Detailed Expert Review
PC Matic is not your typical antivirus software. Instead of using a blacklist of known malware like most antiviruses do, PC Matic’s antivirus scanner has a “whitelist” of all known legitimate programs, and it blocks any program that’s not on the whitelist.
PC Matic also includes a real-time protection feature — which, a little annoyingly, is optional.
I was curious whether or not PC Matic’s unconventional approach to malware detection would really work, so I tested PC Matic against a wide range of malware, including viruses, trojans, and ransomware. I also assessed its additional features, ease of use, and overall value.
During my tests, PC Matic’s malware detection rate was 100% — so while that’s good, it also blocked a lot of completely legitimate programs.
Another issue is that PC Matic doesn’t have many of the additional internet security features offered by competing brands, such as a VPN (a virtual private network), a password manager, or parental controls — all of which are included in fuller antivirus suites like Norton 360 and McAfee Total Protection.
However, I like PC Matic’s PC optimization tools that check for driver updates, remove junk files, defragment hard disks, and do a lot of other system cleanup tasks.
I also like how easy it is to use PC Matic’s mobile app (Android only) — although it may be a little too basic for advanced users. But I’m a bit disappointed that PC Matic doesn’t yet have a mobile app for iOS.
Honestly, I don’t think PC Matic can compete with the best antivirus programs in 2020. But it is a decent, low-cost antivirus that provides good protection against malware.
PC Matic Security Features
PC Matic’s malware scanner uses whitelisting to block malicious programs. This means that PC Matic has a database of known “good” programs and blocks the programs that aren’t on that database.
If a certain program isn’t on PC Matic’s list, that program is automatically sent to the company’s testing team. If the program proves to be safe, it ends up on this whitelist. And if a user doesn’t want to wait until PC Matic’s team tests the program, they can manually whitelist it themselves.
PC Matic says that blacklisting programs isn’t effective because hackers constantly come up with new threats. So, the logic is that it’s easier to keep track of good programs than it is to try to “keep up” with new malware.
This all sounds good, but there are two problems with this approach:
1. PC Matic regularly blocks valid programs. If a program is not on its whitelist, PC Matic will block it — regardless of whether it’s an actual threat or not. Sure, the PC Matic team looks into unknown programs and users can whitelist programs, but getting a lot of false positives can be annoying.
2. PC Matic likes to say that other antiviruses only use blacklists to prevent malware. Yeah, antivirus programs use blacklists, but they also use other advanced methods to detect malicious behavior. Premium antiviruses like Norton and BullGuard use malware databases, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to identify and block emerging and advanced threats.
PC Matic also has a feature that detects malicious scripting activity — this is malware that doesn’t need to be downloaded (unlike a .exe file which does need to be downloaded). And PC Matic provides some protection against brute force attacks — this is when a hacker tries to discover user logins and passwords by guessing them.
PC Matic’s approach to malware detection isn’t bad — but it’s not great either. I’d like to see PC Matic come up with a more effective way to separate safe, unknown programs from dangerous, unknown threats. However, I agree with PC Matic that it’s better for an antivirus program to show false positives than false negatives. And I can’t say that PC Matic’s approach doesn’t work — after all, PC Matic was excellent at blocking all types of malware during my tests.
PC Matic Comprehensive System Scan
PC Matic scans devices for a wide range of problems. It looks for malware, junk files, driver updates, broadband quality, and a lot of other things that can harm or slow down your device.
When testing PC Matic, I first downloaded the free version and ran a free scan. I expected it to be over in a couple of hours, but after PC Matic had been scanning for issues on my PC for more than 20 hours, I finally gave up and stopped the scan.
I then tested the premium version of PC Matic. I ran the scan, and it was completed in around two minutes, which was very strange. When I looked at the report, I saw that PC Matic actually didn’t perform malware scanning.
I found this very unusual. First of all, the default scan settings include malware scanning — and PC Matic says it “HIGHLY” recommends keeping malware scanning checked.
Second, I appreciate that PC Matic scanned my computer for a wide range of issues. But when I’m testing an antivirus software, I’m first and foremost interested in its ability to detect and remove malware from my device… not anything else.
So, I gave PC Matic’s scan another try. The second scan was also finished very quickly (in 3 minutes), but the report included malware scanning this time.
One interesting thing was that PC Matic found one “virus” on my computer — Lavasoft Web Companion. Lavasoft Web Companion is a potentially unwanted app (PUA) that is often installed on a device together with another software. I don’t remember ever installing it, so it’s nice that PC Matic caught it.
However, as annoying it may be to discover that you unintentionally or unknowingly installed an app, Lavasoft Web Companion is not a malicious program, so I think PC Matic shouldn’t categorize this program as a “virus” — as it may confuse some users.
PC Matic also has a simple-to-use scan scheduler. When the first system check-up is completed, you can schedule a scan for any device registered under your account.
To schedule a scan for all my devices, I simply had to set a time and date and go through the default options to see if I wanted to make any changes (schedule a full scan instead of a quick scan, disable automatic driver updates, etc.). I could also select to receive my scan results via email — which is pretty useful as I like to run scans on my home PC and leave to run errands.
Overall, PC Matic’s scan is decent. I was unable to complete the free scan, so I can’t recommend the free version of PC Matic. Also, while its whitelisting strategy is okay, I’d like to see PC Matic include more advanced malware-fighting technology, like Norton and McAfee do.
However, using the premium version of PC Matic, I found it very easy to scan my computer and schedule both individual and group scans, and I thought that the detailed scan reports were pretty useful once I was more familiar with them.
PC Matic Report & Cleanup
After completing a scan, PC Matic delivers a detailed, color-coded report with explanations and recommendations.
The report is packed with information, and while some users may find it quite useful, I honestly felt pretty overwhelmed. After thoroughly inspecting the dashboard instructions, I understood what every color represented (for instance, red is for issues that require immediate action, gray is for skipped scans, and dark blue is a non-essential tweak). But, I think that the report should be much clearer and easier to understand.
Once I inspected my report, I proceeded to fix the issues that PC Matic found. I could choose whether I wanted to fix all the problems or skip some of them.
While it’s recommended to resolve all the detected issues, I had to uncheck one option — disk defragmentation — because I have an SSD disk, and experts recommend SSD disk users to not use defragmentation. I was a bit surprised that PC Matic even offered me this option because it recognized that I had an SSD disk during the scan. Still, I like that I had the choice to disable this option.
PC Matic resolved all the issues in just a couple of minutes and advised me to restart my computer and do another scan to make sure there were no more problems. I followed the instructions, and PC Matic didn’t find any new issues during the rescan.
I like that PC Matic’s report is detailed, but I think it could be easier to understand and better organized. However, the cleanup process is quick and simple, and I like that users can select whether they want to fix all the problems or just some of them.
PC Matic does real-time malware protection differently. Unlike most antiviruses which have real-time protection already included, SuperShield is an additional feature (that comes with all paid PC Matic licenses) that needs to be downloaded separately.
SuperShield uses PC Matic’s “global whitelist” — all the things PC Matic thinks is legitimate — to recognize and stop malware from infecting devices.
You can turn on SuperShield at the end of PC Matic’s installation process, or you can enable it at a later time. However, keep in mind that you can’t use SuperShield until you perform at least one system scan.
To make sure SuperShield is running on your computer, you should check your system tray. If the SuperShield icon is green, you are protected. If the icon is yellow, SuperShield is updating. And if the icon is red, SuperShield isn’t working.
SuperShield is both easy to use and understand. I could access the SuperShield report from my dashboard, which showed all programs and apps that were running or trying to run on my device. A green circle next to an entry means it’s a good program. Yellow circles on the report indicate unknown programs. And red circles indicate unknown or malicious programs that were blocked.
I wanted to see how SuperShield reacted to malware, so I tried to test it against some ransomware. As soon as I downloaded the ransomware simulator, SuperShield blocked the software. I then whitelisted the ransomware simulator and ran it on my device, but SuperShield was super persistent and wouldn’t even let it execute, which is a very good thing!
I also placed other malware on my PC, including viruses and trojans, and SuperShield blocked each one. Overall, SuperShield does a pretty good job at stopping malware from entering into a system.
While testing SuperShield, it also blocked legitimate programs. However, I could whitelist these programs that I knew were safe. But keep in mind that manually whitelisting programs is ONLY recommended if you’re 100% certain that they are legitimate. If you’re not absolutely certain that a blocked program is good, you should wait for the PC Matic team to inspect it (unknown programs are automatically sent to the PC Matic team for inspection, and it takes the PC Matic team a couple of hours to analyze unknown programs and determine whether they are safe or dangerous).
In general, I think it’s really weird that real-time protection is optional. That said, SuperShield was simple to use and it prevented malware from executing on my device every time I tried. But it also prevents safe and unknown programs from running, too, which is a little bit annoying. But the PC Matic team is quick to analyze unknown programs, and users can manually whitelist programs that are known to be safe. While it’s not my favorite “real-time” malware protection tool, I still think PC Matic’s SuperShield is a decent option.
PC Matic blocks all unknown programs — regardless of whether or not they’re safe or malicious. But users can whitelist “unknown” programs that they know are safe.
If PC Matic blocks a program during a system scan, you can easily whitelist it from within the dashboard. PC Matic shows a list of blocked programs, and all you have to do is check the whitelist box next to the program you want to unblock.
If PC Matic flags a file as unsafe but you still want to use it, you can use the Quarantine tool to restore it. All you have to do is open the Options tab on the dashboard, select Quarantine, select the item you want to restore, and click Restore.
If you want to whitelist a program that SuperShield blocked, then this is where things get a bit complicated.
To whitelist a program that SuperShield blocked, I had to:
- Click on the SuperShield icon in the system tray.
- Hover over Protection Level > Block Notification Method.
- Select Prompt for Override (advanced).
- Open the program I wanted to whitelist.
- A window appeared and I selected Always Allow.
After I whitelisted a program, I had to return SuperShield’s settings to normal (the default option is Display Only — Recommended) to prevent it from whitelisting ALL blocked programs in the future — including dangerous ones like malware.
Whitelisting programs that are blocked during a system scan is very simple, but I’d like to see an easier solution for whitelisting programs from within SuperShield. However, I think it’s great that users don’t have to wait for PC Matic to whitelist programs that are legitimate — just don’t forget to return SuperShield’s setting to default when you’re done manually whitelisting programs!
PC Matic Plans and Pricing
PC Matic offers a free plan, a premium plan, and a lifetime plan.
If you’re looking for a free antivirus, there are many better free antiviruses out there, both for Windows and Mac computers. PC Matic’s free plan only lets you scan your device, but if you want to take any action based on the report, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan.
PC Matic’s premium plan is one of the most affordable antivirus programs on the market. While it’s pretty basic when compared to top brands like Norton or TotalAV, it’s a decent option for antivirus users who don’t need a lot of extra internet security features.
The best value plan is PC Matic Lifetime — which gives you unlimited access to PC Matic’s features with unlimited updates, all for a single payment. No other antivirus offers a lifetime subscription, so PC Matic Lifetime is an excellent deal — and it’s pretty reasonably priced, too.
PC Matic Home Security Free — Not Recommended
PC Matic’s free plan includes:
- Malware scanning (not real-time protection).
- Coverage for up to 3 devices.
- Scan scheduling.
PC Matic Home Security Free is very limited in terms of functionality. You can scan your devices for malware, but that’s pretty much it. To resolve issues from the report and access other features, you need to upgrade to the premium version. It also doesn’t include real-time scanning.
I think PC Matic’s free version is pretty disappointing. The free scan ran for more than 20 hours on my computer, and it seemed like it was going to go on forever, so I had to force-stop it.
And every time I clicked on the Options tab to access PC Matic’s settings, I got a message telling me to consider upgrading to the paid versions. I got the same message every time I wanted to close the program, too.
I also found the free version’s desktop app to be really buggy. When I wanted to upgrade to the premium version from the app, I kept getting error messages.
So, I can’t recommend PC Matic Home Security Free as the best free antivirus. If you’re looking for free antivirus software, there are much better options than PC Matic Home Security Free, like Avira and Panda. But if you only need a basic malware scanner, PC Matic’s free plan is not a bad choice.
PC Matic Home Security — Best Plan for Most Users
PC Matic’s premium plan has two pricing options — annual and lifetime — and it includes:
- Coverage for up to 5 devices.
- Real-time malware protection.
- PC optimization and maintenance.
- Scan scheduling for one or all devices.
- Ad blocker.
If you want to protect more devices, you can get a license that covers up to 10, 15, or 20 users, but it’ll cost extra.
Optional add-ons include PC Magnum, a program that permanently deletes sensitive information from devices and browsers. PC Magnum also includes dark web monitoring and a PC Matic installation CD. PC Magnum can also be upgraded to include credit monitoring for individuals and families and identity theft insurance of up to $1 million.
PC Matic is cheaper than many other antivirus programs, but it doesn’t include a lot of features found in premium competitors. For example, Norton 360 comes with a VPN, dark web monitoring, a password manager, cloud storage, and more — this is a much better value.
PC Matic’s Lifetime subscription is a great value, but only if you’re sure PC Matic is the right antivirus for you. If you’re interested, you can try out PC Matic’s premium features using the company’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
PC Matic Ease of Use and Setup
PC Matic is super easy to use — it has a very intuitive interface and all of its features are easy to access and understand.
The best part is that PC Matic does all the work for you — you don’t have to use advanced features or deal with complicated settings to be protected against malware.
Because of this, PC Matic is a particularly good choice for beginners and non-tech-savvy users who are looking for a minimalistic, install-and-forget antivirus.
Installing and setting up PC Matic was simple for me. After I purchased PC Matic Home Security, I was redirected to the Getting Started page on the official website. There, I could go through tutorials, how-to-videos, and FAQs before installing the software.
Once I clicked on the Install PC Matic button, I was asked to choose my operating system. Even though “PC” is in the name, PC Matic works on Windows, Android, and Mac.
After choosing “Windows”, all I had to do was click on the Download button, confirm I had removed all other antivirus software from my system, and follow the installation instructions. When the installation was complete, I was prompted to launch PC Matic and log into my account. And that was it — installation complete!
All I had to do next was run a scan and enable SuperShield — which also didn’t take long and was just as easy (even though I didn’t like that I had to install a separate feature for real-time protection).
Using most of PC Matic’s features was very easy for me. I had no trouble running antivirus scans, scheduling scans, or adding safe programs to the whitelist. However, I did find that using some of SuperShield’s features was a little bit tricky.
When I wanted to whitelist a program from within SuperShield for the first time, I did have to look on PC Matic’s website to find a tutorial. Thankfully, PC Matic has a great selection of FAQs and guides that clearly showed me how to whitelist programs that I use regularly.
Overall, PC Matic is easy to set up and use — I just had to make a purchase, download the program from the official site, and install it on my computer. And I like that there are tons of step-by-step guides and videos on the site that provide detailed instructions on installing the program and dealing with any potential issues.
PC Matic Mobile App
PC Matic’s mobile app is only available for Android.
Installing the app is simple. All I had to do was download the app from Google Play Store and log into my PC Matic account.
PC Matic’s mobile app is pretty basic. I had two options:
- Scan all of my applications.
- Scan all of my files.
I tested both options, and both scans were finished in less than 10 seconds. The report only showed how many applications and files were scanned and how many infections were detected.
I then accessed the app’s menu, located in the upper right-hand corner. From the menu, I could access the app’s settings, scan history, web portal, and files that couldn’t be removed.
In the app’s settings, I could select to view my whitelisted apps and to schedule a scan. I could also choose to update the software only when I’m connected to a Wi-Fi network.
While the app doesn’t have many options, it works great. It’s not my favorite antivirus app for Android, I think there are many better options — including Norton and Avira, which both cover Android and iOS devices. That said, I found it really easy to access and understand all of PC Matic’s mobile features, and performing and scheduling scans was very simple.
PC Matic Customer Support
PC Matic doesn’t have phone support or a human live chat, but they do have a live chat bot, email support, a wide range of user tutorials, and a user forum.
The live chat bot on the official website is useful only if you have basic questions about PC Matic, like how to add PC Matic to a new device or how to renew the PC Matic license.
For any advanced questions, you need to send an email to PC Matic’s technical support team. I submitted a question using the email request form on the official site and got an automated email saying that they’ll get back to me as soon as possible. I received an answer in less than half an hour!
I was honestly impressed with PC Matic’s customer support — the answer I received was very detailed and easy to understand, and the support representative followed up with an email asking if I’d resolved the issue.
I also contacted PC Matic’s customer support to request a refund. Although the site says that you have to contact the company via phone, I sent them an email and they again got back to me in just 30 minutes, confirming my request and informing me that I could expect a refund in 5-7 days. And indeed, I received my refund exactly as promised.
PC Matic also has a ton of resources on their site, including:
- User guides that explain how PC Matic works.
- How-to-videos that show how to use PC Matic.
- FAQs about all PC Matic products.
- Instructions on how to recognize and prevent tech support scams.
I really like the user guides and how-to-videos. They’re very helpful when you’re getting started with PC Matic, or if you have any trouble setting up and using the software.
PC Matic also has a forum with a fairly active user community. While some topics have been inactive for months, I found the forum pretty helpful. There’s tons of advice on the forum that can help you make the most out of PC Matic, and there are plenty of active users who do their best to answer new questions.
Overall, PC Matic’s customer support is really good. There’s no live chat or phone support, but the live chat bot is helpful for basic questions, and the email support is quick to respond and provides detailed answers. Plus, there’s a forum where you can talk with other PC Matic users and solve potential problems.
Final Verdict: Is PC Matic Any Good?
PC Matic is a decent antivirus program. Its whitelist-based malware scanner performed well in my tests, and its real-time scanner blocked all of the malware I tried to execute.
However, during my tests, PC Matic also blocked a lot of legitimate programs simply because they weren’t in the PC Matic whitelist — and that’s OK. I think it’s better to get a couple of false positives than even one false negative. But I can’t say I’m too happy with the way PC Matic deals with unknown programs.
PC Matic also scanned my computer for performance issues and quickly resolved all detected problems. I like that it provides system optimization, but I wish the system scan reports were easier to understand.
PC Matic’s mobile app is pretty good, great for people who don’t want to bother with advanced options. But I don’t like that PC Matic mobile app is only available for Android.
There are plenty of excellent customer support resources available on the official PC Matic website, and the customer support team is quick to answer any technical issues. I received a reply to my email in less than half an hour, and the answer was really detailed. However, there’s no phone line or human live chat like there is with other antiviruses like Norton or TotalAV. But there is an AI-powered live chat bot that is useful for basic questions.
Overall, PC Matic isn’t necessarily the best antivirus program available. While its malware detection rate is really good, it doesn’t use advanced malware detection technology, like AI or machine learning. It also lacks many of the features included in the best antiviruses with internet security. But it’s still a decent option for users who want an antivirus and system optimization scanner that is easy to install, easy to use, and comes with all the essential features you need to stay protected against most malware.
PC Matic — Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use PC Matic on mobile?
PC Matic works on Windows, Mac, and Android, but it’s not compatible with iOS.
The Android app is somewhat basic, but it works really well. It provides malware protection, but it doesn’t have the useful device optimization tools that are included in the desktop version. However, the Android app is still a good choice for users who are looking for a simplistic, install-and-forget antivirus for mobile.
On the other hand, if you have an iPhone, you won’t be able to use PC Matic on your phone. If you’re looking to protect your iPhone, I recommend checking out the best antiviruses for iOS that provide protection against a wide range of cybersecurity threats.
Is PC Matic free?
PC Matic does have a free version, but it’s very limited. You can only perform a scan, but if you want to take any action based on the scan results, you need to upgrade.
I was unable to complete PC Matic’s free scan, so I can’t really say if it’s effective. If you’re looking for a free antivirus program, you can try one of the best free antiviruses in 2020.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend a couple of bucks on a premium antivirus, PC Matic Home Security is a decent option — it includes both malware protection and device optimization features. PC Matic is also one of the rare antiviruses that offer a lifetime subscription.
Is PC Matic secure?
Yes – PC Matic is a very secure antivirus program that uses whitelisting to detect malware. It performed really well in my malware tests, even though it doesn’t use the same technology as some of the top antiviruses on the market.
Instead of traditional blacklisting used by most antiviruses, PC Matic has a list of “good” programs and blocks the execution of files that aren’t on this whitelist, including various kinds of malware. While this unique approach does work, PC Matic frequently blocks legitimate programs, too.
PC Matic is an OK antivirus, but it’s not among my favorites. I think regularly getting false positives is pretty frustrating, and I don’t like that PC Matic doesn’t have a lot of the online security protections that are included in the best internet security suites like Norton 360 or McAfee Total Protection.
What is PC Matic Magnum?
PC Matic Magnum is a program that removes sensitive information from your browser and device. It permanently deletes your browsing history, download history, cache, image cache, and cookies — also capable of removing MS Office and PDF files. PC Matic Magnum also includes dark web monitoring tools.
PC Matic Magnum can be purchased separately or as an add-on to the premium PC Matic package. It covers up to 5 devices, but you can choose to protect up to 10 devices for an extra cost. PC Matic Magnum is a good program, but a lot of the top-tier internet security companies, such as Norton, offer dark web monitoring and data removal tools as part of their antivirus plans.