SystemSuite 7 Professional

Reviewed by: Mark Goldstein, October 2007
Published by: VCOM and Avanquest
Requires: Any PC running Windows 2000 or later, Internet connection for product updates, 64MB free RAM, 40MB available hard drive space
MSRP: US$49.95 (upgrade pricing available)

SystemSuite 7 Professional is a comprehensive set of integrated PC security tools which includes antivirus, antispyware, firewall, system recovery, system maintenance and system monitoring utilities. Protection and maintenance utilities are grouped separately in the program interface, with various individual tools, components and configuration settings assembled in logical subgroups. SystemSuite 7 Professional is designed to be installed and used on home, SOHO and small business PCs of all kinds. It is priced within reach of most consumers, leaving little or no excuse for anyone to say, "My PCs aren't protected because that darn security software is just so gosh-awful expensive!"

SystemSuite 7 Professional is a large installation. All in all you get a total of approximately 60 integrated tools. SystemSuite 7 Professional, like all the other competing products in this category, attempts to be all things to all systems. It almost succeeds, which is darn good for anything priced so inexpensively.

Rather than individually testing each one of the five dozen tools, we installed and ran SystemSuite 7 Professional on three different workstations. Two of the systems were running Windows XP Professional and one was running Windows Vista Business. Installation was flawless on all three systems. We turned on every single automated feature available in SystemSuite 7 Professional including Checkpoint (a replacement for the Windows Restore Point function which creates backups of your system that you can roll back to in the event of problems), antivirus and antispyware monitoring, the NetDefense firewall, regularly scheduled disk defragmentation, and Uninstall (which tracks everything that enters your system including new software and device drivers) for removing software and uninstalling hardware drivers.


After three weeks of use, we had a review meeting at which everybody involved got a chance to express descriptions, likes, dislikes and so on. Here are the results, organized according to the order in which the components are presented in the SystemSuite 7 Professional interface.


  • Antivirus - the Trend Micro antivirus engine does the heavy lifting and updates are issued by Trend Micro through its various licensees including VCOM/Avanquest of course. Virus detection was excellent, catching everything in our arsenal and everything coming in via email. We could not directly test zero-day threats because, as far as we know, none appeared during the review period.
  • Antispyware - Trend Micro again does all the work under the covers. Detection is good, not great, and we feel that Trend Micro needs to do some work in this area. Of course, we say that about every suite product where the antispyware component is concerned. Although best defense is a dedicated antispyware utility, this component in SystemSuite 7 Professional is acceptable. Add a stand-alone antispyware utility no matter which security & maintenance suite you buy.
  • Firewall - The previous version of the NetDefense firewall was essentially flawless. This version is not, apparently because VCOM may have changed the underlying firewall engine. Mind you, it's better than the firewall that Microsoft built into Windows Defender, so you're better off with NetDefense. Again, this component is good but not great. It failed to detect and register several stealthy utility products that regularly require Internet access, leaving the products to access the web unmonitored and unfiltered. But it's still better than the Windows firewall.


  • Diagnose - While not as comprehensive as similar components offered in competing suites from Symantec and McAfee, it does a good job for home, SOHO and small business computer users by supplying results which are generally understandable. You can launch small system monitors which by default provide real-time status of Processor Time (why not label it CPU instead?), Threads (meaningful mainly if you're monitoring a multicore processor), Available MByte (why not label it Available RAM instead?), and Disk Time (which we think means disk activity, but since the readout is a percentage number, we're not actually sure). Those are the default monitors, but you can add additional panels with customs names and a whole range of individual resources and hardware monitors to each panel. Diagnose also contains a SMART disk test function to check SMART-enabled hard drives (i.e., almost every hard drive manufactured over the past 10 years).
  • Fix & Maintain - Registry analysis is good, but some of the registry 'errors' it reports aren't really errors. The result? A few disabled programs (e.g., Microsoft Visio 2003 in one case) which either have to be re-registered by entering the serial number or reg code, or in one case completely reinstalled. Otherwise, it's a very good component, so you have to get into the habit of reading the results of the scan to un-checked items you know are a problem before clicking the Fix button. Functional testing before and after registry repairs with Fix & Maintain and after running Optimize to defragment the registry showed a noticeable improvement in overall system response and shorter boot/reboot times.
  • Optimize - Jet Defrag has been a component in SystemSuite for years and it works quite well. It's not super speedy, but it gets the job done on hard drives. Always perform a backup before doing maintenance or drive defragmentation of any kind. The registry defragmentation and compacter also works well.
  • Cleanup - Cleans out temp folders, Internet file caches, duplicate files, backup (BAK, OLD, etc.) files, zero byte/zero length files and generally roots around in Windows to get rid of all sorts of other junk as well. It works properly and is easy to configure.
  • Recovery - FileUndeleter, RescueDisk, Checkpoint, Emergency Manual and UndoIt all seem to work well. Of course you never really need any of these tools unless you're in the midst of an emergency. If you don't already have a rescue boot CD or DVD or some sort, then you're a doofus. We deleted a few system files and then successfully used the recovery disk to reboot a system and repair it. We also deleted all sorts of files in all sorts of places, then used either FileUndeleter or UndoIt to get everything back. The only problem we encountered had to do with efforts to recover files located in areas of a hard drive that had been partially overwritten. In other words, these recovery components should work in most typical situations, but they're not designed to be industrial strength PC repair bench utilities. SystemSuite 7 Professional makes it easy to create a rescue boot CD. The Checkpoint component is the star of this bunch however, and makes the Windows Restore Point function look positively lame and unreliable by comparison.
  • Uninstall - This one tracks existing and new program installations to help root out all of the dozens of files and registry entries installed by most software in order to help thoroughly uninstall, leaving little if anything behind. The Uninstall component generally does a much better job than Windows and many program-specific uninstallers. It works better on software it originally tracked than it does on software that was already present before SystemSuite 7 Professional was installed.
  • Zip - As part of a comprehensive file maintenance routine, some people like to archive, or rather ZIP compress older files into more compact units. You can save hard drive space and make more efficient use of CD or DVD backup discs. However, SystemSuite 7 Professional does not include any sort of supporting, integrated file management tool, so the Zip component is a bit of an orphan. It works well enough, but it's also limited in functionality compared to almost all of the stand-alone Zip utilities. On the other hand, it's much better than the rudimentary Zip capability built into Windows, so if you haven't yet purchased your own copy of WinZip and you already have SystemSuite (or will have it shortly), it should fit most of your needs. The Zip&Backup part of this thing is useful for putting together quick, customized backups. It's quick and easy to use.

Cons: In the dim memories of times long past, I remember a product from Mijenix Software called SystemSuite. It was a speedy and efficient Thoroughbred compared to the enormous system protection and maintenance suites available today. These suites are enormous today, mainly in response to the vast array of threats and system complexities. Mijenix Software was absorbed by OnTrack (in 1999), which then sold SystemSuite to VCOM (in 2002). VCOM was acquired by BVRP (in early 2005) which then changed its name to Avanquest (mid-2005). Avanquest is a huge multi-national software publisher. Just thought you'd like to know. Like all products of its kind, SystemSuite 7 Professional hooks deeply into your system and that can sometimes cause slowdowns during program launches and during software installations and updates, largely due to the way in which the antivirus component watches and analyzes files entering and exiting RAM. The NetDefense firewall engine is new but does not seem to hold up as well as the engine in SystemSuite 6 and earlier, essentially missing some test stealth program launches. The virus signature and definitions updates still take too long to download and install, requiring far too many mouse clicks from the user to complete the process. This sort of thing should be largely automated by now and hasn't improved at all since SystemSuite 5. The Registry cleanup component generally works well but occasionally deletes important keys, my Microsoft Visio 2003 registration being a prime example. A QuickBooks Pro installation was also messed up by the registry cleaner and we had to reinstall the program. This has been a SystemSuite problem for some time and I really wish the developers or someone in QA testing at Avanquest would fix the issue. The Zip utility is useful enough but seems out of place in the absence of any other file or document management tools. The inclusion of the Zip features would make more sense if VCOM fixed some bugs in its powerful PowerDesk 6 file manager and folded it, along with a backup scheduler, into SystemSuite 7 Professional. The help system is well organized, but it's not context sensitive so there's no component specific help in each part of the program.

Pros: The antivirus and antispyware engines work well. While Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky Lab seem to be leading the pack, SystemSuite's TrendMicro underpinnings are close behind and in fact the differences between most of the middle and upper tier security suites are minimal. Virus detection, update lag for new malware and threat signatures, zero-day threat protection and the firewall all rank among the top five in security suite products on the market right now. For fifty bucks you get a 3-license package which seems ideal for most home, SOHO and small business use. At this price there's really no excuse for not having proper PC protection and maintenance. For Windows PC users who have experienced the shock and frustration of bad device drivers or product updates messing up the system and the subsequent lack of an uncorrupted Windows system restore point, Checkpoint is on its own worth the price of the whole suite. The registry cleaning and optimization tools will usually make older, poorly maintained systems feel faster and more responsive. The recovery tools will save you from yourself more often than you might imagine. SystemSuite 7 Professional works as advertised and in addition provides plenty of extras to help keep Windows PCs of all types running smoothly and securely. Recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



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