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FixMeStick review: A one-stop clean up for infected PCs

Our Verdict

The FixMeStick clean up USB is not for experienced PC wranglers, but as a get-out-of-jail card for non-techies it’s hard to beat.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Multiple scan engines
  • Access to support

Cons

  • Quarantines infected system files
  • Doesn’t remove registry traces
  • No ongoing protection

We all know that virus infections are a pain, not only do they disrupt your work they can also be hard to remove as they often prevent you from downloading or running cleanup tools or even from accessing Windows.

If you don’t have access to a friendly geek with the right tools you can be faced with hours of work or even having to wipe out and reload your machine.

Now there’s a solution in the form of FixMeStick. It’s a USB stick that removes viruses and infections from both Windows PCs and Macs. It follows the same process that professionals do by running multiple scanning tools to increase detection rates and operating outside the machine’s normal operating system to prevent interference.

How it works

The FixMeStick is a bootable drive so if your BIOS is set to start from USB you can just plug it and switch on the machine. Alternatively you can plug it in while the operating system is running and it will read your Wi-Fi details so it can get online and then force a reboot. After booting it will update itself over the Internet – you’ll need to enter your wireless details if you didn’t run it in Windows first – and begin a scan.

Depending on the size and condition of your machine scanning may take several hours to complete. It uses three anti-virus engines, Sophos, Kaspersky and GFI Vipre to ensure that it has the best chance of finding all infections. There’s a custom scan option for advanced users that allows you to restrict the scan to specific disks or files if you want to.

FixMeStick

When the scan is complete you get the opportunity to review the detected items before removing them to quarantine. After booting back to Windows you’re presented with a browser page giving contact details should you want to follow anything up, though the phone number supplied is in Canada. The important thing to note here is that it only quarantines files, it won’t repair infected system files so if a key Windows file gets canned you might find your system won’t boot and you need that support. It doesn’t remove virus traces from the registry either, you’ll need to scan with another product to do a complete clean up once FixMeStick has got you up and running again.

FixMeStick copies itself to the hard drive and leaves a quarantine folder there too so you can get back any files that have been wrongly removed. It sends you an email too with a link to view your scan results via an online portal.

FixMeStick costs £45 which allows you to use it on three machines for a year – you need to specify whether it’s for PC or Mac when you order. After that you can reset it for £37 to give you a further year’s use. There’s a pro version available which gives use on unlimited numbers of machines for a year costing £200.

Is it for me?

So, should you buy one? There are of course plenty of free bootable rescue discs available to download but they’re generally not easy to use, FixMeStick is. If you’re not confident with using conventional anti-virus tools or creating rescue disks then FixMeStick provides a fully automated scan and it’s cheaper than paying a specialist to clean up your machine. You get access to email and telephone support should you need it too.

It isn’t intended to be a complete solution and there’s no long-term protection. However, it will get a heavily infected machine working again so that you can complete the clean up with a conventional installed antivirus product.

Not for experienced PC wranglers then, but as a get-out-of-jail card for non-techies it’s hard to beat. You can find out more at the FixMeStick website or click the button below to get one for yourself.

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The Verdict

3.5

out of 5

FixMeStick A one-stop clean up for infected PCs

The FixMeStick clean up USB is not for experienced PC wranglers, but as a get-out-of-jail card for non-techies it’s hard to beat.