Saturday, January 16, 2010

Threat Alert!: PCTimeMachine Snapshots Eats Free Disk Space

PCTimeMachine claims to restore your computer to its functioning state with a few mouse clicks and a few seconds. PCTimeMachine takes snapshots of your computer's current state. PCTimeMachine is a freeware and available for download from PCTimeMachine sounds good but wait till you use it. The snapshots will eat up all the available hard disk drive space even when you turn the 'dang' thing off. My hard disk had 14GB of free space in it. PCTimeMachine occupied ALL of it. You can see the free space in Windows Disk Defragmanter but Windows will show your hard disk drive as almost full. Plus, when using PCTimeMachine, I could not defragment the hard disk.

After PCTimeMachine has occupied the remaining free hard disk space with its snapshots (1GB to 988KB within a few hours), leaving about 1MB left - I tried to open a PDF document and my computer hanged. This, and along with the less than desirable continuous 'disk critically out of space' warnings from Windows, I decided to uninstall the PCTimeMachine software without even trying out its restoration function. I figure that with the junk its giving me, the supposedly nifty restoration purpose of PCTimeMachine is deemed useless.

Test Machine Operating System Specifications:
Windows XP SP3 installed from D:\ to C:\

How to Uninstall PCTimeMachine
  1. Choose Uninstall from the Windows Program Panel or the Add/Remove Programs
  2. Choose the snapshot you would like to have of your computer
  3. Restart the computer
  4. Uninstall and restoration will take about 20 minutes
  5. PCTimeMachine will leave two files on your computer; using precious RAMs unnecessarily
  6. shieldclnt.exe
  7. To delete the files, you can run the Trend Micro HijackThis program and choose the ticked items like in the side image (click on the image for a larger view) and press the 'fix checked' button
  8. Restart the computer
  9. PCTimeMachine does not leave anything in start->Run->regedit so nothing to delete there
:-P On an easier note, you can simply re-enter Add/Remove Programs in Windows, select the PCTimeMachine, press Delete, and choose to delete the program (this is the second time doing so) in the dialog box after restarting the computer.

Thereafter you will find that the above 2 executable files are automatically deleted as well. What remains is the PCTimeMachine folder in C:\ and that you will have to enter c:\Program Files to manually delete it.

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