especially when it comes to their online privacy and security, then again that’s another podcast for another day.
The next section is called the malware filter. To me, this is a very important page for people who are not tech-savvy and do not have a wide knowledge of how nefarious websites are programs operate. It is very easy to get caught up and online scams or ripped off by software that operates Viet nefarious means. Malware is either an infected program or software that has been specifically designed to steal your personal information or cause issues with your computer system. It is not nice and nobody ever wants to have their system affected by it.
The next tab is the system shield, please see the above notes on this section.
Search and Recovery is the one particular part of Ultimate Defense that to me represents the absolute best of the best. The crème-de-la-crème.
I’ll start this section by telling you a story. We had packed up my computer equipment and headed to the hotel Atlantica down in Halifax. I was going the next day to have a procedure that I thought was going to be an operation on my eyes. That night because the hotel had super high-speed internet compared to the internet that I have at home, which is slightly faster than dial-up.
I was using their system to upload several thousand photographs from my father’s photography collection. Since my father passed away I’ve wanted to save as much of his work as possible and share it with other family members. During the night I had thought that several folders were uploaded and because of a lack of hard drive space, I deleted each folder after it was uploaded. As it turns out I had deleted several gigabytes worth of photographs totalling well in excess of ten thousand pictures.
I assumed they had been uploaded to the cloud where they would be stored forever, unfortunately, I was wrong and the upload failed, so I deleted and then empty the recycle bin deleting my father’s photographs forever. This is why I purchased a license to System Mechanic Pro because I knew that their search and recovery software for my previous experience worked absolutely flawlessly.
You can scan individual portions of your hard drive you could look for a specific file designation. You can do a deep scan which depending on the type and the size of your hard drive, it can take an extremely long time but you can recover just about anything.
My portable hard drive and most of the portable hard drives you can buy all come with the option to purchase a third-party data recovery software. Even some companies have data recovery operations available that you can send your hard drive away or take them to and they will attempt to recover your data and it cost a small fortune.
In my opinion, this single feature justifies the purchase of System Mechanic Ultimate Defense. All the other stuff, including the regular System Mechanic software, is a happy added bonus. Depending on what promotions they have on the time you can actually pick up a year subscription for really cheap.
If you’re somebody who has a lot of important data and has lost data before you will definitely understand how important a software package like this is. I was in a sheer panic trying to download the software and renew my license. I was almost literally in tears because I was so upset about deleting my father’s photos and this software saved them all. I was able to completely restore everything and continue uploading it to the cloud.
The last tab is the drive scrubber and if you’re someone like me who is concerned about personal privacy or you’re somebody who is recycling old computers or you want to return a computer. This is definitely a program that you should run. The entire concept of the drive scrubber is to wipe and secure erase all of your personal data. It allows you to overwrite and completely destroy any and all data on your hard drive, and external hard drive in even USB thumb drives.
If you’re going to sell a computer don’t bother formatting your drive just scrub it using this program. Then you can reinstall the operating system in there’s no chance of them recovering it unless they have some sort of secret military-grade unerased technology that literally examined your hard drive platters sector-by-sector which is extremely expensive. If you were a student or someone who takes secure information back and forth to work or your classroom this is definitely a utility that is handy to have in case something happens.
The software was also useful for people that recycle old computers so you can secure erase any hard drives that you get and you don’t have to worry about anyone finding old data. I myself have used this a few times to secure erase USB thumb drives that I used to contain secure or extremely private information. My previous employment before I start at the Eaton Media Group was working in the financial services sector. The amount of security that has to be taken into consideration in that field is absolutely amazing. Have utility like this to be able to secure erase your USB thumb drives is invaluable.
I would not recommend it for the average home user. It’s probably something that you would never ever need to use but then again if you want to be sure to protect your personal information this is definitely a software package worth considering.
All in all, I would say System Mechanic Ultimate Defense is a very good software package. Aside from the issues that I had on my testing system with the software interface simply not loading and again that was not the fault of the software but rather a configuration issue with the testing system. We will build ourselves a proper test bench to test the software on at a later date and hopefully we won’t have any issues with our new test bench.
And now it’s time to give my overall rating of the software platform as well as go over the pros and cons
Cost-effective, the software package is relatively inexpensive on a yearly subscription basis and is subject to frequent discounts via sales promotions on their website.
Convenience, having everything all integrated into one system like this can be beneficial to a number of people that don’t want to use separate individual programs and just like to have everything right there at their fingertips.
System resources, the overall impression of the software running in the background is quite good. It doesn’t use a lot of system resources and is suitable for low spec machines.
Overly complicated for simple users. Ultimate Defense is an amazing software package for power user I feel that there are a lot of features that the average home user would probably never use and probably has no idea what they do unless they actually spend a large amount of time figuring the software platform out.
Notoriety, I know of the software platform because I’ve used it quite often however I feel that this is not the fault of eylau but due to and oversaturation in this particular Market at this time. Not as many people know of the software and the name is not easily recognizable as some of the larger names like AVG or Norton.
Suitability. I don’t think the software program is suitable for enterprise-grade systems that require high reliability. For a home user or power user, it’s a perfect platform but I myself did not use this on the Eaton Media Group’s primary workstation because only software that has been rigorously tested in a workstation environment is used on that platform. Stability on our main system is key to maintaining our business and we simply don’t have the resources at this time to be able to test different software platforms on a system that is pretty much working 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 100% utilization.
The downtime is just not something that people using it on mission-critical systems would tolerate. Not only that but some of this special software and hardware configurations we are unsure as to how the system would work dealing with the specific enterprise-grade configurations used.
The overall opinion to buy or not to buy that is the question. My overall opinion is that yes if you’re a home user whether it be a beginner or power user. System Mechanic or System Mechanic Pro would be the software platform of choice.
If you want to have more which I do consider to be a better value, in this case, Ultimate Defense represents the best. It gives you an extremely good value for what you get and if you are still hungry for more after using System Mechanic Pro the Ultimate Defense is definitely a good choice.
I have a feeling that I will probably be installing the software permanently on my wife’s computer to allow her to use it because she’s not a power user and yet it gives me the ability to maintain her computer without needing to install a bunch of other programs. I would definitely consider this program a buy.
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