PC Health Check 2.0: not as useful as it looks

While F-Secure’s Health Check 2.0 looks useful, it is nothing to get excited about.

Health Check is a Java program. It works with a browser to check a computer’s security then reports on risks.

On the plus side Health Check is free, quick and simple to use. The code loads directly from F-Secure’s Health Check web page and after the fuss of accepting terms and conditions it downloads in seconds.

Basic PC health check

Once leaded the software steps through four wizard stages. The first is automatic. It checks you have up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall.

The ‘next’ button moves things to stage two which investigates back-up. Stage three checks key programs are up-to-date. The last stage is a summary screen linking to solutions to problems.

Even if everything is perfect, which it isn’t, PC Health Check 2.0 is of limited use.

Alternatives do the same job either as well or better. Secunia offers a free Online Software Inspector and the more complete downloadable Secunia Personal Software Inspector.

Sadly Health Check 2.0 is mainly a crude promotional device for F-Secure’s paid products.

Failed to find back-up

My computer failed the second stage back-up test. Health Check told me it didn’t find a back-up. This is wrong. There are three back-up applications on my computer. I back up regularly to an external disk and to a server.

When I clicked on the Health Check 2.0 ‘solve’ button to troubleshoot the ‘problem’ found by the software it told me I could protect my “valuable content” with F-Secure Online Backup. And gave a link to the F-Secure store.

I live in New Zealand. My computer has almost a terabyte of data. I’m theoretically on an unlimited broadband plan, but with shaped bandwidth for almost the entire working day. In other words, online back-up isn’t realistic. And yet PC Health Check tells me it is.

If the application gets this advice wrong – what use is the rest of its information?

When the program finishes, there’s the opportunity to register an email address with F-Secure. Now why would I want to do that?

For an alternative view see F-Secure refreshes online PC Health Check by Stephen Withers at iTWire. His found other shortcomings, but reached a similar conclusion.

One thought on “PC Health Check 2.0: not as useful as it looks

  1. Pingback: Computer security guide: What are the main threats? at Bill Bennett

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