Ultimate Defense

Category Network Security
Reviewed by Cristiana
Updated May 30th, ’22
Tekpon Score
9.5

Ultimate Defense Review

Share on

iolo Ultimate Defense is a PC tune-up and anti-malware suite. Dubbed “System Mechanic Ultimate Defense” on the official website, it comprises seven modules, some of which are standalone programs downloadable from the website. Marketed to home users and small business owners, this security suite can wear many hats and provide much indirect value. The modules run the gamut from identity theft protection to a password manager and data recovery software. Keep reading my Ultimate Defense review to see what’s under the hood.

UI/UX
9.5
Ease of use
9.5
Value for Money
9.6
Features
9.6
Customer Support
9.5
Pricing Details

Starting from: $79.95/ year

Pricing Model: Subscription

Yes, has free trial

No free version

PROs
  • Supports Windows 11
  • Eye-popping performance boost
  • Trial versions of almost all modules
  • Shows in-depth information on running services
CONs
  • Windows only
  • May cripple your browser(s) if used haphazardly
  • No obvious way to review or undo the changes it makes
Best for
  • StartUps
  • Small business
  • Personal
Deployment
  • Desktop - Windows

Ultimate Defense from System Mechanic — Utility Software

iolo System Mechanic Ultimate Defense is a collection of seven cyber-protection and optimization tools:

  • System Mechanic (tune-up utility software)
  • System Shield (antivirus)
  • Malware Killer (on-demand malware removal)
  • Privacy Guardian (online privacy protection and privacy features wizard)
  • ByePass (password and payment information manager)
  • DriveScrubber (drive wiper)
  • Search and Recover (file recovery)

Their use is controlled by the overarching algorithm that keeps track of the performance boost they deliver. In addition, each tool can be purchased as a standalone program.

What is System Mechanic Ultimate Defense?

The official website mentions U.S. Patent 7,873,877, which describes a method to optimize PC performance through automatic process execution in the background. When the PC goes idle, the program benchmarks its performance of the PC. If one or more values in the benchmark fall below a certain threshold, System Mechanic Ultimate Defense activates one or more modules.

After optimization, System Mechanic Ultimate Defense analyzes and compares the results to previous PC states and optimizations. In this way, the program determines those areas where the performance gain is the largest and prioritizes modules that provide the biggest benefit.

What is System Mechanic Ultimate Defense

Why should you use Ultimate Defense?

One major benefit is that it can reveal problematic areas. For example, if System Mechanic Ultimate Defense consistently finds a huge volume of junk files, that could mean a program or service has gone rogue. Once you track down the culprit, you can negotiate with it using Task Manager or the Add or Remove Programs panel.

Another benefit is the ability to benchmark your hardware indirectly. Through regular use, you will notice System Mechanic Ultimate Defense activates some modules more often. This will indicate a part of your PC that is under heavy load. After a few benchmarks, you will have a rough idea of which hardware parts are about to fail, helping you decide what to upgrade for maximum reliability and performance gain.

Ultimate Defense Login

Visit the iolo home page, click “Downloads” at the top, and click any product name. The tool I chose was System Mechanic. Then, run the file and enter your e-mail address. Finally, please choose whether you want to test the product or activate it and finish the installation. You only need to make an account if you plan on buying the full version.

After installation, click the big blue Analyze button and let the tool do its magic. 

Ultimate Defense Login

Ultimate Defense Features

  • System Mechanic

After the analysis is complete, a big blue Repair All button will appear. You can check the details of issues found; in my case, 2,220 junk files and 105 registry issues. I clicked to expand the registry issues, which revealed 92 related to Compatibility Assistant. It peppered my registry with references to the programs I installed over the past months.

Further research showed that Compatibility Assistant is a tool in Windows 10 that automatically detects and compensates for compatibility issues in older programs. However, I also complained that it could be overzealous and fiddle with a program that works fine, breaking it in the process. The worst part is that the user is kept out of the loop. There is no feedback or history of what it tampered with, which might explain why some programs that should have worked failed on me.

I searched for “compatibility assistant” in Windows 10 settings and got no results. I had no idea Compatibility Assistant is a thing or how to access it until I downloaded System Mechanic; it appears to be intentionally hidden because Microsoft prefers Windows services working without user input. 

Anyway, it was time to send the old Compatibility Assistant to the farm. So I typed in “services.msc” in the Windows 10 search bar, pressed Enter, scrolled down, stopped, and disabled the “Program Compatibility Assistant Service.”

Repair all

  • Network Scanner

The next scan had to do with bandwidth. A big blue Scan Now button appeared, with the tooltip stating devices can consume bandwidth for no good reason. Sounds good; let’s see if it boosts my internet speed.

I clicked the scan, which showed two trusted devices using my internet connection — my router and smartphone. I expected more from network security software, such as a detailed overview of which programs connect.

Scan now

  • Startup Optimizer

Exiting the Network Scanner results automatically launched the Startup Optimizer scan. I again found something interesting — CCleaner. My favorite PC cleaner program got much flak for shady business practices over the years. However, I was so enamored by CCleaner that I would always install it on a new machine to delete unwanted programs and services.

CCleaner was regularly updating despite me trawling through startup options and disabling it wherever I could find it. Finally, the scan details showed that the community vote is 6% and 94% against keeping it on the machine. That was enough, and I finally let go of CCleaner.

Startup Optimizer

  • Real-Time Boost

Startup Optimizer also warned me that I was not running any CPU or RAM optimization service. System Mechanic Ultimate Defense offered four CPU and RAM optimization services:

  • PowerSense Mode (monitors CPU needs and adjusts performance on the fly)
  • OptiCore (stops background services from using too much CPU)
  • RAMJet (stops background services from using too much RAM)
  • AcceleWrite (eliminates random disk usage)

All four appear to be proprietary iolo technologies. However, research led me to a 2014 press release announcing OptiCore as a breakthrough innovation that stops “greedy programs” from using too much  CPU. “Far more enjoyable” user experience? Designed for hardcore multi-taskers? Pah that sounds like a bunch of marketing speak…

Then, I turned to Task Manager, and my jaw dropped. My CPU usage went to 1% for the first time and stayed there while I was using the PC! I had gotten so used to seeing it run at 50–100%, especially when running a video game, that I was genuinely shocked by the improvement.

I decided to test the optimization services under heavy CPU/RAM usage. So, I fired up Orcs Must Die! 3 and started the Lava Pits level. After 30 minutes of intense Orc BBQing, my enthusiasm was tempered, but I was still impressed.

CPU usage increased to 80% during melees and dropped to 40% during lulls. All the while, RAM stayed still at 7–8 GB usage; HDD and SSD were at 0%. Of course, GPU was on fire, but that’s par for my course.

Real Time Boost

  • Dashboard

After sensing the power of optimization, I could explore the System Mechanic interface at leisure. The left sidebar hosts four icons that comprise 16 sections. The naming is a bit unusual; the entire program is called “System Mechanic,” but it includes other standalone modules, such as Privacy Guardian.

The dashboard is the main overview area that shows the last scan’s results. Toolbox has tools for cleaning junk files, invalid registry entries, and removing unwanted programs and all their files. ActiveCare runs Toolbox tools on a schedule, with the option to customize what you want to be removed.

LiveBoost has the Real-Time Boost section described above but also On-Demand Boost. It detected three more wasteful services:

  • Network Connected Devices Auto-Setup
  • Payments and NFC/SE Manager
  • Secondary Logon

I guess that On-Demand Boost checked the last time they were used and correctly concluded they are useless. So, I disabled the latter two, leaving the important-sounding one active just in case. 

Security detects antivirus and firewall presence. In my case, the innate Windows 10 antivirus and firewall got the checkmark of approval from System Mechanic. 

Dashboard

  • Privacy Guardian

Furthermore, this module starts with a 17-part tutorial. We begin the journey with Digital Fingerprinting protection that checks Firefox, Chrome, and Edge for settings that could be used to mark the user in cyberspace uniquely. I followed the program’s recommendations and clicked the button to change them as it wanted, presumably enhancing my web security.

Next up is Privacy Shield, which lists data-sharing features, such as allowing camera and calendar access. A toggle turns them all off, but I strongly encourage you to read up on them and think each one through (there is a plain English explanation in the interface). For example, I immediately disabled Windows Feedback and those Windows services that share too much data about my habits, such as which languages I use for typing, with websites.

One particular setting made my blood boil because I realized what had happened only thanks to Privacy Guardian. At some point, I reinstalled Windows 10 and saw an image preview of a cringy video taken with my webcam that I had deleted pop up in the Start Menu. I scoured my PC for that video/image to no avail.

That seems to have happened due to the “allow video libraries access” data sharing feature, which lets Windows Store apps glance at my video galleries and presumably copy them to the cloud or take screenshots. So, I followed Privacy Guardian’s recommendations and toggled all settings to how it wanted me to, except in one instance.

Privacy Guardian

  • Ultimate Defense Privacy Guardian’s recommendations

The only feature I changed manually is related to browser history tracking. Privacy Guardian warned me that turning it to the strictest setting will send the data on what websites I visit to Microsoft and may interfere with my browsers’ settings. Therefore, I turned this setting to OFF rather than BLOCK, as done by Privacy Guardian.

Sadly, following the Privacy Guardian’s recommendations neutered the recording capability of my PC. My webcam couldn’t work until I granted access to Windows, which then granted it to all apps; ditto for my microphone. What a shame. Finally, the Privacy Guardian tutorial showed me how to customize which files containing private info to clear on the regular.

A few changes were reversed to Windows defaults when I left the screen. At least one website became inaccessible due to Privacy Guardian, presumably because the anti-fingerprinting changes blocked it from getting info on my browser window’s size. The same website worked in the app, in the smartphone browser, and private browsing on my PC (?).

After a bit, it dawned on me that cookies might be at fault, so I manually cleared the ones for that website, and it worked to restore the website’s normal function in Firefox but not in Edge. In Edge, I had to clear all cookies and reset all settings to their defaults to get the website to work finally. 

Ultimate Defense Privacy Guardian’s recommendations

  • ByePass

Furthermore, ByePass is a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. However, the Firefox link sent me to the iolo website rather than Mozilla Addons. After installing the extension, I entered the master password, downloaded the Recovery Key PDF, and bailed out. I did not feel in control and merely thinking about giving my passwords to an unverified browser extension made me queasy.

ByePass

  • Malware Killer

Hence, the final PC protection module let me scan all drives for malware. Unfortunately, after 20 minutes, it wasn’t even close to finishing, so I ended the scan.

Malware Killer

Ultimate Defense Pricing

System Mechanic Ultimate Defense is priced at $79.95, which nets you a one-year subscription to all its modules. There is a business edition too, priced at $49.99 and described as suitable for office PCs.

Tech support costs $240 a year and covers all modules in the System Mechanic Ultimate Defense, any problems they might find, and other PC issues, such as reinstalling Windows. A one-time call is $99. Available in US and Canada only.

A 30-day money-back guarantee covers all purchases.

Does Ultimate Defense have a free version?

No, but there is a trial version for the five modules mentioned in this review. There are no trial versions of DriveScrubber and Search and Recover. I recommend against relying on trial software for malware protection.

System Mechanic

$49.95
Yearly
  • Optimize your PC for peak performance
  • Repair problems and errors, and prevent them from recurring
  • Clean up system clutter
  • Fixes dangerous settings to prevent intruders and attacks
  • Maintain reliability and speed

System Mechanic Pro

$69.95
Yearly
  • Everything in System Mechanic plus:
  • System Shield – certified antivirus and antispyware protection that won’t slow you down
  • Search and Recover – recover accidentally deleted files, photos, email and more from any drive or media
  • DriveScrubber – securely erase data from your hard drive

System Mechanic Ultimate Defense

$79.95
Yearly
  • Everything in System Mechanic Professional plus:
  • Privacy Guardian – protect online privacy
  • ByePass – securely manage passwords
  • Malware Killer – find and destroy existing malware

See all Features

iolo System Mechanic Deals

Ultimate Defense Alternatives

If you are not convinced that iolo Ultimate Defense can work for you, read next about other security solutions.

System Mechanic Ultimate Defense vs. System Mechanic Pro

The feature comparison table found on the official website shows that System Mechanic Pro is a middle-ground solution. Compared to System Mechanic, it can block malware, delete whole drives, and recover deleted files. However, unlike System Mechanic Ultimate Defense, it cannot remove malware, manage passwords, or protect online privacy.

System Mechanic Ultimate Defense vs. Advanced Systemcare Ultimate

The feature list of Advanced Systemcare Ultimate mirrors that of System Mechanic Ultimate Defense almost to a T. The one difference is that it also supports older Windows operating systems. The cost is $29.99 for up to three PCs, and there is a trial version too.

System Mechanic Ultimate Defense vs. AVG Ultimate

Works on older Windows operating systems, macOS, Android 5+, and iOS 10+. AVG Ultimate is a virus protection program with a VPN and a tune-up utility. However, antivirus protection is the main selling point of the package. Unless you’re dealing with computer threats daily, you might lose performance because PC tune-up won’t matter.

AVG Ultimate is for personal and home use only, with each module applicable to up to 10 devices. Moreover, there are free trials for modules, and all payments have a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

System Mechanic Review Conclusions

System Mechanic Review Conclusions

Wow. This useful collection of tools and services can spruce up your PC and reveal information to help you solve some long-standing problems. For example, I suspected Windows 10 was leaking my information to Microsoft Store apps, but it was only after installing System Mechanic that I had it confirmed. 

After removing System Mechanic, I noticed an activity spike in the Task Manager — CPU, RAM, and disks were randomly acting up for no discernible reason. Still, I wouldn’t give System Mechanic my personal information or rely on it for hacker protection, let alone ultimate security.

I wish there were a thorough overview of what changes it makes to the machine so I can go through them one by one and troubleshoot the culprit. A reliable Undo feature would also make me feel much more confident in using System Mechanic. Unfortunately, the only remedy is making a System Restore point and keeping your fingers crossed that System Mechanic doesn’t wreck your PC. 

Is Ultimate Defense a trustworthy tool?

During my stint with System Mechanic Ultimate Defense modules, I received useful information that turned out 100% correct. As for Privacy Guardian, I expected issues. As of March 2020, the Mozilla Firefox source code contained 285,209 files totaling 2.5 GB. To call Firefox a behemoth is an understatement; it is a canning factory that collapsed onto worm breeding grounds. Any program tampering with Firefox is likely to mess it up.

Competitors

AVG Ultimate

Tekpon Score
Updated May 3rd, ’22

System Mechanic

Tekpon Score
Updated Apr 11th, ’22