Saturday, 25 April 2015

YAC 6.0

YAC 6.0

Clean up, tune up and protect your PC from malware with YAC. Roland Waddilove tests this popular tool

YAC stands for Yet Another Cleaner, and it's one of many clean-up and tune-up utilities for Windows PCs. YAC is different to rivals, though, because when the free tool is downloaded and installed, there's an option to include YAC Anti-Malware Premium. This costs $29.99 for three PCs, which works out at around £7 per PC.

The clean-up tools included in YAC include the usual system and software junk files that build up on the disk drive and the settings in the registry. There are several levels of registry cleaning, depending on how aggressive and risky you want to be, such as 'Cleanable registry' versus 'Cleanable registry with caution'.

Privacy clean-up functions enable you to erase your web browsing history and various Windows and commonly used applications histories. It looks for concealed services, potentially unwanted programs and registry left-overs, and it scans for malicious plug-ins and potentially unwanted ones. It automatically works with Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. Some suggestions were wrong, and useful browser extensions like LastPass could be removed if you did not check the scan results and modify them before cleaning. It presents a list of categories of items rather than individual ones, so you can select or deselect categories like the Windows Run box, Windows Media Player, Flash cookies and so on.

The Speedup module optimises the system by analysing the programs and services that run on start-up, and it makes a few tweaks to the system such as disabling error reporting, debugging, autoplay and a few more. I wasn't completely happy with every suggested tweak, but everything is presented as tick boxes to enable you to choose what to optimise.

It is not clear how far the malware protection extends, and it's hard to tell whether it's a complete replacement for regular security software or just an addition. It seemed to work okay alongside my free antivirus software. YAC Premium includes real-time protection that can be turned on or off, and this is mostly related to web browser functions. For example, it automatically detects when you download a file, no matter where you save it to, and scans it for malware. A message pops up stating whether it's safe or not. It can detect malicious websites, and it prevents the browser going there by displaying a warning that malware lies ahead, so you can avoid it and go elsewhere.

The Anti-Malware module scans the disk for malware like adware, spyware, viruses and so on. There's a quick scan, a very quick scan and a custom one that enables you to select any disk or folder. Any malware discovered is listed and can be selected and removed. Scans can be scheduled too. Each web browser's home page can be locked, the search engine can be locked, and malicious plug-ins are blocked.

This is a clean-up utility with useful extras like security, an uninstaller, ad blocker and browser protection, but more information about the extent of the security and its effectiveness is needed before I would trust it on its own without other security software. As with other cleaners, YAC can clean too much, so you do need to take care. Used with caution, it is good. Roland Waddilove

A useful clean-up tool that has malware protection too.