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Old 24. Apr 2009, 06:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default PC Armor Review

I have not seen much about this software, but I am 15 days into my trial and so far I am impressed. Unfortunately, it's commercial not freeware and seems more like a beta (see "Cons" below). It has multiple functions, but the one and only useful function is it's ability to track changes made by new programs and un-do them completely.

Pros:
First, without user input, it automatically detects when new software is launched, including new installations, portable apps, malware, etc. I'm not sure how it does this, maybe it makes a list of installed software, then anything new is tracked. Then, it immediately tracks all changes that the new program makes to the registry and file system, including changes made by other programs created or triggered by the original program. This process does not require user input, does not take much system resources, and does not appear to rely on the slow process of comparing "snapshots" (like Total Uninstall), rather it seems to track changes like security software does. It will continue tracking these changes indefinitely, even if the original program is deleted. Finally, if you want to "uninstall" the tracked program, you simply click a button and all tracked changes will be un-done. It will first run the program's own uninstaller if you want it to, then show you the remaining changes. In this capacity, it works smoother and more completely than any other uninstaller I have tried.

Cons:
1) PC Armor is written for non-experienced users, so the language used is over-simplified and the documentation is horribly vague. For example, you have to click the "Remove Clutter" button for it to start rolling back the changes made to the system.
2) Another problem is that it does not consistently detect new programs that are launched from a non-system partition. I noticed this problem early on, but not lately, so I'm not sure exactly what's happening here.
3) It comes with other features that are useless (to me) and may be needlessly taking up system resources: it will identify the source of "Popups", it will let you "Take Control" by shutting down "all running programs to regain control of your system" (I'm scared to even try this feature!), and it also has some "Browser Component" which I uninstalled because it caused IE to freeze.
4) It had some problems being installed with other security software, but eventually everything worked fine together.

Given these serious problems, I cannot recommend it as a security solution for inexperienced users. But, it seems that it can be very useful in the following 2 scenarios for experienced users:
1) As an uninstaller, it is unparalleled. I have tried many commercial and free uninstallers and they are all incomplete, cumbersome, and/or slow. Since I am constantly trying new software programs, I usually want to completely remove any traces of the software when I am finished. PC Armor works better than uninstallers (e.g. Total Uninstall) and is more flexible than sandbox programs (e.g., Sandboxie and DefenseWall).
2) As a security solution for experienced users, it could be used to track changes made by questionable programs. This will track and remove malware changes that your frontline security software misses. With further development, it has the potential to be a serious security solution. For example, PC Tools security suite did not detect infection by Vundo Trojan (also known as Virtumonde) on my system, whereas PC Armor tracked the changes and un-did them completely. In this capacity, it seems to work better than sandbox programs like Sandboxie and DefenseWall, because it allows system-level drivers and does not noticeably slow your system down.

In all, I recommend that experienced users give this a try and keep a watch out for further development.

**NOTE: I have not tested how precisely it tracks changes or or how completely it removes them. But my surface impression is that it is pretty thorough.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 07:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not sure what you want us to do with this. Normally we don't accept reviews for commercial sware, but it seems a great pity to waste your work ... and maybe we should re-think our policy.
Perhaps we should have a section in the Forum (plz not the main site) in which the Editors (but probably not visitors) can write about & discuss commercial apps?
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 07:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sorry, I'm new. I didn't think the "Debating Chamber" was limited to freeware. Feel free to delete or move, I can post it elsewhere.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 08:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sorry, we don't allow discussion on commercial or shareware apps here. Totally freeware... unless necessary. And I don't think a review on commercial or shareware app will be allowed at all.

Regarding the opening of a new section, please talk to Christoph, or Gizmo about it. This thread will be soon deleted.

Thanks
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 08:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Couldn't we leave it for a few days?. It does no harm and it would be interesting to see if there is any demand for commercial sware reviews.
It's always good to challenge our most basic assumptions, isn't it?
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 09:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think it has always been the policy of this site, and the forum, that we don't allow discussions on commercial or shareware softwares. Gizmo would have long back allowed commercial/shareware softwares on the site, if he wanted to... but that hasn't happened. So, I don't think it should be allowed... according to our policy.
Mentioning commercial/shareware apps to help someone, when necessary is ok... but not a full review I think.
As I said, please talk to Gizmo or Christoph, as I am not the right person. If they approve, this will be here, but I will be deleting it, as per my duties.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 09:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The Management Groupu takl to each other all the time, and we constantly review our policies about everything.
We have to find ways of increasing the appeal of the site.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 01:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I actually agree with both arguments. I accept that including commercial software would maybe broaden the appeal of the site but at the same time it would greatly add to the complexities that all of us editors already have.

Say I suddenly get a pile of requests from the forum to test the latest commercial version of Winky-Wonky HIPS? Who's gonna buy it for me? And if we're not gonna test these things then there's no point in inviting comment in the first place. I think there would be a great danger of the forum flooding with comparison requests and we would end up spending much of our time just doing this. In general visitors don't ask now because they know we don't do!
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 09:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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OK - it is a review, not an advertisement. We can have it for a few days, but please let's consider the following:

Gizmo's Freeware

There are many places in the net, where you will find a more or less sound mixture between freeware and commerce.

Very few, that really stick to Freeware only. That is in my opinion, what this place is about. Freeware.
You come to Gizmo, because
  • you can be sure to find a freeware solution
  • one tested by our editors
  • recommended for its quality
  • and you also find help.
That's something, isn't it?

And only if and when all of us cannot think of one, we may point the visitor to payware, because we still want to help.

Let's not give this away easily.

I myself do use commercial software, but this is not the place to promote it.
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Old 24. Apr 2009, 10:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter View Post
We have to find ways of increasing the appeal of the site.
Well, we're now over 600 visitors - and counting
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