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Automatic PC repair uses IBM’s tech to keep computers clean

Fixico, with roots in the enterprise world, promises to relieve everyday users of checking disk health and running updates

Computer processor (Courtesy)
Computer processor (Courtesy)

Though their popularity is on the wane, desktop and laptop computers are still widely used. An Israeli start-up called Fixico has dedicated itself to keeping those workhorses healthy, even if their users don’t apply the latest patches or updates.

According to Fixico CEO Alex Varshavsky, Fixico can take care of over 80 percent of common computer concerns – without the owner even realizing that something has been fixed.

It’s not as creepy as it sounds, said Varshavsky. “I know there have been some invasive products that claimed to do what we do, but were not very successful,” he told The Times of Israel. “Our system uses the same technology that IBM does to fix the computers inside the corporation. We are the first company to deploy this repair technology to private customers.”

Today, tablets, smartphones, and other devices rule the roost, but the PC – desktop and laptop – is still the primary work system in business and at the office. At least a third of the computing devices sold in 2014 were desktop or laptop systems, according to experts.

Most of those computers run Windows systems, which are notorious for being vulnerable to malware, requiring constant patches and updates, and generally needing constant care. To successfully run Windows, users need to be aware of security and other bulletins issued by Microsoft, update their operating system to ensure that it is compliant with current technology, and install and maintain anti-virus programs, firewalls, and other software to defend against hackers and other dangers.

Fixico, said Varshavsky, takes care of all that and more. Once installed, a small agent is set up to check a computer’s functions upon startup. The agent evaluates speed, the health of the computer’s disk, the status of programs (whether or not they need updating, if they are working properly) including Adobe, iTunes, Skype, cleaning out the Windows registry, automatically updating anti-virus software, and more.

“The entire Fixico operation takes not more than 2% of a computer’s CPU and just 15 MB of RAM,” said Varshavsky. “If a typical computer has 4GB of RAM, that comes out to about 4% of memory – “a negligible amount that you won’t even feel.”

Alex Varshavksy (Courtesy)
Alex Varshavksy (Courtesy)

Fixico’s biggest selling point is its affiliation with IBM, believes Varshvasky. Fixico uses as its infrastructure IBM Endpoint Management, a remote system management product that ensures that computers inside the company work without a hitch.

Three years ago, IBM decided to export the technology to the private market and chose Fixico, which was founded by a team of ex-IBMers with expert backgrounds in the fields of IT Management & IT Security, to accomplish that. It is the first company so honored by IBM.

One difference between Fixico and others is that unlike others, Fixico is not ad-supported and costs money for some of its advanced services. With the free basic package installed, Fixico users will have their junk files removed and their registry cleaned out. More advanced services — such as blocking malware, child protection, and automatic updates — cost a dollar or $3 a month, depending on the package chosen.

And Varshavsky promises that Fixico is cyber-safe. “Some people are concerned that a hacker could ride on the coattails of our agent to invade a computer. That hasn’t happened yet, but in today’s connected world it could happen with any cloud app. People use apps like DropBox all the time, and in my opinion we are a lot more secure than they are.”

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