PC-Matic Reviewed

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Offline joe53

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PC-Matic Reviewed
« on: April 15, 2015, 08:46:31 PM »
PC-Matic is a heavily promoted paid product from PC-Pitstop that claims to "provide the best protection against modern threats by utilizing a white list that allows only trusted applications to run and blocking the polymorphic viruses that escape most security products today. PC Matic also blocks annoying adware and PC Matic automatically closes the security holes in software such as Java and Flash. PC Matic provides many layers of security that traditional security products do not."

It is widely advertised on TV in recent years. It makes many claims, and their website offers many testimonials. Its website claims it can replace your current AV software.

As it turns out, I tested PC-Matic back in 2009 (on XP), and again in 2012 on a new Win 7 (the free trial version, in both cases). You can read my findings here: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/virus-spyware/f/3522/t/19310222

In a nutshell, PC-Matic in my previous tests:
- found hundreds of "bad" registry entries on my system (which was working perfectly well)
- TCP connection problems (when I had no internet connection problems)
- extreme fragmentation of my hard drive (despite my regular use of Diskeeper)
-  found some drivers that needed updating, that exhibited no problems
- Identified my System Restore files as "junk files", and suggested I delete them
- identified that all my internet settings (HTTP, TCP, DNS et.al.) as needing to be optimised. This despite the fact that SpeedTest measurements showed my connection and ping times to be well within parameters.

The Free version of course, only analysed. You had to purchase the full product to "fix" these problems. I concluded after both these prior tests that PCPitstop was selling snake oil.

But it has been 3 years. Maybe the leopard has changed its spots. So yet again, I downloaded the free trial of PC-Matic, and installed it on a Win 7/sp1 system I knew to be clean. Maybe 3rd trial is the charm?

It was a 2 Mb download. Surprisingly, there was no bundled software, but it did try to add a Startup program InfoCenter.exe, and a PC Pitstop Reminder service. Installation otherwise uneventful.

The GUI seems straightforward.  After turning off my resident AV and MBAM Pro, I ran a scan, which took about 4 minutes to analyse and benchmark my system.  It found 16 fixes:

- a vulnerability in FileZilla 3.7.3 that needed updating. In fact, Secunia PSI reports this version is up-to-date.
- Junk files totalling more than 2 GB that needed removing,most of which were my System Restore Files. I have about 6 months of restore points, and I'm comfortable with that amount, given I have a 1 TB HDD, barely filled. In any event, I can delete these old restore points manually, without using PC-Matic.
- Five internet connection settings that needed to be optimised: HTTP, DNS, afd, Firefox, TCP, invovlving no less than 36 fixes. In fact, a test of my internet connection speed by Speedtest shows my speeds are 33.1/10.4 Mbps, with a ping of 21 msec. Well above the minimums promised by my ISP.
- It wanted to to turn on my Win defrag schedule. In fact, it is already turned on, and my drives are invariably showing 0-1% fragmentation when I analyse them.
- It wanted to change several services from automatic to manual: Agnitum Client Security (my Outpost Firewall), Blackberry Link Communication Manager, RIM MDNS, Roxio Hard Drive Watcher 12, Seagate Dashboard and MobileBackup, and TomTomHOMEservice. I don't know the ramifications or benefits of making these changes, but I certainly know how to do them manually.

It also dispensed one piece of advice: Replace Adobe Reader. This is something I actually agree with, but unfortunately my work requires it, and alternatives don't suffice.

So I ignored all the "fixes" as being unnecessary. I then looked at the reports:
 
The Registry report found 342 old registry entries it recommended I delete, in order to avoid "instability and erratic performance." I don't worry about orphan registry entries, which occupy negligible HD space. I avoid messing with the registry, except to correct specific problems. I passed on this one.

The Benchmark reports test various aspects of your PC (CPU, Memory, video) and will assign you a ranking, compared to all others using PC-Matic. In fact, one can obtain this scan for free from PC-Pitstop's website, where it is called "OverDrive":
http://www.pcpitstop.com/pcpitstop/default.asp
I have found this service somewhat useful in the past, but I certainly wouldn't  pay for it.

Conclusions:

I am not impressed with PC-Matic. I certainly see no evidence to suggest it can safely replace my AV, as it claims. It does not subject itself to independent testing by AV-Comparatives or by AV-Test. In 2014, it failed 2 VB100 tests of both a Win7 and 8 system, due to more than 1400 false positive detections:
https://www.virusbtn.com/vb100/archive/vendor?id=568

All the "fixes" suggested in my scan were unnecessary, or freely available to implement by other means. I continue to be leery of programs that offer to clean my registry or otherwise optimise my system.

On a positive note, I was able to uninstall PC-Matic via my control panel.

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Offline Foxfire

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Re: PC-Matic Reviewed
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 11:00:47 AM »
Interesting, thank you.
I have used Winpatrol Plus (Freebie) for some years & found it useful.  :)1

Platypuss

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Offline Bugbatter

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Re: PC-Matic Reviewed
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 09:12:39 PM »
Great review! Thanks for posting, joe53.  :t

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