Review of System Mechanic® 7 Professional A System Analysis, Diagnosis and Security Solution Manufacturer: iolo technologies® My Rating: 4 out of 5 Dial-up users, please be patient. There are many images in this post which will take considerable time for loading. INTRODUCTION System Mechanic is a suite for troubleshooting and maintenance of PC. It comes in two versions: 1. System Mechanic® 7 Professional 2. System Mechanic® 7 Standard System Mechanic® Pro includes maintenance features and security based features like Antivirus protection, and Firewall Protection. It also comes with File Recovery and Drive Scrubber features. System Mechanic® Standard is a trimmed version of Pro. It has only maintenance features. PRICE (as on 14th Jan’ 2007) System Mechanic® 7 Professional : $69.95 (US) System Mechanic® 7 Standard : $49.95 (US) INSTALLATION Installation is pretty simple. I found no problems downloading the trial version. The trial version is fully functional for 30 Days. INTERFACE The interface is brand new and sleek. It is clean and simple for navigating through features. Many a times, I confused between the maximized software window and its manufacturers website window! Both look similar. The previous version interface was not at all doing justice to the potential of the software. It was very buggy and confusing. FEATURES 1. QUICK AND DEEP ANALYSIS As soon as you start System Mechanic® Pro, the first thing to do is System analysis. It comes in two modes viz. Quick analysis and Deep analysis. It displays the approximate time to complete the analysis. After analysis, the “System Health” and “System Security” are displayed. Problems are listed in the “Problem Task” list. You need to just select the check box and click “Repair Selected Problems”. One much needed change is made in the analysis result. Previous version security status was totally dependent on the status of its inbuilt Iolo Antivirus and its Antispyware. If it was deactivated, the “Security Status” report says “Poor” even if you had best other brand Antivirus software. So the report was more or like dubious. So at last they managed to rectify this. System Mechanic® 7 scans for installed Antivirus and Firewall softwares and it takes this into account while rating for “Security Status” report. System Mechanic® 7 interface is redesigned completely. The navigation for optimization and diagnosis operations are lot simpler. Below is a pic of System Mechanic® 7’s tool kit. Each Category is divided into two sections viz. “Total Solution” and “Tools for a Specific Problem”. So if you are sure what you want to do, gothrough second section else just click “Total Solution”. All the optimizations will be taken care by System Mechanic®. IntelliStaus section shows the real-time stats of the system including Free RAM memory, Free HDD Space, Enabled Start-up Programs and Running Programs. 2. INCREASE PERFORMANCE This category includes the following optimizations: -Defragment Hard Drive -Optimize Windows Start-up -Optimize Internet Settings -Defragment Memory -Compact Registry -Configure Boot-Time Defragmentation and -Configure Right-Click Defragmentation Defragmentation of HDD was pretty fast compared to its previous version. It consumed less system resources during the scan - much needed change in the program. Unlike Diskeeper 2007, System Mechanic® doesn’t have real-time HDD defragmenter. I would love to see this feature in its further editions. You can designate frequenty used files that you want to be automatically defragmented at start-up using “Configure Boot-time Defragmentation” wizard. Configure Right-Click Defragmentation wizard helps you to setup defragmentation in the right-click menu of any folder. You can right-click n any folder or file through Windows and then Defragment from the drop-down menu to defragment on-demand without starting System Mechanic® - very handy feature. 3. ENHANCE PROTECTION This category includes the following optimizations: -Fix Security Vulnerabilities -Block Internet Popups -Back Up or Restore Registry -Configure Automatic System Defense -Configure Virus Protection and -Configure Internet Firewall System Guard offers tools that protect key settings from being changed without your knowledge. Enabling this puts your system in real-time protection against changes in your system. An icon on the taskbar warns you about the changes in your system settings and allows you to take necessary decision. iolo AntiVirus™ System Mechanic® Professional edition has in-built Antivirus scanner. It includes real-time scanner, email protection, and online virus definition updates. To test the real-time capabilities, I disabled my avast! Antivirus and activated iolo AntiVirus™ real-time scanner and email scanner. Then updated the virus definitions. It is available in automatic mode as well as manual mode. The updates were fast. I had no problems in updating. I opened the EICAR Standard Antivirus Test File in my browser. The real-time scanner instantly deleted the virus and threw out a warning message. iolo Personal Firewall™ System Mechanic® Professional edition has in-built personal Firewall. It comprises of standard firewall shield, Network activity shield, and IntelliDefense shield. iolo Personal Firewall™ is a recently developed program by iolo technologies. I felt the installation & maintaining the firewall very cumbersome. I activated the iolo Personal Firewall™ , activated all its shields and disabled my systems Zone alarm firewall. It prompted for a restart. After reboot, I was never allowed to do any thing in the system. Warning messages kept me busy for at least 30 min! It seems to be not understanding which process is authentic and which to block. It just blocked everything it came across. Even the ports connecting to C Drive were blocked. I kept on pressing allow, allow, allow…numerous number of times. It just refused to stop. Messages keep flooding. The same message with different port number! Frustrated with it, at last I have to check in “Don’t show the messages anymore”! It blocked internet access too! It took me a while to understand what it is doing. Very cumbersome and confusing-certainly only for expert level. Since it is new into the market, it will take considerable time to make an effective and intelligent firewall. I immediately disabled it and enabled Zone Alarm. 4. FREE UP DRIVE SPACE This is an effective tool to get rid of all junk from the PC. It removes Junk files, Internet Debris and also removes installed Programs effectively.