This FAQ explores purchase, installation and activation issues, as well as general questions about Phoenix 360, culled from social media, beta testing and other sources.


Is Phoenix 360 a major version release of System Mechanic, or a new product?

Phoenix 360 is not a System Mechanic version upgrade. It is a new suite of products offering comprehensive security, privacy and optimization in one package. It consists of 7 integrated software products, including all the features of System Mechanic, which is the speed and stability component of Phoenix 360.

Therefore, the Phoenix 360 “upgrade offer” that was emailed to existing System Mechanic customers is for System Mechanic plus 6 other products, 3 of which are new:

  • a secure password and credit card manager
  • online privacy software that thwarts browser fingerprinting and blocks ad-trackers from following you around the internet
  • on-demand malware removal software for if and when a machine has already become infected

These are combined with:

  • military-grade drive wiping technology
  • deleted file recovery
  • a real-time antivirus solution
  • all the optimization tools and features within System Mechanic, including the new 2nd generation of Super Definitions™ program classification system

As such, unlike the free new version upgrade offers regularly deployed to users of System Mechanic when they add time, current System Mechanic customers did not receive an offer to add time to Phoenix 360 with this upgrade. The upgrade price gives you the additional products at a discount compared to those who purchase the integrated suite Phoenix 360 “from scratch,” and therefore must also add a year of service.

What are the products included with Phoenix 360?

  • System Mechanic award-winning performance optimization
  • System Shield VB100-certified AV protection
  • Privacy Guardian anti-browser fingerprinting online privacy protection
  • ByePass secure password encryption and management
  • Malware Killer on-demand malware detection and removal
  • DriveScrubber military-grade drive wiping technology
  • Search and Recover deleted file recovery software


What if my System Mechanic service is already paid up until next year?

Any time that you have already purchased for your System Mechanic, System Mechanic Pro or System Mechanic Ultimate service will carry over and be available to use with the added products in the Phoenix 360 software suite.


For example, if you are a System Mechanic Pro user, when you upgrade, your current System Mechanic Pro service will be upgraded to Phoenix 360 at a special price. Current users still get to keep their accumulated time while enjoying the additional products in Phoenix 360, which will automatically have the time you’ve previously paid for added to them.


Do existing System Mechanic customers receive a new Phoenix 360 Activation Key?

If you have an existing System Mechanic, System Mechanic Pro or System Mechanic Ultimate license, you will continue to use the Activation Key associated with that license after completing your Phoenix 360 upgrade purchase. That key will now recognize that you have access to additional software products.


Which customers receive a new Phoenix 360 Activation Key?

If you have purchased Phoenix 360 “from scratch,” i.e., you did not purchase an upgrade from an existing System Mechanic product license, you will receive a new Phoenix 360 Activation Key. Additionally, customers who have only Privacy Guardian, System Shield, Search and Recover and DriveScrubber at the time of their purchase will receive a new Phoenix 360 Activation Key.


How do I download and install Phoenix 360?

Whether you have purchased an upgrade or new license from an email offer or from the iolo website, it is best to follow the instructions in the purchase fulfillment email that was sent to you. Existing System Mechanic customers should find that their System Mechanic license automatically recognizes the upgrade, without having to re-enter the Activation Key. Other customers may be prompted to enter it. Whether you have accessed the Phoenix 360 installation file from a link within your fulfillment email or from

  • Choose a destination folder and click Save to save a copy of the Phoenix 360 installation file (Phoenix360Setup.exe).
  • Open Phoenix360Setup.exe from either your browser download tray or the folder in which you saved it.
  • If the User Account Control window appears, click Yes.
  • "Welcome to the InstallShield for Phoenix 360" appears.
  • Click Next.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the installation of the Phoenix 360 Active Panel (aka “Phoenix 360 launcher”).
  • After you click Finish, the Phoenix 360 Active Panel will open.

Why are some or all of the products grayed out in the Phoenix 360 Active Panel?

After installing Phoenix 360, the Active Panel (aka “Phoenix 360 launcher”) opens. The Phoenix 360 Active Panel is set up to allow you to only install the software products that you wish, whenever you wish. For each product that is grayed out simply click on its icon to run the install wizard.  

  • Select which Phoenix 360 products you wish to install.
  • If you already have some of the products in Phoenix 360, you may not need to install them.
  • In some instances, you may need to select items that were previously installed.
  • From here you can also check the box to have this Active Panel automatically open at startup.
  • Otherwise, simply click the Phoenix 360 desktop icon to open it.
  • After you select a product, the installation wizard opens for that product.
  • Older versions of the software may be uninstalled as a part of this process.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions in the InstallShield wizard to complete installation for the products you wish.

Why didn’t Phoenix 360 recognize that I already have System Mechanic installed on my machine?

Although you may have System Mechanic installed on your system, if it is grayed out in the Phoenix 360 Active Panel, your current version of System Mechanic needsto be overinstalled by the later version of System Mechanic that comes with Phoenix 360.

  • In the Active Panel, single-click the gray Install System Mechanic icon.
  • The System Mechanic install wizard will launch.
  • Follow the steps onscreen to complete the over install. 

After installation, you may need to activate the full version of the new Phoenix 360 System Mechanic by clicking the green Activate Now button from within the System Mechanic Dashboard. For details see “How do I activate the full version of System Mechanic?”


Note that you should activate the full version of System Mechanic first before activating the full versions of the other Phoenix 360 products. See “After System Mechanic, how do I activate the other products in Phoenix 360?” for details on unlocking the full versions of the other products.


How do I activate the full version of System Mechanic?

  • Click the green Activate Now button from within the System Mechanic Dashboard.
  • You will be prompted to enter your Activation Key that was emailed to you as part of the Phoenix 360 purchase.
  • Also enter the email address you used at the time of your Phoenix 360 upgrade purchase (to which the order fulfillment email with your Activation Key was sent).
  • After the full version of System Mechanic activates, you will be prompted to Install System Shield anti-malware engine. It is highly recommended that you do this now to enable real-time AV protection.

Once System Shield installs:

  • From the System Mechanic Dashboard >Toolbox click the Security tab.
  • Check that Real-time protection is enabled.
  • If it is not, click Enable.
  • If conflicting real-time protection is already enabled on your computer, a message saying so will appear.
  • Simply choose whether you wish to disable it or leave System Shield real-time protection disabled for now.

After System Mechanic, how do I activate the other products in Phoenix 360?

After you activate the full version of System Mechanic, 6 of the 7 products will not require entering your Activation Key or email. Note that the Unlock the full version buttons within some of the Phoenix 360 products are not necessary to click if you have already purchased Phoenix 360.


Rather than displaying separate icons for the software products formerly in System Mechanic Pro, the Phoenix 360 Active Panel displays a single System Mechanic icon that when launched contains the most recent version of System Mechanic, plus the products and features in System Mechanic Pro:

  • System ShieldVB100-certified AV protection
  • DriveScrubber military-grade drive wiping technology
  • Search and Recover deleted file recovery software


You can now access System Shield and DriveScrubber from the Protect tab, and Search and Recover from the Recover tab, within the System Mechanic interface.


The other two products that do not require entering any licensing information are Privacy Guardian and Malware Killer.

  • In the Privacy Guardian red menu bar, simply click on the Activation Key icon.
  • Your Phoenix 360 key should automatically populate the Activation Key field, and the full version of Privacy Guardian be made available to you.
  • This same process should be used to activate the full version of Malware Killer.

Because the 7th product, ByePass secure password manager, requires an account to be created from which to manage all your passwords, credit cards and secure notes, clicking on it from within the Active Panel/Phoenix 360 launcher takes you to


To set up your ByePass account, enter the email you used to purchase Phoenix 360, followed by your Phoenix 360 Activation Key (same as your System Mechanic key if upgrading to Phoenix 360 from a System Mechanic product).


Once installed and activated, how do I launch the products in Phoenix 360?

Going forward, you can launch your individual Phoenix 360 products either from within the Active Panel (aka “Phoenix 360 launcher”)or by clicking the individual product icons that appear on the desktop after install.


It is recommended for your convenience that you launch the products in Phoenix 360 from the Active Panel, which you can choose to automatically launch at startup by checking the Open at start box. If you choose not to automatically open the Active Panel at startup, the Phoenix 360 desktop icon can be used to launch the Active Panel.


Note that since the ByPass product interface is accessed through the ByePass browser extension, this product is always available through your web browser by clicking the ByePass icon therein.


What are the Phoenix 360 System Requirements?

  • PC with Windows® 10, 8.1, 8, or 7
  • At least 270 MB of available hard disk space (includes virus definitions)
  • Minimum 512 MB RAM (optimal 2 GB)
  • Internet connection
  • Latest most up-to-date version of Google Chrome or Firefox web browser (Safari and Edge coming soon)
    • Windows Administrator user account


More Information  

For information on the individual products within Phoenix 360, please visit:

Privacy Guardian FAQ

ByePass FAQ

Malware Killer FAQ

Phoenix 360 product page

Features in System Mechanic Pro included in Phoenix 360