PCKeeper Live Highlights -
Pros: Well designed interface. Human assistance. Responsive support. Delivers overall performance improvements.
Cons: Lacks comprehensive feature set found in other similar utilities.
Those who are running a Windows operating system may have noticed that their computer performance becomes sluggish over time and is no longer as responsive as it used to be. Most modern day computers are fast enough and have specifications that are capable enough to handle demanding applications and tasks. What actually slows computers down are users installing junk or badly written applications, system clutter due to the accumulation of a large amount of temporary files, file fragmentation, registry issues and a lack of overall PC maintenance. Regardless of whether you have a PC or Mac, over time users will usually download files, install software and surf the Internet that will eventually make their computer bloated with files and hog system resources. The reality is that Windows doesn't slow down if you take care of your PC. There are many PC optimization tools available in the market like CCleaner and iolo's System Mechanic which we have recently reviewed. Both of these software are capable of performing maintenance tasks ranging from cleaning and removing unnecessary files to optimizing system registry. However, Essentware's PCKeeper Live introduces a very different approach to computer maintenance that involves a real Microsoft Certified expert looking at your computer maintenance issues remotely, along with 13 built in optimization tools for regular PC maintenance. This revolutionary feature of human assistance involves cooperation between a user and a technical specialist. PCKeeper Live scans a user's PC and generates a report on detected PC problems which can then be sent to remote specialists for further research. They analyze the scan results and within 24 hours send an optimizing solution back to your computer. All a user needs to do is to apply this solution designed specifically for their PC and with just one click, their computer is fully optimized. PCKeeper Live also promises to be a tool targeted towards non-technical users that is very easy to use.
Getting Started -
PCKeeper Live is compatible only with computers running Windows (Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10) operating system. We would recommend having at least 512MB of memory and about 200MB of free hard drive space for the software to run smoothly. The installation process itself is pretty straightforward and with just a couple of clicks, you'll have the software installed in under 5 minutes. We didn't find any third party software getting installed during the process although in their EULA (End User License Agreement), it does mention that various optional third-party software may be offered within the installation process. As for the license, the demo will limit you to just fixing up to 44 items. A license key will grant you the right to activate and use a fully functional PCKeeper on either one computer used by multiple people, or several computers (within reasonable limits), used by one and the same person. This is different from iolo's 'Whole Home License' that allows installation across an unlimited number of a user's home PCs used by different people. The interface looks very clean and is easy to navigate. The software doesn't slow down the system while it's running and it's overall memory footprint is reasonably low. There are several options in the left pane and they are broken down into 4 main categories - Human Assistance, Security, Cleaning and Optimization. Each of these categories have their own individual sub-categories that will allow you to configure and run specific tools. Overall, we like the simplicity of the software and it's well-designed interface.
What's Inside PCKeeper Live -
> Human Assistance Tools - Find & Fix, and Geek on Demand.
> Security Tools - Anti-Theft, Data Hider, Shredder and Files Recovery.
> Cleaning Tools - Disk Cleaner, Disk Explorer, Duplicate Finder and Uninstaller.
> Optimization Tools - Context Menu Manager and Startup Manager.
Human Assistance Tools -
Optimizing a computer with PCKeeper Live is as simple as following three easy steps:
1. Running a full system scan.
2. Sending the scan report to an expert who reviews it remotely.
3. Applying the expert recommendations to optimize the PC.
In this review, we take a closer look at what PCKeeper Live has to offer and whether it stacks up against the claims it makes. We were offered a review copy and the software was tested on Toshiba Portege R830 running Windows 7 with an Intel Core i5 processor, 2GB of memory and 500GB hard drive. When the program is first launched, it automatically scans the computer to find issues ranging from junk and temporary files (including space taken up by older copies of Windows Update), to performance and security issues. This is known as Find & Fix and is PCKeeper Live's flagship feature. This utility scans the computer and generates a report for errors, bugs and security breaches which may slow down the system. You can then let the program fix the issue straightaway or send the scan results to one of the in-house Microsoft Certified experts who will analyze it individually, according to the system conditions and types of problems. Within 24 hours, the team will find an optimal optimization solution and send it to the users' computer to be applied with just one click. This personal approach is the core of Find & Fix and we think it is a great feature for non-technical users. We have never seen such a kind of human involvement in PC optimization software before and this is surely a revolutionary approach for providing individual solutions instead of a blanket approach for everybody.
Our computer was apparently in 'Serious' condition with Medium Cleaning and Security issues and Serious Performance issues. It had as much as 1.32 GB worth of junk files that could be deleted and 279 performance issues to address. You can also view the details of each individual issue by clicking on the respective tabs which is great for users who want more control. The fix took less than 5 minutes and our system status quickly changed from 'Serious' to 'Medium'. In contrast, iolo's System Mechanic took about an hour to optimize the same computer. However this could be because System Mechanic optimizes and defragments the hard drive as well, which usually takes a long time. PCKeeper Live seems to be missing a hard disk optimization tool. Later on we also submitted our scan results to have a more personalized recommendation. Their recommendation along with a solution came within 24 hours as promised and we could apply the fix with one single click which was very convenient. One thing to note is that the recommendation is valid for 7 days after which you'll need to rescan the computer and send the scan results again. Also, once you send the scan results, the next analysis of your PC by an expert will only be available after 30 days. After a reboot, we observed noticeable performance improvement and programs loaded a lot quicker than before we ran the scan and fixed the issues. Also, the computer seemed a little bit more responsive which was a great outcome.
Another handy tool built into PCKeeper Live is 'Geek on Demand'. It's like having a personal tech guy on your fingertip where you can ask any technology-related question without trying to find the answer for hours on your own. The questions you can ask range from software or hardware related to general IT questions. The specialists from PCKeeper will do all the research for you and will provide you with an answer within 24 hours. This service is included in the PCKeeper’s subscription and does not require any additional fees. The number of questions is unlimited, so Geek on Demand is a perfect solution for people seeking answers to their tech-related questions. To test it out, we asked a hardware related question and as promised we were given a satisfactory answer within the specified timeframe.
Security Tools -
PCKeeper Live includes security tools that range from hiding/shredding/recovering files to protecting your computer from theft. The Anti-Theft features seems to be particularly impressive and the computer doesn't even need to be online 24x7 for it to be working. Once activated, the Anti-Theft launches a background process to automatically collect the computer's IP address along with it's geographical location every hour. In case the computer is reported missing (via PCKeeper's web account) and turned on by a criminal, the Anti-Theft starts collecting the IP address, tracking location, trace route and making snapshots using a built-in webcam (if available) every 5 minutes to log evidence for a law enforcement agency. The user will be informed by email and get a phone call from a customer support representative. We didn't test this functionality but there is no reason to believe why this wouldn't work. The Data Hider makes it easy for users to make files or folders invisible to others, transforming their computer into a digital safe box that can only be unlocked with a password. The Shredder ensures that personal files and data that you no longer need become unrecoverable. Users have a choice of using four shredding algorithms including the Gutmann method, which rewrites the file 35 times rendering it completely inaccessible by any tools. This way if you need to dispose of your computer, you can be sure that all your personal information has been permanently removed and is unrecoverable. The File Recovery lets you recover any accidentally deleted files. It scans the hard drive for any recoverable files and lets the user decide which files they want to keep. We ran the tool and it was able to find about 1300 files that could be recovered. Some of them were deleted as far as 6 months back!
Cleaning Tools -
The Cleaning utilities comprise of Disk Cleaner, Disk Explorer, Duplicate Finder and Uninstaller. These are pretty much standard utilities that you would expect in a PC maintenance suite. The Disk Cleaner lets the user get rid of junk and cache files together with other errors which may slow down the system. The Disk Explorer is like an advanced version of Windows Explorer that can rearrange the files on a hard drive – according to the type, size or other categories thereby providing fast access to any information needed. Duplicate Finder shows the user all identical files found on a computer together with the memory size they have used. After reviewing them, the user can decide which files to discard in order to free up hard drive space. PCKeeper’s Uninstaller works just like the default Windows "Add/Remove Programs" that lets the user delete any software program. The Uninstaller provides all the information the user needs to know about the software installed and lets them delete programs with just one click.
Optimization Tools -
PCKeeper Live's optimization tool consists of Context Menu and Startup manager. One of the most frustrating things about Windows is the context menu clutter that users have to deal with once they install a bunch of applications. These are applications and options that are accessible with a right button click. This is where Context Menu manager will come in handy as it lets the user decide which of these options to use on a regular basis and which to disable. Just like the Context Menu, many programs may add themselves to the Windows startup menu. Because they are launched every time your PC starts, the boot time may increase by a couple of minutes depending on the nature of the application. PCKeeper Live Startup Manager lets you disable the startup of some programs or even add a program to start up automatically when Windows boots up.
ReviewsBucket's Verdict -
Overall, we think PCKeeper Live is excellent for non-technical users. The installation is simple and it has a very user friendly interface. You'll only need a couple of minutes to get used to the software. The Human Assistance feature is excellent and well thought out. After the initial scan and following the expert's recommendations, we definitely noticed performance improvements. The computer seemed more responsive and opening up different programs was quick. However, the tools for PC cleaning and optimization are very basic and most of these could be found in free software like CCleaner. Even though you can optimize your PC system in different ways: clean up junk files; find duplicates; decrease startup time and more, power users may find PCKeeper Live to be lacking some advanced features like registry cleaning and complete disk defragmentation. Also, there were some utilities like Disk Explorer which users will probably never use. Having said that, perhaps the best feature of PCKeeper Live and what makes it worth the money is it's Human Assistance feature where a dedicated expert can give you their recommendation and solution to solve PC issues with just one click. The Anti-Theft and Geek on Call makes this software even more attractive as well. Overall, we would recommend PCKeeper Live if you are less technically inclined and want someone else to look after your PC maintenance tasks, or if you just need some basic tech support with unlimited access to your own tech geek.
About Essentware S.A:
Essentware S.A has focused itself on developing unique program solutions for Windows users only. The core aspiration of the company is to develop cool products and services which can transform the way people use data to satisfy their needs.