Drive Cleaning Software

The cleaning tools listed in this category are another class of security software that works in concert with internet filters, firewalls and virus scanners to offer a complete security solution. Designed to scan computers for any sign of pornographic material, most allow the user to perform various scans across computers or networks, display the resulting data and help the user remove it as required.

As usual there are enterprise tools and home user tools, obviously priced according to their target market. Their features also reflect their intended usage, with the enterprise tools offering network scanning, automated report generation, complex keyword search functions, custom keyword set generation and a variety of other functions that are only of interest for corporate, government or education applications.

The home user is not forgotten though, and there are several good tools that provide all you need for a single computer environment where cleaning up a hard disk, or finding out what little Johnny is downloading during homework time, is the priority.

There are a number of 'toy' utilities in this genre but its not hard to spot the big players and we present a few of them here.

PinPoint Auditor
Pinpoint Auditor puts a strong foot forward with this cleaning solution clearly intended for enterprise installations. Pinpoint Auditor offers corporate features that go beyond the average drive scanning utility, and these are the sort of features that will attract company owners and webmasters that need an effective solution for large networks.

To start with, Pinpoint Auditor allows inspection of remote computers across large networks. You obviously need administrator permissions to do this, but its a great feature for avoiding the legwork associated with installing software on and scanning hundreds of machines manually. This will attract educational buyers who need to keep unruly students under control, as internet pornography is an easy mark for savvy students, and internet filters dont stop students from copying files onto networks from their USB sticks or CDs. Batch scans can be set up to scan groups of PCs at a time and then save results to a file for later review. This allows scanning to take place in manageable blocks. You get special features for network scans including 'sampling' or scanning say 1 every 5 files to get an idea of problem areas, which helps when you have Terabytes of Server data to get through; also scheduling so you can scan at night.

Pinpoint Auditor features a strong suite of detection and removal functions. The developers puts a lot of emphasis on its automated 'intelligent' image and movie scanner, that opens and checks multimedia files for illicit content. And rightly so; the accuracy obtained in our tests was outstanding. It is a useful feature that can reduce manual review of user files dramatically. Some false positives did occur but in general the algorithm used performs the best of any tool in its class.

Other functions include scanning filenames and documents for suspicious keywords; internet history scanning; audio file scanning, cookies, inspection of compressed files; checking of files that have had their extension renamed, ie. a .jpg file could be renamed to .txt and the scanner still identifies the file and scans it along with the others. Also featured is a fairly effective custom keyword system that allows users to add their own keywords to the default list and weight their priority; and you can specify the context in which they are found within sentences and compound words.

Results can be presented in various modes, including a thumbnail mode where images and movies can be viewed. Reports are comprehensive and can be generated in various formats and you can include thumbs in the reports if it takes your fancy, along with the system reported profile name associated with the results.

All in all a well presented and functional solution for enterprise environments.

Simple user interface, complete set of detection functions, very fast scanning, comprehensive results and preferences.
Some false positives when scanning, not available for single user purchase.

Snitch has been around for a few years now and it shows, the software packs on more and more features as time goes on. A solid package for single computer installation, Snitch has most of the critical functions you could want for locating and removing porography from a computer system.

The user interface has been designed for the novice, and is simple to use and set up. But this tame facade also conceals a preference section that has everything a die hard geek could hope for. This software is aimed at single user installations and is not an enterprise like PinPoint Auditor. As a result it does not lend itself to corporate usage unless installation on each machine is the preferred deployment mode. It does offer password protection if you think this is the way you want to go; this only allows a user to operate the software if the password has been entered.

Like Pinpoint, Snitch features a good image and video scanner that looks for adult material. Its performance was fairly good, although its hard to prevent some false positives or negatives occurring in any algorithm of this sort, and it did not perform up to the same standard as Pinpoint Auditor. Comparison with other simple tools in this class reveal how much the performance of Snitch has improved.

Also included are thumbnail results display, text based file interrogation (HTML, text, other text-based formats) using keywords, renamed file scanning, any more.
Easy to use, good selection of options, rapid scanning, fairly accurate.
Occasional false positives

Media Detective
Media Detective is another classy offering
Combiness solid anti-virus protection with robust firewall functionality, but with no / little sacrifice in system performance. Extremely flexible settings for controlling access for programs and system services. A configuration wizard helps even novice users setvup the firewall effectively and simply. It supports mutli-user log function in Windows XP; automatically preventing access if no user is logged in.
Update alerts give notice when essential updates are found. Highly customizable settings; can also be password controlled to disallow changes. The integrated firewall gives the user permission-based control of many Internet applications. Supports a popular selection of languages. Basic and Advanced configuration settings cater for novice and experienced users.
Tech support is offered by email only and not telephone.