It is more important than ever to take your PC security seriously. One company, that has been around for a long time, has a proven track record of doing just that. The name of the company is PC Tools. The company has been around since 1986, and was purchased by Symantec (another trusted name in PC security) in 1994. They offer both security and performance products. Their security products include:
PC Tools Internet Security protects your identity, and keeps you safe from viruses and scams. This product is their highest level of protection and includes all of their security products in one package.
The next level of protection would be Spyware Doctor with Antivirus. Many of you are familiar with Spyware Doctor. This is a useful tool that has been around for some time and is effective in identifying spyware on your computer. This product, as its name implies also includes antivirus.
The third level of protection is the Spyware Doctor product by itself. This product is useful in keeping tracking software off your computer as well as protecting you while you browse the internet from information stealing and internet threats.
The other two products, Threatfire and Browser Defender are both free products. Threatfire will scan your computer for malicious software. I tried this product. Once you download the software it runs a scan to verify the type of security already in use on your computer. Then you can run a quick scan or a full scan of files. I did the quick scan which took about 10 minutes. The software did not find any threats. It never hurts to have more than one product to scan your computer for threats. This product is included in both the full Internet Security, and Spyware Doctor with Antivirus.
I did not try Browser Defender because I normally use Google Chrome as my internet browser. This product is only compatible with Windows Internet Explorer and Firefox. It is a toolbar that gives you safety ratings of the sites that you browse.
There are also seven performance products to choose from. They are:
The product I found most interesting was Performance Toolkit. It seemed to be a complete package to keep your computer running smoothly. One option in the Performance Toolkit that looked especially interesting to me was the ability to restore deleted files like photos, etc. I store a lot of photos on my computers. This certainly would come in handy for me. I also like the fact that you can shred files so that they are destroyed completely.
Most of the other products names are pretty self explanatory as to what they are except for the RoboForm and GoodSync Pro. RoboForm is a secure password manager (who couldn't use that?). GoodSync will keep your critical files current on all of your drives, both external and internal. So if you work across different computers and use different drives, this would be an invaluable tool.
PC Tools offers a wide range of products. Their major competitors also offer both security and performance utilities. I like the idea of a complete package that allows you to keep your computer up to speed and protected. PC Tools' website says that they offer simple powerful products. Over the years they have been steadily expanding and improving their product line.
Most computer users are interested in products that are easy to use. PC Tools seems to be directing their marketing toward beginning or less experienced computer users. Many users need a product that doesn't give them problems. In other words they want something that works unobtrusively, is user friendly, and trouble free.
The main advantages of the products offered by PC Tools are:
- ease of use
- good pricing
- real time protection
- a complete package of both security and and performance utilities
- they offer some useful free products
- programs work unobtrusively in the background
- a set and forget it product that is always protecting you
I especially liked their free product ThreatFire. It offers what is called ActiveDefense technology. They claim that it provides over 200% more protection. It's extremely easy to download with an easy set up, and plays nice with my main antivirus product. If this is an example of their other products that you pay for, I'm very impressed.
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Following is a comparison of PC Tools competitors
BitDefender is a well known company that competes with PC Tools. Their product is an all in one package with security and some performance tools. Like PC Tools they offer their product on a one year subscription. They will protect up to 3 machines in that subscription price. I found that most competitors offer one year subsciriptions covering up to 3 machines. Some reviewers consider Bitdefender the number #1 antivirus package. Personally I prefer to see what customers have to say about a product. After all, they are the ones that use the product on a day to day basis.
AVG is a product I have relied on for a lot of years. They have always had a free antivirus product that, for me, has been very reliable. I am intriqued with PC Tools real time protection. However, I don't know that I am convinced enough to switch. AVG seems to please their customers, as I am seeing higher ratings over PC Tools. AVG also has what they call PC Tuneup. You can get both the AVG Internet Security Product and the Tuneup product for just over $35, and use the free AVG Antivirus product and get a good security package. It looks as if you can purchase the AVG Internet Security product a lot cheaper on Amazon.com than you can on AVG's site. AVG also offers a free trial period. I don't see that PC Tools offers to let you trial their software. A month's free trial would certainly help people to confidently decide which company to go with.
PC Magazine lists their top pick for a performance product as Iolo System Mechanic. The article also included PC Tools in their lineup of top PC performance enhancing software picks. Iolo right, on their website, is offering $20 off their normal $49.95 price which is less expensive than PC Tools Performance Toolkit. I found it quite interesting that customer reviews on the Iolo product either loved or completely hated it. There were not very many in between ratings on it. The PC Magazine reviewer seemed to like Iolo much better than the customers did.
Product Costs for Protection Products:
PC Tools Internet Security 2012 which is the complete package is $49.99. products.
PC Tools Spyware Doctor with Antivirus 2012 for Windows is $39.99
PC Tools Spyware Doctor 2012 for Windows $29.99
ThreatFire Antivirus is a free product. Just a little added protection to make you a little safer.
Product Costs for Performance Products
PC Tools Performance Toolkit for Windows $39.99
PC Tools Registry Mechanic for Windows $29.99
All subscriptions are for a one year subscription for up to 3 computers. If you commit to a 2 year subscription you receive a 20% discounted price. I you want to receive your software on CD you will have to pay an additional $9.99. You will still get an instant download and then the CD will also be sent to you. You are also offered special deals on some of their other products with some pretty substantial savings. Didn't see the offer to purchase a CD on the Performance software.
You can purchase most Antivirus and Performance software products directly from the company who develop them. Amazon.com also is a place where you can purchase most of these products. It's also a good idea to look around for coupon codes that give you discounts. For instance, you can get 30% off PC Tools products by liking their Facebook page. Whenever you purchase anything on the internet it's always a good idea to search for additional discounts. It seems there are special discounts for most security and performance products just for the searching.
One thing I don't like, and it seems most companies do this, is when you make your purchase you are automatically enrolled in their automatic renewal service. They do offer a 30 day 100% refund if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase. It's hard to compare pricing between the different companies, because there are so many discounted prices. My suggestion is do your homework, and search for the best discount. Everyone has their 2012 product out so be sure you are getting the most current version.
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PC Tools seems to get higher marks from customers over professional reviewers. On average most of PC Tools' products get 4 out of 5 stars. Many of the evaluations that I found were for the 2011 version of the software. You will also see that the company has received a lot of awards, and is among the top rated companies that offer performance and security products. Consumers who have used PC Tools products over a long period of time generally have stuck with them and seem to be satisfied.
Some of the professional reviewers say that PC tools doesn't quite measure up to other products in their categories. They use testing benchmarks of different products in order to form their opinions. I have seen many times that consumers will rate products higher than professionals.
There are so many variables when it comes to testing and using software. If a consumer has a fairly new computer system they will see the software act quite differently than someone whose computer is older. I will search the internet for reviews on any product I am considering purchasing. I also will look on websites that offer the products for sale such as Amazon.com. You can look at what consumers say about the use of the product after they have made their purchase. The perfect scenario is to try the software first before making a decision. You can't try PC tools in advance, but remember PC Tools offers a 100% money back guarantee, so how can you lose.
The important thing is to take your computer safety seriously. Never leave your computer unprotected. If you do, you are leaving your self opnion to a lot of bad stuff.
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