[Review] AyRecovery Lite

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

AyRecovery Lite

Version reviewed:

v1.2.0.0

Software description as per the developer:

AyRecovery Lite is a HDD instant recovery program and also a must-have toolkit for every PC owner. It is the easiest solution to restore and recover your system and precious data to working status at startup in seconds. AyRecovery Lite can effectively prevent your PC from system crash, virus attack, failed software installation, user error and other problems. If your Windows doesn’t load, just reboot your PC and everything will go back to the way it was.

AyRecovery Lite can easily remove PC failures like system problems, IE corruption and so on. It will protect the whole hard disk for you.

Download size:

6.19 MB

Supported OS:

Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Win7

Price:

$29.95 (USD)

{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Straightforward and easy to use.
  • Protects the main Windows partition (C:/) and all logical (non-main Windows) partitions on the hard drive that AyRecovery Lite is installed on.
  • Users are allowed to enable/disable protection at will.
  • Program can be password protected.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • Excludes My Documents from protection – there is no option to have My Documents also be protected.
  • Needs to provide better visual notifications that the system is protected and all changes will be lost upon reboot; something like having the option to have some sort of warning displayed right before a reboot occurs, reminding the user all changes will be lost, is needed.
  • Encourages users to disable Windows System Restore during installation.
  • Did not cleanly uninstall on my computer.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”8″}Since there is not much functionality aside from the protection it provides, AyRecovery Lite is very easy to use. There only real issue I found is users have to reboot their computer after enabling protection. This can be very annoying and hinder on-the-fly usage of AyRecovery Lite.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”5″}As per my tests, AyRecovery Lite performs well in removing changes made to the computer (main Windows partition and logical partitions only, since that is what it protects); and it doesn’t use up too much computer resources while running in the background either (about 20 MB of RAM and little to no CPU). However there is one major flaw in AyRecovery Lite: It does not protect My Documents and does not allow the user to include My Documents in the protection. And AyRecovery Lite does not cleanly uninstall.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”8″}I can see a good amount of people finding this program useful.
{/for}
{for=”Price” value=”8″}$29.95 is a very good price considering rival software are typically either more expensive or require an yearly subscription.
{/for}
{for=”Final Score” value=”6″}
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_badb}AyRecovery.com has a terrible rating on WOT:

As you can see, the developer apparently likes to use spam tactics as part of their marketing strategy. I don’t like spam; you don’t like spam; nobody likes spam. Spam is hated by everyone (I bet even spammers don’t like being spammed) and the spam tactics of the developer should be factored into your decision if you ever decide to purchase AyRecovery Lite. However, in regards to reviewing AyRecovery Lite, spam isn’t my primary concern; rather, the other ratings regarding malicious content/malware are what concern me the most. Warnings about malware are always concerning but for a security program like AyRecovery Lite, they are doubly concerning. For what it is worth, SiteAdvisor gives AyRecovery.com a clean bill of health (although SiteAdvisor does not give us specific details on what 9 downloads it checked) and VirusTotal finds AyRecovery Lite to be clean (1/42 result) so it probably is a clean program.

{/rw_badb} –>

{rw_verdict}[to]
{/rw_verdict} –>

AyRecovery Lite is a very simple product that does one thing and one thing only: Protect your computer by removing all changes made after a restart. If you have ever used Returnil, Wondershare Time Freeze, Windows SteadyState, or similar products, AyRecovery Lite does the same thing as them. (AyRecovery Lite doesn’t have all the same features as the other products, but the remove-all-changes-from-computer-upon-reboot protection is the same.) Aside from that system protection, AyRecovery Lite has only one other feature: The ability to password protect the program.

This is what AyRecovery Lite’s main program window looks like:

Since ARL (AyRecovery Lite) only has two features, using it is extremely easy: You enable protection when you want ARL to protect your computer and dump all changes upon reboot (after installation of the program, protection is enabled by default), and you disable protection when you want ARL to not protect your computer and not dump all changes upon reboot. If you want to password protect ARL, you go to Settings and enter a new password (or change it, if you already created it):

Since ARL has no other features, there really isn’t anything else to discuss about the program in regards to features or usage. So, let’s discuss ARL’s methodology of protection.

While ARL provides the same virtual system-like protection as them, ARL’s way of protecting users is a bit different than that of Returnil and Wondershare Time Freeze, both products reviewed on dotTech in the past. Both Returnil and Wondershare Time Freeze create a “virtual system” where all changes are stored and dumped  from (or optionally kept) upon reboot when protection is enabled. ARL, on the other hand, takes a snapshot of your computer state and restores that snapshot upon reboot, if you have protection enabled.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this snapshot approach, as opposed to virtual system approach:

Advantage

  • ARL has less of an impact on hard drive space. ARL does not clone your system and create a virtual copy, like Returnil or SteadyState do, so it doesn’t use up as much hard drive space. That doesn’t mean ARL uses no hard drive: It needs space to store the snapshot that it takes. However, that snapshot will typically be smaller than having a whole virtual system.

Disadvantage

  • When enabling protection, users must restart their computer…

…so ARL can take a snapshot of the current computer state:

Having to restart the computer when enabling protection is very annoying because rebooting the computer means users cannot use ARL’s protection on-the-fly. For example, let’s say I have ARL’s protection disabled and I run across a questionable program that I want to try. Since the program is questionable, I want to use ARL to ensure the program is completely removed in case it turns out to be a bad apple. In order for me to use ARL to protect my computer, I would have to restart my computer so ARL can take its snapshot. Only after restarting can I go and download the program to test it out. Other programs, like Returnil and Wondershare Time Freeze, allow for on-the-fly usage since they don’t need you to restart your computer to enable protection because of their virtual system-approach.

That said, in regards to performance AyRecovery Lite performs well as per my tests. It removes all changes upon reboot from the areas that it is supposed to be protecting, and it doesn’t use very many computer resources while it sits idle (0-1% CPU and ~20 MB of RAM). However, there is one major area that AyRecovery Lite fails in.

For some reason, the developer of AyRecovery Lite thought it would be a good idea to exclude My Documents from protection. In other words, any and all changes made in My Documents/to files and folder in My Documents are not removed upon reboot and there is no option available to force AyRecovery Lite to protect My Documents. My guess is the developer did this to allow users a way to keep some files/changes while getting rid of all the others. However, using My Documents for this purpose is a terrible, terrible idea because My Documents is such a common place to store files and downloads. Indeed it isn’t unreasonable to think that there may be infected files downloaded into/stored in My Documents and AyRecovery Lite would do nothing to remove these infected files. This My Documents issue is a huge security flaw in my opinion, and really is a deal-breaker for this program.

Furthermore, five other things to note:

  • Although enabling protection requires users to reboot their computer, disabling protection does not. So, if you ever decide you don’t want changes to be dumped upon reboot, you can disable protection and changes will be kept after, even if you reboot. Whenever you want AyRecovery Lite to start protecting you again and you enable protection, AyRecovery Lite will take a new snapshot of your PC state and use that snapshot as the new baseline for restoring purposes.
  • After installing ARL, you will always see ARL’s boot screen when booting up your computer:

You don’t have to worry about doing anything with this boot screen; ARL will handle everything for you. If ARL’s protection was enabled before you shutdown/restarted your computer, ARL will automatically load into the boot screen and restore the snapshot. If ARL’s protection was disabled before you shutdown/restarted your computer, the boot screen will be bypassed and Windows will boot normally.

  • AyRecovery Lite protects the main Windows partition and all logical partitions (i.e. non-main Windows partitions) on the hard disk that AyRecovery Lite is installed. Users that dual-boot should realize that AyRecovery Lite will not protect the primary partitions of Windows that AyRecovery Lite is not installed on; if you want AyRecovery Lite protection on your other Windows OSes, you need to install AyRecovery Lite on them:

(This is a screen users see during installation of AyRecovery Lite.)

  • During installation, the first thing AyRecovery Lite does is encourage users to disable Windows System Restore:

I assume this warning is there because of AyRecovery Professional, a program that has enhanced snapshot/backup and system recovery features. For AyRecovery Professional it may make sense to disable Windows System Restore because using both would waste space, essentially both of them would be creating snapshots of the same thing. However, for AyRecovery Lite it is a terrible idea to disable Windows System Restore because AyRecovery Lite does not have that enhanced snapshot/backup and system recovery feature. It only takes one snapshot and restores from it. I highly suggest you click “No” when asked to disable System Restore.

  • EAZ Solution, Inc. is a company that provides snapshot/backup and system recovery products. AyRecovery appears to be a repacked version of a EAZ Solution, Inc. product. How do I know this? When running the AyRecovery Lite installer, I am told the program is by EAZ-Solutions:

The irony of the situation is EAZ Solution, Inc. has no product similar to AyRecovery Lite. Rather, their EAZ-FIX program appears to be the same as AyRecovery Professional. AyRecovery Lite is just a watered down version of EAZ-FIX/AyRecovery Professional.

I don’t know if EAZ Solution, Inc. and AyRecovery Studio are owned by the same company, are the same company, or if AyRecovery Studio is simply buying EAZ Solution, Inc. products and rebranding them.

(Please note that these comments regarding EAZ Solution, Inc. and its products and AyRecovery Studio and its products are based on some proof and a lot of speculation. Don’t take these observations as the ultimate truth, until there is more proof found to back them up.)

  • After uninstalling AyRecovery Lite, Windows had to run a chkdisk and fix lots of stuff…

…because apparently AyRecovery Lite did not uninstall cleanly. After the chkdisk was finished, Windows booted up and worked first fine. The only problem was that RevoUninstaller didn’t work, and I had to reinstall that.

I don’t know if this uninstallation problem was caused by a conflict with my computer or is a problem with the program in general.

Last but not the least, there is one particular feature I would like to see added in AyRecovery Lite:

  • AyRecovery Lite needs to have better visual notifications that protection is enabled and rebooting/shutting down a computer will result in the loss of all the changes made to the main Windows partition and all logical partitions (excluding My Documents). Currently AyRecovery Lite provides little to no visual notifications that changes will be lost upon reboot when protection is enabled. It does not take a very creative imagination to realize that someone may turn on AyRecovery Lite’s protection and forget they turned it on; and when they reboot or shutdown their computer they are in for a rude awakening when they notice all the files they have been working on/changes they have made to their computer for the past few hours are gone.

Thus, to prevent such an oh **** moment, I propose ARL prompt users with a popup message right before a reboot/shutdown occurs saying something like “If you reboot/shutdown your computer, all changes will be lost. Are you sure?” This way people that have forgotten that system protection is turned on can make the decision if all the changes they made to their computer since protection was turned on should be saved (in which case they would go and disable protection) or allowed to go (in which case they would continue rebooting like normal). To make it convenient on users that don’t want such a popup, AyRecovery Studio should add this popup message as an option which users can toggle on/off.

This review was conducted on a virtual machine running Windows XP Professional 32-bit, with 1 GB of RAM and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

Returnil System Safe Free

Returnil System Safe Pro 1 year license is available for free for a limited time.

Windows SteadyState

Windows SteadyState is at the end of its life and will soon no longer be supported by Microsoft.

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}AyRecovery Lite is a very simple program that does only one thing: Protect your computer by dumping all changes made. In that regard, AyRecovery Lite performs well. In fact its method of snapshot-protection – as opposed to virtual system-protection – enables AyRecovery Lite to have some advantages over rival programs in regards to hard drive space usage. And the fact that AyRecovery Lite is cheaper than rival products makes it that much more sweeter. However, there is one major flaw in AyRecovery Lite: The inability to include My Documents in its protection. I don’t know what the developer was thinking by not giving users the ability to protect My Documents. It isn’t unreasonable to think that users can have infected files stored in My Documents because it is such a common place to store files, such as downloads. Huge security risk in my not-so-humble opinion. Although I like other aspects of AyRecovery Lite, this My Documents issue is a deal-breaker; it bumps AyRecovery Lite down to being “ordinary”. Aside from the My Documents issue, another major problem with AyRecovery Lite is the developer. I don’t know about you, but regardless of how good a program is, I will never put the security of my computer in the hands of a developer that has a questionable reputation. That said, if you are looking for a program that provides the same remove-all-changes-from-computer-upon-reboot protection, check out Returnil System Safe 2011. If you are looking for security programs in general, check out dotTech’s suggested suite of free security software.
{/rw_verdict2} –>

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19 comments

  1. Paul Yacich

    AyRecovery Lite was installed on my computer without my permission. Since I do not know the password installed I cannot uninstall the application and it has made my HP laptop virtually useless. Please help me to uninstall the program, I will appreciate any help.
    Paul Yacich

  2. Bob

    Have not installed yet to try but after running EAZ-Fix pro for 2years on an XP system, it continued to get sluggish on reboot. Worked well, saved me more than a few times. But I discovered you cannot defrag while this was installed. That was the problem after hours of defrag, the system would restore back to where it was. Had to uninstall, did not go well, crashed and wiped. Could not recover, too novice, Did a complete reinstall on system. lost alot of work and progamming. Then hit the budget and got a second computer to transfer work over to, since even a second drive is no guarantee against a smoked power supply OUCH.

  3. MikeR

    @Gail: I can’t speak for this particular app because I stayed well clear of it, but Ashraf’s review refers to difficulties he encountered with uninstallation (there are three screenshots of the task chkdsk had to contend with in Ashraf’s case.) I can’t remember the last time I had a problem with the uninstallation of any software but if memory serves aright, then on what must presumably have been such a rare occasion as that, I booted my PC in Safe Mode and then ran Revo from there.

    As for the provenance of this particular app, mysteries continue: the website has been revised to throw out all the seemingly false claims made on the developer’s behalf, but now the support forum is on a re-direction to a site entirely in Russian. Go figure.

    Hope you get it sorted.

  4. Gail

    Been having problems with AyRecovery Lite. Have been fighting getting it uninstalled. It seems to re-install itself upon re-boot. I’m not satisfied with this program and want it cleaned off of my system – is there a clean utility to clean it completely off so it will not continuously re-install after I uninstall it and reboot?

  5. Marckyking

    It is a good software for recovering the system. But, it does not provide better visual notifications that the system is protected and all changes will be lost upon reboot. This is important because one requires some sort of warning to be displayed right before a reboot occurs. But, the users of Rollback Rx are at advantage when compared

  6. Sbruce

    I had some minor troubles with AyRecovery, not like the ones described in the review, but they were annoying, so I decided to change. I’ve tried Returnil – it was ok, only that it’s not free for more than 1 machine. Finally I ended up with Rollback Rx, which is just what I need. A bit pricey, but it’s worth the money.

  7. Fred

    I used the EAZ fix program from giveawayoftheday until it suddenly said it was not registered and restored my system to the date of installing EAZ fix without warning (and all snapshots disappeared). From this time on it didn´t accept the reginfos i received from the EAZ company itself.
    I lost a lot of data from using EAZ fix. A regular backup will do better for me.

    Maybe i install this on a unused PC to save the regdata for later usage (if this still works, official giveaway period is over by now).

    I tried it on my normal PC yesterday (after making a backup) but installation failed. It was unable to change the MBR. I don´t have any prog installed that saves the MBR so i don´t know what´s wrong with the installation.

  8. Quqx

    The singer of this particular song is AyRecovery Studio. According to its “about us” website page, it is the world-leading consumer software provider. (Darn good going, seeing as how this “world-leader” didn’t launch until, um, 2009. . .) According to its website home page, AyRecovery Studio has 6,500,000+ customers. (Since 2009.) According to its user forum, it has, er, 1 post. (From admin.) According to its list of customer commitments, amongst the foremost is “The best partner to make you the meaning of life”. (As one who has occasionally wondered what the meaning of life might be, it’s rather unnerving to discover that. . . I am. )

    Finally: according to world-leading software provider AyRecovery Studio’s “About Us” website page: “Today we provide solutions which fulfill the needs of enterprises and home users to recover, manage and back up hard disk data. For more information about EASUS products, please go to the products page.”

    Er, right. But then — presumably — only a world-leading software provider could be that magnanimous: a lesser outfit would be committing commercial suicide if its ‘About Us’ page blithely advised everyone to go look at the product pages of a rival developer / publisher.

    All of which would seem to point to:

    1) This is a false-flag operation run by Easus;

    (2) Every ‘fact’ adduced in the AyRecovery website is a lie;

    (3) And that as the singer cannot be relied upon to be exactly as represented, then neither can the song.

    Personally, I’m growing tired of false-flag operations. Reputable companies with reputable products have no need for it. They either retail a product line in their own name. Or they retail a product line in the name of a brand which they’ve acquired, the details of which are readily available in the “News” sections of their corporate websites.

    This nonsense about a Chinese company becoming a “world leader” in so short a time would be offensive if it weren’t so downright absurd.

    But either way, it’s an exercise in deceit. And deceit doesn’t merit any time and effort being spent on it by yourself or any other dot.tech reviewer, still less the installation on any computer of software promoted on the basis of such deception.

    The singer, not the song.

  9. newJason

    Wow.
    I wonder if the corruption that chkdisk detected is an effect from running a virtual program like this within a virtual machine? In my past experience, Whenever chkdisk auto-runs on boot up, fixing errors or not, It is not long before the hard disc physically fails. I hope that is not the case for you.

  10. Josh

    I played with this program for a bit today and I was not impressed. I have been using Returnil for years and it is so much more flexible and powerful than AyRecovery.

    Thank you, Ashraf for reviewing and testing it. You helped me come to the conclusion that this isn’t what I need. I’ll stick with Returnil for now.

  11. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @digish: Yes, you are right. I forgot to change that. It has been fixed now.

    @MikeR: I found that whole claim to have 6.5 million customers and 60 partners to be suspicious too considering Alexa ranks their website in the millions (i.e. it doesn’t get very much traffic). I was going to mention it in “Bad Behavior” but then I figured “What the heck, maybe they do…”.

    Despite their tactics. I did feel like I should review the program.

    @Danny: Eh… I disagree. While WOT isn’t the ultimate truth, it is a good source to look at as long as one keeps in mind the nature of it: Anyone can post anything.

  12. MikeR

    Thanks for the review, Ashraf, though as this is supposed to be a holiday, you really shouldn’t be committing so much time and energy to dot tech! Re the AyRecovery Lite software:

    The world has changed considerably since those early days of computing when geeks wrote apps themselves and non-geeks had wish-lists to dream about. Today, there’s software aplenty for just about all and every need. Which is why I’ve long since switched from thinking about the song to thinking about the singer.

    The singer of this particular song is AyRecovery Studio. According to its “about us” website page, it is the world-leading consumer software provider. (Darn good going, seeing as how this “world-leader” didn’t launch until, um, 2009. . .) According to its website home page, AyRecovery Studio has 6,500,000+ customers. (Since 2009.) According to its user forum, it has, er, 1 post. (From admin.) According to its list of customer commitments, amongst the foremost is “The best partner to make you the meaning of life”. (As one who has occasionally wondered what the meaning of life might be, it’s rather unnerving to discover that. . . I am. )

    Finally: according to world-leading software provider AyRecovery Studio’s “About Us” website page: “Today we provide solutions which fulfill the needs of enterprises and home users to recover, manage and back up hard disk data. For more information about EASUS products, please go to the products page.”

    Er, right. But then — presumably — only a world-leading software provider could be that magnanimous: a lesser outfit would be committing commercial suicide if its ‘About Us’ page blithely advised everyone to go look at the product pages of a rival developer / publisher.

    All of which would seem to point to:

    1) This is a false-flag operation run by Easus;

    (2) Every ‘fact’ adduced in the AyRecovery website is a lie;

    (3) And that as the singer cannot be relied upon to be exactly as represented, then neither can the song.

    Personally, I’m growing tired of false-flag operations. Reputable companies with reputable products have no need for it. They either retail a product line in their own name. Or they retail a product line in the name of a brand which they’ve acquired, the details of which are readily available in the “News” sections of their corporate websites.

    This nonsense about a Chinese company becoming a “world leader” in so short a time would be offensive if it weren’t so downright absurd.

    But either way, it’s an exercise in deceit. And deceit doesn’t merit any time and effort being spent on it by yourself or any other dot.tech reviewer, still less the installation on any computer of software promoted on the basis of such deception.

    The singer, not the song.

  13. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @blue: Yeah, I mentioned the WOT rating under “Bad Behavior”.

    Also, it should be mentioned that there are only 3 ratings on CNET and they are of AyRecovery Pro, not Lite. I didn’t experience any slowdown or anything with Lite so I don’t know what those ratings are talking about. Installation was smooth*, and usage was smooth. Very little change to boot time and little to no affect on computer speed. Uninstallation, however, was not smooth as mentioned in the full review above.

    *Installation was smooth after I uninstalled Returnil. AyRecovery Lite won’t still if Returnil is installed.