Avanquest SystemSuite Professional 9 review

£39
Price when reviewed

SystemSuite Professional 9 is an all-in-one package that promises top-notch security suite features, plus over sixty tools for system maintenance and optimisation. Unfortunately, as a security suite it’s not much cop. It detected just 85% of this month’s malware, where A-List favourite Avira scored a rather more reassuring 96%.

The two-way firewall bugged us about basic Windows components, such as the system installer, and didn’t even start up until 14 seconds after the desktop had appeared, giving attackers a plum opportunity to get into your PC. Indeed, activity continued for over two minutes after boot, with CPU usage exceeding 10% at an otherwise idle desktop for a shocking 28 seconds.

SystemSuite 9 is intrusive in other ways, too: it keeps two icons in your system tray, brings up a Vista UAC requester every time you open the user interface and advertises other Avanquest products during updates. Its only saving grace is memory usage, which on our system settled down to 530MB on our Vista system – not bad by security suite standards.

The maintenance side is even more disappointing. SystemSuite 9 claims to eliminate PC crashes, but in the main ‘system health’ panel you’ll find only a disk defragmenter, an update scheduler, two clean-up wizards and a tool that reports hard disk warning conditions.

Other panels are equally awash with makeweight features. ‘Fix & Maintain’ presents clones of the Windows Registry Editor and Task Scheduler, a button that launches Windows Update, and a feature to synchronise your system clock with an internet time server. ‘CleanUp’ offers buttons to wipe internet caches, cookies and temporary files. Of the 60+ tools of offer, almost none are worth paying for.

In fairness, there are a few decent features mixed in with the dross. There’s a handy undelete tool – something Windows has long been missing – with a neat option to take a snapshot of your file allocation table to help you recover data in the future. And though the Zip tools mostly duplicate compression features in Windows, it’s nice to be able to create self-extracting archives.

But as a whole SystemSuite 9 does little that Windows doesn’t already do itself. Coating existing functions in a new front-end and coupling them with second-rate security does not result in a suite we’d pay money for.

Details

Software subcategory Internet security

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes

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