PC Tools (company)

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PC Tools
Founded25 February 2003; 19 years ago (2003-02-25) (as WinGuides.com)
Number of locations
United States
United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Dave Cole
(Vice President and General Manager)
Number of employees

PC Tools (founded in 2003),[1] formerly known as WinGuides.com,[2] was a software company acquired by Symantec in 2008; the new owner eventually discontinued the PC Tools name. Company headquarters were in Australia, with offices in Luxembourg, the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Ukraine. The company had previously developed and distributed security and optimization software for the Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows platforms.


By 29 November 2006 software owned by PC Tools had been downloaded over 125 million times.[3]

Name Version Last Release Date Notes
Browser Defender 12 May 2011 [4]
PC Tools Antivirus 9 Unavailable [5]
PC Tools Desktop Maestro 16 November 2009 [6]
PC Tools File Recover 9 31 October 2011 [7]
PC Tools iAntiVirus 1.36 28 August 2009 [8]
PC Tools Internet Security 9 Unavailable [9]
PC Tools Performance Toolkit 2 31 October 2011 [10]
PC Tools Privacy Guardian 4.5 Unavailable [11]
PC Tools Registry Mechanic 11 31 October 2011 [12]
PC Tools Simple Backup 3 Unavailable [13]
PC Tools Spyware Doctor 9 Unavailable [14]
PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus 9 Unavailable [15]
Miscellaneous Products
Name Notes
PC Tools Browser Explorer [16]
Startup Explorer [17]
ThreatExpert [18]

PC Tools Browser Defender[edit]

PC Tools Browser Defender,[4] also called Browser Defender for short, is a browser toolbar for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox browsers on Windows based computers. Browser Defender allows for safe web surfing.

PC Tools iAntiVirus[edit]

iAntivirus was updated in 2012 and rebranded under Symantec's Norton brand.

PC Tools iAntiVirus is free antivirus software for Intel based Apple Macintosh computers running Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) and Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) initially released in June 2008, used to detect and remove malware, spyware and malicious exploits, using both signature-based and heuristic detection.

iAntiVirus was criticized because it only scans for Macintosh viruses, ignoring Windows and Linux viruses. It was praised for its speed and low usage of system resources.[19][20][21][22]

PC Tools Internet Security[edit]

PC Tools Internet Security,[9] was the combination of the Spyware Doctor product the Firewall product and the Anti Spam product. It provided the functionality of all three stand alone products into a single seamless product. Symantec is no longer offering this product as of 18 May 2013. It was payware designed for Windows 8 (32-/64-bit), Windows 7 (32-/64-bit), Windows Vista (32-/64-bit) and Windows XP (32-bit).

PC Tools Registry Mechanic[edit]

PC Tools Registry Mechanic,[12] the first software PC Tools released,[23] scanned the Windows registry to find errors. Version 11, released on 31 October 2011, is the last one.

PC Tools Spyware Doctor[edit]

Screenshot of PC Tools Spyware Doctor

PC Tools Spyware Doctor,[14] is anti-malware software. Spyware Doctor detects malware based on indicators of compromise using its spider technology.[24] The most recent version of Spyware Doctor is 9, which was released on 31 October 2011. Symantec is no longer offering this product as of 18 May 2013.

PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus[edit]

Screenshot of PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus

PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus[15] has the same features as Spyware Doctor, with added anti-virus capabilities.[25] Symantec has not sold this since 2013; v9 is the last one available.


The ThreatExpert[18] Web site says that it is an advanced automated threat analysis system (initialized ATAS) built to analyze and report the actions of malware in a fully automated mode.[26] As of March 2015 the latest version was beta version of 1 March 2008. There have been no updates since March 2008, and the Web site seems inactive.

Acquisition by Symantec[edit]

On 18 August 2008, Symantec announced the signing of an agreement to acquire PC Tools such that PC Tools would maintain separate operations.[27] The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Symantec acquired PC Tools for US$262,000,000 on 6 October 2008.[28]

Symantec withdrew the entire PC Tools security portfolio, comprising PC Tools Internet Security, Spyware Doctor and Spyware Doctor with Antivirus, on 18 May 2013;[29] PC Tools was not sold and could not be renewed from 4 December 2013. Symantec said that this would not affect PC Tools Utilities products.


Spyware Doctor received the PC World Best Buy award in the October 2007 issue of the magazine saying "PC Tools' Spyware Doctor 5.0 was the winner, outperforming the competition at detecting and removing our test set of adware and spyware samples."[30]

Spyware Doctor has received several Editors' Choice awards from PC Magazine,[31] including one for Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus 5.5 in 2008.[32] The product has also received numerous other awards from around the globe.

Not all reviews have been positive and early versions of Spyware Doctor 5.0, which the company rewrote from scratch, received some negative commentary.[33] CNET's Download.com reviews, justifies the 3-star rating by saying, "in our trial scans, Spyware Doctor repeatedly flagged several dozen harmless cookies as potential threats, more than any other antispyware product we tested. We were also unable to learn more about each threat or why Spyware Doctor flagged each."


Symantec was unsuccessfully sued by a Washington resident for running fake scans to get people to pay for subscriptions to PC Tools's Registry Mechanic, Performance Toolkit, and Norton Utilities[34] The lawsuit claims the company intentionally ran the fake scans and the results were not real.[35]


  1. ^ "PC TOOLS RESEARCH PTY LTD". Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  2. ^ "PC Tools Guides for Windows". PC Tools. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  3. ^ "PC Tools' software passes the 125 million download threshold". PC Tools. Archived from the original on 5 November 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Browser Defender™". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  5. ^ "PC Tools™ AntiVirus Free". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Release of Desktop Maestro v3.1.0.232". PC Tools. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  7. ^ "PC Tools™ File Recover". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  8. ^ "PC Tools iAntiVirus". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  9. ^ a b "PC Tools™ Internet Security". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  10. ^ "PC Tools™ Performance Toolkit". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  11. ^ "PC Tools™ Privacy Guardian Internet Privacy Software". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  12. ^ a b "PC Tools Registry Mechanic™". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  13. ^ "PC Tools™ Simple Backup™ Automatic Backup Software". PC Tools. Archived from the original on 14 August 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  14. ^ a b "PC Tools Spyware Doctor™ AntiSpyware Software". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  15. ^ a b "PC Tools Spyware Doctor™ with AntiVirus". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  16. ^ "PC Tools Browser Explorer". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Startup Explorer". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  18. ^ a b "ThreatExpert". PC Tools. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  19. ^ iAntiVirus 1.0 Antivirus & Security Software Review | Macworld
  20. ^ PC Tools iAntiVirus review from TechRadar UK's expert reviews of Anti malware software
  21. ^ "iAntiVirus for Mac (Free) – Worth Using? » TipsFor.us". Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  22. ^ iAntiVirus is lean, simple antimalware protection for Macs | TechBlog | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
  23. ^ "Registry Mechanic Released". PC Tools. Archived from the original on 5 November 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  24. ^ "News".
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "ThreatExpert: Introduction". ThreatExpert. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  27. ^ "Symantec to Acquire PC Tools". Symantec. Archived from the original on 2 October 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  28. ^ "SEC Form 10-K, Symantec Corp, period: April 3, 2009, p. 82" (PDF). Symantec. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  29. ^ "Official Site | Norton™ - Antivirus & Anti-Malware Software".
  30. ^ Naraine, Ryan. "PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5.0 Review", PC World, 21 August 2007
  31. ^ Rubenking, Neil. "Weeding out the spys - Editors' Choice: Spyware Doctor 3.2", PC Magazine, 19 June 2005
  32. ^ Rubenking, Neil. "Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus 5.5 - Editors' Choice Review", PC Magazine, 22 January 2008
  33. ^ Vamosi, Robert. "Nettlesome glitches sink Spyware Doctor 5", CNN, 29 March 2007
  34. ^ Yin, Sara (12 January 2012). "Symantec Sued for Scareware Tactics". PC Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  35. ^ Greenberg, Andy (11 January 2012). "Lawsuit Claims Symantec "Scareware" Warns Of Fake Threats To Sell Upgrades". Forbes. Retrieved 22 January 2012.

External links[edit]