Nov 4, 2008
Valerie Hayworth

New Reimage.com Technology Beats AntiViruses and More…

We had a lot of fun with this experiment. We went to all the nastiest sites and engaged in the most dubious on-line activities. A few days on, the PC ground to halt with so many nasty viruses, trojans, malware and corruption that we thought the time was right to initiate the experiment. Pitching Reimage against multiple anti viruses, registry cleaners and spyware removal programs, here are the results:

Advice on PC repair

Save yourself the hassle of buying software that will fall short in repairing your PC. The products reviewed below have been tested, trying to repair the same operating system (VMware) using different solutions. This example of a dysfunctional computer offers a clunky user experience, slower than usual boot and user will find surfing the Internet difficult.

Here are the symptoms of the dysfunctional PC we tested:

The malicious process in the PC

The malicious process in the PC

  • Missing control panel
  • Can’t open the task manager
  • Can’t open the registry
  • Homepage can’t be changed

We generally found that the reviewed tools fall into three main categories: junk, nice-to-have and even superb. If there’s a tool you want to see reviewed, please let us know and we’ll buy it and add it to the reviews here.

We used a two month old image and ran the anti viruses too see if they are updated and can fix the problem.

The PC problems in detail

  • Difficulties in repairing an Operating System due to system maintenance tools being disabled, such as task manager.
  • Viruses distract user from reaching his target in browsing through promoting other websites that he did not want to reach via Google search or pretending to be an Internet security software that causes user to install more malicious content.
  • Malware running in the background hogs CPU Process time, slowing down the entire computer.
    Invisible programs running in taskbar (stealth IRC program that logs into chat rooms in IRC environment and try to steal information out of other users).
  • A hacker deleted the CPL (control panel list) files which control the control panel list such as display properties and language settings.
  • Hacker removed program files entries in the Registry that destroy a user’s ability to access programs via the start menu.

Summary of Testing

In essence, we have seen that all Anti Virus programs completely failed to install, the registry cleaning applications had no effect what-so-ever on a severely infected PC and that SpyBot made some, limited, progress at removing spyware yet falling short in a PC repair.

Category: Autonomic Fix

Reimage: Near Perfection!

Time to use – 19 minutes (22:00 – 22:19)

Software Usage

  • Instant repair starts via going to www.reimage.com and initiating a free scan. A small file is downloaded into the browser and the repair process begins (22:01). The repair is charted through the web browser and describes the process taking place in easy to understand terms, while providing detailed technical information below.
  • First the software analyzes (22:08) and then it moves in to make a repair based on its findings. The “fix” part was concluded two minutes later (22:10). At this point you are asked to reboot the system and it is up and running, after a small post startup screen update in the form of a blue screen. A web page is brought up at this point saying “finalizing repair, please wait” and a list of applications that you many not want to erase is presented. It allows you to UNDO the repair if your not happy with the result.

Result

  • The old wallpaper is present, which I can change
  • I can change the homepage of the web browser
  • All the icons are visible in the control panel
  • There are no malicious processes running in the background
  • There are still viruses in the system, but isolated and inactive (they recommend running an anti-virus as a garbage collector).
  • The machine is as good as new!

Category: Anti Spyware

SpyBot: Superficial Success

Time to use – 57 minutes (20:33 – 21:30)

Software Usage

  • Spybot immediately cleans out about 1,000 temp files.
  • Ask me for a registry backup and prompts a question regarding which server to use for downloading updates. I select ifwd.org (USA) I click ok at 20:36. Then I am prompted to download multiple updates that I can choose and I am requested to re-apply immunization after the update.
  • I click exit and am admitted to the main menu for the first time. (20:38), I click check for problems and the system starts a scan.
  • A 36 minute scan is completed (21:26).
  • The system says that some errors couldn’t be fixed entirely and it will require a reboot to finalize the repair. It reports that 40 problems were fixed and that 2 could not.
  • System is rebooted. Asks to delete 239 temp files (21:30) and software launches again.

Result
• All viruses are gone.
• Cant’ change the wallpaper, task manager or see most of the control panel.
• A few viruses still present.
• MIRC still active.
• Original wallpaper is restored but can’t be changed.

Category: Registry Cleaner

CCleanup: Or CCmuckup?

Time to use – 8 minutes (19:04 – 19:12)

Software Usage

  • 4.68MB of cleaning required.
  • 24 Registry issues, clicking scan immediately after revealed 12 more problems, another time 2 more.
  • Computer rebooted in normal mode at 19:09 , booted up at 19:10.

ResultCrashing Web Browser

  • Task manger still disabled.
  • Multiple viruses still present (system doctor, virusseigyo, advanced registry optimizer, winspyware protect).
  • Can’t change wallpaper.
  • Control panel has missing functions.
  • New: Internet explorer won’t load now.

Registry Booster: Busted!

Time to use – 15 minutes (19:53 – 20:08)

Software Usage

  • Program says it must restart the machine out of safe mode to finish install at 19:57.
  • Install is completed and Uniblue “auto launches” .

    Problematic install and no results

    Problematic install and no results

  • Starts repair at 20:00, reports finding 143 “invalid registry entries”.
  • I finally see the user interface and its gorgeous.
  • Repair is completed and system is foes through a reboot 20:04.
  • Process completed at 20:08.
  • Installs Microsoft windows installer 3.1 as pre-requisite, takes 2 minutes.

Result

  • Task manger still disabled.
  • Multiple viruses still present (system doctor, virusseigyo, advanced registry optimizer, winspyware protect).
  • Can’t change wallpaper.
  • Control panel has missing functions.

Registry Mechanic: Fail!

Time to use – 15 minutes (20:22 – 20:28)

Software Usage

  • Initiating an easy install for RegMechanic, during the setup process you will be asked if you want to install Google toolbar as well.
    Bells and whistles to no effect
  • Setup takes a minute. RegMechanic checks for updates. The scan in completed in a few seconds and instantly recognizes 102 faults with the registry.
  • I also choose the optimize option on the system and defrag it, this launches the standard windows defrag utility. I give it a miss as it is simply a quick launch option for a Windows utility and unrelated to RegMechanic.
  • I go for the “analyze and compact” option, the process is completed in a few seconds and reports that the registry has been compressed by 13% saving 1.59MB from a total 12MB.
  • Additionally, before starting, my system health was reported as LOW.
  • I now restart the system, after playing around with the various functions (20:28).

Result

  • Task manger still disabled.
  • Multiple viruses still present (system doctor, virusseigyo, advanced registry optimizer, winspyware protect).
  • Can’t change wallpaper.
  • Control panel has missing functions.

Category: AntiViruses

AVG: Installation blocked

19:00 – 19:02

NOD32: Installation fail

19:31 – 19:34

Norton: Setup hassle & fail

19:35 – 19:42

  • Norton started up by installing updates that took about 2 minutes, after which saying that it can’t install on safe mode and required a reboot.
  • Once in normal mode Norton did not manage to install.

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