As a former user of Sunbelt's CounterSpy, I receive their newsletter. I've always respected the Sunbelt Blog, and the CEO Alex Eckelberry. When the latest newsletter promoted a product called PC-Matic, I naturally decided to try it:
20 Free PC Performance Reports. The World's Most Comprehensive PC Health Scan is Free http://www.sunbeltsecuritynews.com/FSBG1Q/091216-PC-Matic
This is a paid product associated with PC-PitStop. The scan indeed is free, the "fixes" will cost you money. Is it worth it?
The program installed easily, and the scan took only about 5 minutes. Here's what it found:
- The SpyCar test tool (mimics spyware, but is benign).- 974 registry "fixes" (with all sorts of dire warnings about registry problems)- an unnecessary startup item (qttask). A valid find.- extreme fragmentation files (despite my use of Diskeeper 2009)- a couple of drivers I could not verify needed updating.- some TCP connection problems. (News to me!)- All easily "fixed", for a price.
This is a junk program. I am disappointed that Sunbelt is promoting it.
Dell Forum Member since 2,000
(Mostly) Free Security Software- A Primer
Windows 7 Home Premium (64- Bit), Panda Cloud AV Free, OpenDNS, SpywareBlaster, MVPS Hosts file, WinPatrol PLUS, IE11, HitmanPro (on-demand 2nd opinion AV scanner),HitmanPro.Alert. Windows software firewall, MBAM Premium, CryptoPrevent, Zemana Antilogger Free, Secunia PSI, WOT, Sandboxie, CCleaner Free, Emsisoft Anti-Malware Free.(yeah, it's probably overkill).
This is not a Sunbelt Software product. It's made by PC Pitstop. I will discuss this review with the folks at PC Pitstop, as well as our newsletter team as it was promoted in one of our newsletters.
Alex EckelberryCEO, Sunbelt Software
Joe53, Thanks for this review. I have read about Sunbelts's PC-Matic with some interest. Because of your review I am no longer interested in it.
Alex, Thanks for doing a more complete review.
Forum Member Since 2001
Thank you Alex for responding.
I should have specified that your mention of PC Matic was clearly labelled as an advertisement in your newsletter. The link I provided is clear it is a PC Pitstop, and not a Sunbelt product, and I apologise for the title of this thread that suggests otherwise.
Although I've used (and suggested others use, on occasion) PC Pitstop for general analysis and free useful system tuneup suggestions for many years, I've noticed a trend in recent years for its website scan to suggest solving problems with commercial products which I've never felt necessary, nor tried myself.
So when one of its Free scanners (PCMatic) finds so many problems I don't see, appears to include a general purpose registry cleaner to boot, and offers to "fix" them for a price, I am skeptical, to say the least. Particularly when none of my other trusted paid or free scanners and maintenance utilities detect anything amiss.
Thanks for looking into this.
Joe53, I am not comfortable with this either. We are discussing our advertising policy internally for our newsletters.
I have a friend who is a sort-of-wannabe computer tech.. ( he took one class and thinks he is hooked ) .
He seems to like pc matic and wants to believe that it is a worthy tool so I began looking for a review on the product.
Using Google to search for reviews - http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=pcmatic#hl=en&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=pc+matic+review&cp=9&qe=cGMgbWF0aWMg&qesig=knEhiTkciYcx7Fywqgvvig&pkc=AFgZ2tnLXRc7MUY1TtjtVQSqcMMJMqQfOuvgzrlb4j_FWs0YemfNM4NOoFXaAJQq3vEHmBfHIV26hcfS1SoUH6_yxHHUbblUpQ&pf=p&sclient=psy&safe=off&source=hp&aq=0&aqi=&aql=&oq=pc+matic+&pbx=1&fp=ee5b8d49ec6ea034
I find that many of the top results are not actual reviews but merely product placement / selling pages for it with listings that would appear to be reviews but are not.
As noted earlier in this thread, any free trial that finds hundreds of registry errors and wants to fix them for a fee, is a definite red flag to me.
I like combofix.exe - funny sounding name for a good, free product to resolve many software related issues on windows pc's.
Combofix comes with an explicit disclaimer by the author --- "it should never be run in an unsupervised environment" --- it should only be run when advised to do so by a qualified expert. It is an exceptionally powerful tool, which is NOT something that "amateurs" should be "playing" with.
Windows 7 Pro SP1 (64-bit), avast! v2014 Free, MBAM Pro, Windows Firewall, OpenDNS Family Shield, SpywareBlaster, MVPS HOSTS file, MBAE Premium, MCShield, WinPatrol PLUS, SAS (on-demand scanner), Zemana AntiLogger Free, IE11 & Firefox (both using WOT [IE set to WARN, FF set to BLOCK]), CryptoPrevent, Secunia PSI.
[I believe computer-users who sandbox (Sandboxie) are acting prudently.]
Thanks for adding that disclaimer! should have done it myself.
As specified in the "Please Read This Before Posting..." at the top of the Malware Removal Forum.
Please note that Combofix should NEVER be run unless requested
As you run ComboFix the Disclaimer is displayed:
As noted by ky331, it states that Combofix should not be run in an unsupervised environment. That means that someone trained in its use needs to be working with you. ComboFix is constantly being changed. If you are not working with a helper who has a way of communicating with the developer, you will have no way to report the issue and recover if there is a problem. In addition, ComboFix leaves files on the system that need to be removed in a prescribed manner.
If you do not have a helper, please see this information regarding running ComboFix on your own: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic273628.html
Microsoft MVP - Consumer SecuritySocial Media and Community ProfessionalSpywareHammer
I am not a Microsoft or a Dell employee. I am a volunteer.
Hi Alex, I see these posts are quite old. Hope you're still behind the wheel at Sunbelt. Anyway, referring to PC Matic, I just this morning received an email from PC Pitstop to buy their product. I am a retired computer technician and network engineer for 20 years. I learned a few things. First, investigate the reviews of such products before purchasing. Advertising will always make it sound like better than anything you could possibly find elsewhere. Second, look at the cost. $14.95??? Come on. Remember the old adage, "you get what you pay for." If I'm going to buy a product that does all that, I would expect to pay a lot more and if I needed it, I would. Thanx for clearing up a few things. I just thought I would help you do that by helping to educate all the readers. I think I'll have a little talk with PC Pitstop about their bad business practices since they have involved me in this. Take care.
Sunbelt was aquired by GFI Software in 2010 http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/13/gfi-software-acquires-sunbelt-software-mainly-for-its-vipre-technology/
Alex Eckelberry, Sunbelt's CEO, became the vice president and general manager of GFI's security business unit.
He left GHI about a year later http://www.scmagazine.com/company-news-gerhard-eschelbeck-appointed-cto-at-sophos-and-other-corporate-happenings/article/217177/
and is currently a "Self Employed Entrepreneur" https://www.facebook.com/#!/alexeckelberry
Against my better judgement, I installed the "free" PC Matic scanner on my latest Win 7 desktop, after first running a Full Tests checkup at PC Pitstop (which found no problems, and in fact benchmarked this PC in the "top 5%").
I was not surprised when it tried to insert itself in my startup (persistently) - had to kill it with WinPatrol.
So I ran a scan, and PC Matic:
1) Identified my System Restore files as "junk files" and suggested I delete them, and reduce the space allocated to them to 0 MB to "free up HD space". (I have 854 GB free on my 1TB HD).
2) Identified my internet settings, including HTTP, TCP, DNS,AFD and firefox settings as "unoptimised", and suggested they be optimised, to speed up my browsers. (My browsers are plenty fast already).
3) Suggested that my Catalyst Control Center (for my video card) be disabled from loading at startup. (Probably true, but my Win 7 loads fast enough, and I can do this through WinPatrol for free).
4) Informed me that it could update 2 audio drivers. (Nothing wrong with my audio. I only update drivers to solve problems).
5) Suggested I should switch off a Roxio HD Watcher service, for a faster bootup. (Bootup times are already fast). I don't know what this service does, but see no benefit from disabling it.
It's all snake oil, of course, and still potentially dangerous to fool with these settings.
It bears repeating:- If it ain't broke. don't fix it!- Avoid all PC optimizing, tweaking, speed enhancing, and general registry cleaning programs.
Joe53, thanks for this review.
freeses to much
crn21Most of them installl the very spyware and addware they claim to remove. Like with anything else in life - If it sounds to good to be true it is.
I'm not sure I would agree that all install spyware and adware, but it is always a caveat emptor situation.