Iolo's System Shield 4 Review: Internet Security Software
|Visit Iolo's System Shield 4 Website|
|Inexpensive, reliable software with a cool detection feature. Confusing interface and difficult installation downgrades its score. Discount for NextAdvisor readers.|
[Editor's note: Iolo System Shield is currently offering NextAdvisor visitors an exclusive $10-off discount. No coupon code is needed, just follow any of the System Shield links from NextAdvisor.]
System Shield definitely seems to fit in to the computer mechanic mentality of Iolo. It's technical and difficult to navigate for the average user, but its protection is solid and its features are ahead of the game when it comes to detection.
Iolo System Shield 4 has one of the most difficult installation processes we've been through in terms of security software. Granted, part of the problem stemmed from the fact that we had two security software suites still installed on the computer, which interfered with the installation. But for each uninstall, we had to end the System Shield installation, restart the computer, and restart the installation from the beginning. After we were finally able to install System Shield, we again had to restart, and System Shield prompted us to start the installation process over again. Frustrated, we clicked on the desktop icon instead and the software started with no problem, but it was a lot of hoops to jump through to get the software installed.
System Shield also requires a lot of "next" clicking on their installation process, which makes it much slower than the suites that do automatic installs without the hassle of answering a bunch of questions.
It's 2012 (in security software land), which means the bar is raised high for the design of a security software suite's interface. System Shield sadly just misses that bar. While it makes the effort, it falls very short of sleek and sophisticated suites such as Avast!, BitDefender and Norton.
It also is not a very intuitive interface. First, all the labels and wording are very technical, so the average user might have an issue navigating the software. Second, the security features are randomly spread out with half of them in a tiny "settings" link at the top of the interface. The Definitions and Disinfections tabs — which are not intuitive terms — could easily be housed under the Protection tab with the rest of the features, especially since most of the tabs have an enormous amount of blank space in them.
The most confusing issue was that the email protection was disabled by default, so we had to go in and enable it. Yes, it is nice to give the user the option of opting in, but if the average user doesn't think to look in the Protection tab for Email protection, then they will never be protected.
On the plus side, System Shield's detection alerts are subtle and quiet, so they don't disturb your computing experience. This software's default is similar to other software's "gaming mode," which limits the number of alerts so it doesn't disrupt users while they are gaming.
While the installation and interface of System Shield had issues, the protection value of the software is much higher. Although the initial scan took a while, it was very thorough. System Shield caught all the malware that we tried to download to the computer, but had issues with the spyware tests we conducted. It didn't catch the files when we downloaded them, although another security software we had installed did. Its firewall also leaves many ports unprotected, which could lead to security issues. Overall, it was a solid performance, but the software did better at catching viruses and malware than other threats.
The most exciting feature that System Shield offers is artificial intelligence heuristics that track your behavior on the computer and learn to detect new threats that other software might not be able to detect. This helps protect against new or mutated viruses, or any weird behavior that security software usually doesn't detect.
Other than the heuristics, System Shield doesn't offer any features that go above and beyond standard security software. In fact, it's lacking in some areas. For example, it only has a full system scan, instead of offering quick scans or custom scans. The firewall is lacking when it comes to protection. And there are no parental controls.
Iolo's System Shield tries to compete with the big boys of security software, but comes up short. The installation can be frustrating and the interface is confusing for the average user. But the protection is fairly solid, and the artificial intelligence feature makes for an interesting software suite. If you can speak security software language and want an intuitive program that will catch viruses before they start, System Shield is perfect for you.
System Requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
**Score indicates impact of antivirus product on system performance. Average of performance tests by AV-Comparatives.
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