PCDefense includes several tools that can be found within your basic Internet browser or Windows XP itself. The tool Start-up displays a list of apps and processes that load when you reboot your computer. While editing this list can speed up your computer, PCDefense doesn't provide enough context for the average user to understand which app or process to terminate and which to allow. If you're already using the Windows versions, this will make sense; if not, you'd best skip this tool.
The Browser settings tool recognizes that malicious code can sometimes hijack your browser's start page or default search engine for another. PCDefense allows you to restore the default settings or to check your custom settings, but most browsers allow you to do this as well. Cookies are tiny tokens left by sites you've visited on the Web; in most cases, they are harmless and can be read only by the originating site, so no personal information is shared among sites. Most browsers already include similar tools, and the PCDefense Cookie tool provides no additional cookie management functionality. Host files help direct your Internet connections on your PC; if malicious code takes control of your system's Host file, it can hijack your request to visit Google.com, for example, and send you to another search engine entirely. These are called pharming attacks. While you can edit and delete false entries, PCDefense doesn't allow you to make the Host file read-only, which is what you should be able to do in a security tool.
For support, Laplink offers online chat, e-mail, FAQs, and telephone support, although the latter was unavailable at the time of this review. Surprisingly there is no online knowledge base for PCDefense, nor is there much of an in-program help system.
Unfortunately, Laplink PCDefense is unfocused. If it's an antispyware app that includes rootkit and keylogger prevention, then so be it. But PCDefense includes so many other tools--some which are already free within Windows XP, your browser, or online--that the end result is a hastily assembled collection of tools rather than an integrated product. That's why it's hard for us to recommend PCDefense at this time.
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