Iolo Antivirus Review 2023: Good for Tune-Ups, Bad for Antivirus

Iolo antivirus features haven’t been widely tested, but the iolo PC tune-up kit is well-known and trusted.
Ben Walker, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Jan 5, 2023
Learn More
On Iolo's website

  • The PC tune-up kit is useful and provides loads of features
  • New threats detected with artificial intelligence
  • Antivirus not thoroughly tested by independent companies

Iolo antivirus is one of many features you can find on iolo System Mechanic Ultimate Defense, which also includes PC optimization, password management, and file recovery tools.

The antivirus itself is fairly untested by reputable antivirus testers, including AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives. This puts a bit of a question mark over its reliability from our perspective, even though iolo is a well-known software company with millions of users.

But we generally found iolo easy to use, while being a bit confusing with its offered products and services. Check out our iolo System Mechanic review to see our experience with the antivirus and PC tune-up features.

In this article
iolo antivirus overview
Who is iolo best for?
iolo System Mechanic features
iolo antivirus test results
Our iolo System Mechanic Pro experience
iolo compatibility
iolo customer support
iolo antivirus cost
iolo FAQs
Bottom line: Is iolo a good antivirus?

iolo antivirus overview

Price $39.95–$63.94/first yr
Free plan Yes
# of devices protected Unlimited at-home personal devices
Malware scans Manual and scheduled
Firewall No*
Phishing protection Yes, with System Mechanic Ultimate Defense
*Our version of iolo System Mechanic Pro didn’t come with a firewall option. But iolo mentions that a firewall comes with its System Mechanic Ultimate Defense.

All About Cookies Rating
“If you’re looking for a PC tune-up kit that can also provide some security features, iolo could be a good fit for you. 

System Mechanic’s PC optimization features work well enough, but its antivirus features require more extensive testing and leave a lot to be desired. The full antivirus scan took just about 12 hours to complete. In comparison, a Norton 360 antivirus full scan could take around one to two hours or less.”

Who is iolo best for?

  • Recommended for Windows users who want a proven PC tune-up kit that can also be paired with antivirus and other security products.

Iolo provides loads of different products, but one of their most popular products (System Mechanic) is a tool for optimizing your PC performance. This won’t necessarily help you combat a computer virus or avoid malware, but it’s a useful product for keeping your computer in tip-top shape.

We’re not as enthusiastic about the iolo security and antivirus features because they haven’t been thoroughly tested to see how well they work.

But from our testing, they seem to work fine from an everyday computer user’s perspective. In other words, they provide real-time antivirus protection and can scan your computer for potential threats. They’re just not proven compared to other antivirus services, such as Kaspersky antivirus or Avast.

iolo pros and cons

Pros
  • PC tune-up kit is useful and provides loads of features
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Unlimited home devices
  • New threats detected with artificial intelligence
Cons
  • The full antivirus scan is long
  • Too many confusing products
  • Antivirus not thoroughly tested by independent companies

iolo System Mechanic features

We used the System Mechanic Pro product on Windows 10 to test different iolo features. We found that the user interface was simple to navigate because it was easy for us to figure out how everything worked. This ease of use should be helpful for antivirus beginners getting the hang of the System Mechanic Pro app.

But we did find a few areas where certain settings and options might be more suited in the hands of an advanced PC user. Specifically, using the System Mechanic service to tweak PC performance can get a little in-depth if you venture into the LiveBoost area where you can optimize electricity consumption and prioritize CPU speed for different programs.

Overall, we had no serious issues with using iolo other than how long it took to do a full system antivirus scan, which was about 12 hours.

System Shield and Malware Killer

System Shield is iolo’s antivirus software that includes Malware Killer, an on-demand feature that helps you find and remove existing malware.

The primary purpose of System Shield is to provide real-time protection against malware, including viruses, spyware, and more. System Shield scans in the background to provide this protection, which didn’t seem to really affect our PC performance while the program was running.

Iolo's System Shield provides real-time malware protection

The antivirus provides malware protection by checking against constantly updated virus and spyware definitions to make sure your device is protected against known threats. There’s a recommended option in the System Mechanic Pro settings to keep these definitions automatically updated so your protection is up to date.

System Shield also employs artificial intelligence to combat threats that might not yet be included in the anti-malware definitions, which could include mutated programs and other threats. This type of protection is called heuristic-based detection and is one of many ways antivirus software works.

The antivirus option in System Mechanic Pro can be found on the AntiVirus tab. You have options for a full system scan, a quick scan, or individual scans for files and folders.

You can find iolo's antivirus settings in the AntiVirus tab and includes a full system scan, quick scan, or individual scans for files and folders.

Check out our antivirus experience to learn more about how this feature works.

Privacy Guardian

Privacy Guardian is a service that helps you stay private while using the internet. This includes deleting tracking cookies, disabling data-collecting systems, and blocking attempts to capture your digital fingerprint.

Iolo Privacy Guardian helps protect your privacy on the internet by deleting tracking cookies and disabling data collection tools.

Cookies are small text files that websites use to remember who you are. They’re typically used to enhance your online experience, but some cookies can be used to track your activities. Privacy Guardian can automatically clear cookies at specified intervals to help keep your online activity and personal information private.

You can buy Privacy Guardian as a standalone product for $27.95 for the first year. But it might be more worth it to buy System Mechanic Ultimate Defense for $63.94 for the first year, which includes Privacy Guardian and a whole slew of other features.

ByePass

ByePass is iolo’s password manager. Password managers are typically useful if they can help you remember loads of different passwords and help you generate new secure passwords.

Iolo System Mechanic Ultimate Defense comes with ByePass, a password manager.

ByePass provides both of these features, as well as the option to scan the internet for any of your passwords that might be leaked. If you do have a leaked password, you can immediately generate a new secure password with ByePass to replace it.

An interesting feature of ByePass that you might not see with every password manager is that it can encrypt your credit card information when shopping online. This can prevent online stores from accessing and storing your credit card information, which provides you with more financial privacy and security.

It’s also helpful that ByePass is available on most operating systems and different web browsers. This includes iOS and Android devices through the App Store and Google Play, as well as Windows, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and more.

You can buy ByePass as a standalone product for $15.95 for the first year or have it included with System Mechanic Ultimate Defense, which costs $63.94 for the first year.

Ransomware protection

Iolo doesn’t specifically advertise ransomware protection on any of its products, unlike other antivirus products such as AVG’s Ransomware Shield.

But even without this explicit mention, certain iolo features could help protect you against ransomware threats. Take the Search and Recover service, for example.

Iolo's Search and Recover could help protect against ransomware attacks since it attempts to recover data.

Search and Recover can help you recover data, including accidentally deleted files or personal data from damaged drives. So if a cybercriminal used ransomware to hold your files hostage or to delete them if you didn’t pay them money, you could theoretically use Search and Recover to recover your files.

Recovering deleted files is also a feature that’s available with the System Mechanic Pro and System Mechanic Ultimate Defense products. These products also provide real-time antivirus protection, which would hopefully prevent you from ever downloading a ransomware-related file in the first place.

System Mechanic

System Mechanic is iolo’s popular PC tune-up utility kit, which basically means it provides a suite of maintenance tools that can give your computer a performance boost. The end result is hopefully a computer that runs fast without any noticeable delays or hiccups.

We found that System Mechanic was easy to use and provided some useful features that could help optimize your system’s performance, including your internet speed. You can find all the features in the Performance tab of System Mechanic Pro.

We especially liked the Deepclean feature, which acts like a general PC cleaner and optimizes a variety of different spots on your PC that could use some attention every once in a while.

We really liked iolo's Deepclean feature that cleaned our PC and optimized certain areas.

Check out our System Mechanic experience to learn more about how it works.

Note that PC tune-up kits can only delay the inevitable, which is a computer eventually running slower and slower until it gets to the point where you need to upgrade certain components or entirely replace your device. But don’t let this take away from the potential usefulness of a PC tune-up kit in increasing your computer’s longevity.

DriveScrubber

DriveScrubber is an iolo feature and service that’s designed to completely wipe hard disks, permanently erasing all files on the drive. You might want to use DriveScrubber if you plan to sell or donate a hard drive, USB, or flash drive, or if you simply want to clear a drive and start using it again.

You can purchase the standalone product for $23.95 for the first year or you can get DriveScrubber included on System Mechanic Pro, as well as the Ultimate Defense version.

We found DriveScrubber in the Toolbox section of the Performance tab in System Mechanic Pro. It was easy to see where you could select an available drive to wipe (you can’t wipe a drive where Windows is installed) and use the one-click Wipe Selected Drive button.

Iolo's DriveScrubber is in the Toolbox section of the Performance tab. It allows you to select a drive and then wipe the contents.

iolo antivirus test results

We get antivirus test results by checking trusted third-party companies, including AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives. Unfortunately, iolo’s antivirus features haven’t recently been tested by these reputable companies.

This is a bit of a red flag because AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives generally test all major antivirus software, so you might immediately think something is wrong with the iolo antivirus features if they haven’t been tested.

At least, that’s how we felt. So we continued digging further into available test results and found that a few independent sites, including VPN Overview and Comparitech, had done some testing.

Malware was detected during the VPN Overview tests, but the tests weren’t completely thorough.[1] Only one adware file (out of seven possible malware and virus files) was found during the Comparitech tests.[2]

Going off these limited test results, iolo doesn’t appear to provide the best antivirus protection. But more thorough testing is needed to get more conclusive results.

Our iolo System Mechanic Pro experience

We tested iolo System Mechanic Pro using a desktop PC running Windows 10. We had no issues installing System Mechanic Pro, which took a few minutes or less.

System Mechanic experience

We jumped into optimizing our Windows PC after System Mechanic Pro was installed. We noticed ActiveCare was automatically turned on, which is a background process that scans your computer to help it maintain peak performance.

Within System Mechanic Pro, the Performance tab is where you can find the PC optimization features. We immediately ran a scan of our computer after installing the program and were greeted with a whopping 489 issues and a “CRITICAL” system status.

We ran a performance scan with iolo and it found 489 issues on our PC. Yikes!

The scan itself didn’t take too long to complete, probably around a few minutes. And we found that subsequent scans were even quicker. Most of the initial issues that were found had to do with Windows junk files and registry issues that System Mechanic wanted to clean up. We happily obliged to remove these issues and help speed up our PC.

Most of the issues iolo's performance scan found on our PC had to do with Windows junk files and registry issues.

Other options within the Performance tab include:

  • Deepclean
  • Toolbox
  • LiveBoost

We used the Deepclean option to see what it did and were pleasantly surprised to see it free up some memory using Memory Mechanic in addition to checking for other general PC cleanup areas (internet, Windows, registry, etc.) to optimize.

When we used the iolo Deepclean tool, it freed up quite a bit of memory using the Memory Mechanic option.

We skipped the LiveBoost feature because we already had settings in place for some of the available options and didn’t want another program interfering. But it seems like it could be a good option for optimizing your processing power and electricity consumption.

The AcceleWrite tool seems as though it could act as a tool to use before defragmentation on a hard drive. You typically want to defrag a hard drive to make it more organized and efficient, but AcceleWrite is designed to minimize random data writes, so your hard drives should already be more organized and efficient.

Iolo LiveBoost tool could be a good option for optimizing your processing power and electricity consumption.

We didn’t spend too much time in the Toolbox area, but this is where you can find options for recovering deleted files, completely destroying deleted files with the Incinerator tool, and wiping data from drives.

You can also remove unwanted programs from your Windows startup process by using the Startup Optimizer tool, which can make your startup time faster.

You can also find a few optimization options to see which tasks are hogging your PC memory and how you can reduce your Windows startup time.

The Toolbox is where iolo has its file recovery tools, Startup Optimizer, and a few other optimization tools.

Keep in mind that although it felt nice to go through many recommended optimizations with System Mechanic, we’re not sure we actually noticed any improvements with our computer speed.

Our PC is still relatively new and we haven’t noticed it slowing down much. But we recommend you clean your Windows PC regularly with tools such as System Mechanic so you can help avoid any potential performance issues.

Antivirus experience

We tested both the full and quick scans within the “AntiVirus” tab in System Mechanic Pro.

The full system scan took just about 12 hours to complete. We didn’t expect it to take that long (maybe a few hours, maximum) and we eventually just walked away and left it running. In comparison, a Norton 360 antivirus full scan could take around one to two hours or less.

The full scan did end up finding a few potentially dangerous files that we ended up removing. But then we were too afraid to run a full scan again because of how long it took the first time. Twelve hours is a bit long even if you’re doing it overnight.

It should be noted that we didn’t experience any issues with our computer performance while running the full system scan. It was barely noticeable compared with our dozens of Chrome tabs gnawing away at the computer memory.

Our iolo full antivirus scan didn't slow down our computer, but it took 12 hours to complete.

The quick scan took a few minutes or less to complete. But it scanned far fewer items (1,844) compared with the full scan (994,816).

iolo compatibility

We tested iolo System Mechanic Pro, which is available on these Windows versions:

  • Windows 11
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7

You can also find a few iolo products on mobile apps. This includes iolo ByePass, a password management app that’s available for iOS devices (Mac, iPhone, and iPad) on the App Store and Android devices on Google Play. The iolo VPN app is available for Android devices on Google Play.

iolo customer support

Iolo has a support page where you can research solutions to different problems involving iolo products. You can also visit one of iolo’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube for updates and general information. The Facebook channel seems to be used most often.

Phone support is available 24/7 at 801-523-6763. Live chat is also available 24/7 and can be accessed from the main iolo site by clicking the chat option in the corner of any page.

Live chat support

We initiated a live chat session on the iolo website by clicking the live chat button in the bottom right corner while using a Chrome browser. We were quickly put into a session with Adam Carter, a customer support agent.

We don’t typically expect much out of general customer service representatives at tech or cybersecurity companies because they don’t tend to have in-depth knowledge about the products at their company. They can often read from a list of features or know the general gist of how something works, but they might not know specific details or have any technical knowledge.

This is exactly what we found with iolo customer support after chatting with Adam. We wanted to know about the specific features included with a few different products, and it ended up getting a bit confusing, which is how we felt looking at the different products on the website anyway.

After abandoning that line of questioning, we moved on to questions about how iolo protects against ransomware. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive any useful responses. We wanted to ask this because we couldn’t find any specific references in iolo product features about ransomware protection.

Our iolo support agent, Adam, didn't seem to have any info about the antivirus software.

Adam admitted to not having the technical know-how to answer our questions, so we simply asked how to pronounce “iolo.” (It’s eye-oh-low, by the way. Not “YOLO.”)

We didn’t really receive any useful information during our live chat experience, but it was generally easy to chat with Adam and the response times were good. We would have tried speaking with iolo premium technical support, but it costs $99 to $240 per year.

iolo antivirus cost

Iolo offers loads of different products and services that all come with their own price tags, which is about $20 to $60 per year depending on the product you choose. That’s about in line with what you can expect from other antivirus products, at least for the first year of service.

It’s worth going for the more expensive products if they have the features you’re looking for. This is because buying all the different services separately will typically cost more.

We like that you can pick and choose specific services or select a product that provides multiple features. For example, you might purchase Malware Killer if you specifically want to find and remove existing malware on your computer.

But you might go for System Mechanic Ultimate Defense if you want real-time antivirus protection, file recovery, PC tune-up tools, and more in one package.

And it’s helpful that iolo employs a Whole Home License policy for its products that lets you pay for one product and use it on as many compatible devices as you want within your home. The only guideline being that none of the devices can be used for business purposes.


This can help you save money from having to buy another license for more devices, which is a common pricing strategy for antivirus services. Of course, that doesn’t matter if you only need antivirus protection on a few devices anyway.

iolo plans and prices

Malware Killer System Shield AntiVirus & AntiSpyware System Mechanic Ultimate Defense
Price per year $19.95/yr $31.95/yr $63.94/yr
# devices supported Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Manual and auto scan
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
File recovery
Password manager
Ad blocker
Performance optimization tools
File shredder
Details Learn More Learn More Learn More
Prices as of 12/12/2022.

Iolo provides a 30-day money-back guarantee for its antivirus software and other related products and services. The refund is for the original purchase price minus a 15% processing fee and any other applicable taxes or fees. This policy isn’t as good as policies from other antivirus companies that give all your money back for eligible refunds.

iolo FAQs


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Can you trust iolo?

Iolo antivirus features haven’t recently been thoroughly tested by independent parties, so it’s slightly up in the air whether it’s a good service. But the PC tune-up kit features of iolo System Mechanic have been used extensively and provide a decent solution for keeping your computer running smoothly.


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Is iolo a Chinese company?

Iolo is headquartered in Pasadena, California and owned by RealDefense, LLC, which is also headquartered in Pasadena, California. Iolo products are available in 33 countries and 11 different languages. They’re used by millions of people worldwide and sold at retailers, including Best Buy, Office Depot, and Amazon.


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Is iolo System Mechanic an antivirus?

Iolo System Mechanic is a PC tune-up kit that provides features to keep your computer running smooth and fast. 

System Mechanic Pro and System Mechanic Ultimate Defense are upgraded versions that also provide antivirus features on top of the PC tune-up kit. The antivirus features include real-time protection and offer multiple scan options, such as quick and full scans.


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How much does iolo cost?

Depending on the product, iolo varies in price from $11.95 to $63.94 for the first year of service. 

If you want multiple services or features, you’ll typically save money by buying one of the bundled iolo products rather than purchasing products separately. For example, System Mechanic Ultimate Defense comes with PC optimization, antivirus, privacy protection, and more.


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Does System Mechanic remove malware?

The base and free versions of System Mechanic don’t remove malware and instead focus on keeping your PC running fast. System Mechanic Pro and System Mechanic Ultimate Defense are upgraded versions with more features, including malware removal and real-time antivirus protection.

Bottom line: Is iolo a good antivirus?

Iolo seems to be a good antivirus program for everyday use, but more testing needs to be done to see whether it can compete with other antivirus services. We didn’t especially love how long the full antivirus scan took, but it did find a few potential threats that weren’t necessarily false alarms.

We found iolo was easy to use overall, but also massively confusing from the perspective of a potential buyer. There were simply too many products to choose from on the iolo website, and it wasn’t super clear what the differentiating features between products actually did.

If you’re looking for a PC tune-up kit that can also provide some security features, iolo could be a good fit for you. System Mechanic’s PC optimization features work well enough and the antivirus features seem fine, but more extensive testing is required.

For more antivirus options, check out our list of the best antivirus software.

Learn More
On Iolo's website

  • The PC tune-up kit is useful and provides loads of features
  • New threats detected with artificial intelligence
  • Antivirus not thoroughly tested by independent companies

Author Details
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.

Citations

[1] System Mechanic Ultimate Defense Review: Fine But Not Ideal

[2] iolo Antivirus Review