The Ultimate Antivirus Guide: 10 Top Programs Reviewed

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mikebo

I use the latest Avast! free AV... which has had (supposedly) significant updates since the last time it was reviewed by MaxPC and basically called 'slow but effective'. Has it improved? Very disappointed in its omission ... I would rather see MaxPC dump other "features" like WebCam reviews and give a truly complete and authoritative treatment to a real AV roundup instead of just throwing darts at 10. Heck, dedicate an entire issue to it, cuz it IS that important...

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maseone

So, I'm not here to rag on the OP 3 months after the fact.  I'm just curious why Comodo gets such a bad rap in pretty much every review I've seen (outside of mpc as well).  I've yet to see a valid reason in the explanation for such low scores or just out right not including the software in these type of reviews.  It's free, the virus engine is just as good as kaspersky, the firewall is as good or better than any other, and the interface is logically laid out to give the most control with little fuss.  When I see it get knocked for "poor interface" but then see Kaspersky (great engine, but the worst software wrapped around it I've ever seen for any software ever made in the hisotry of time) get a 9??  Again, not here to rag on the OP, just curious, what am I missing?  Optional toolbars are annoying, but it's a free software product that is as good or better than any of the $50+/yr products.

 

I'd like to see a single reason why the (free) Comodo Firewall/AV used in conjunction with Windows Defender is any less effective and/or efficient than any product MPC gives an 8 or higher.  Just one (a good one, come on you're killing me).

 

m1

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squibbon

Of ESET, Kaspersky and Bitdefender (the top 3), which one came out in the tests as top dog?

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schmoe

good lord, how do you include ClamWin(which everyone knows is cr@p) but you leave out Avast, Avira, and AVG!!  got to be kidding me....my bet is you included ClamWin to make the other paid AV look better and Avast, Avira, and AVG weren't willing to buy ad space but hey, who knows...

 

ClamWin is for for USB sticks you dingbat...

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jelenko

First, I'm amazed at all the whining about which AV app wasn't included. 

 

But, I'm just as amazed at the lack of testing for actual protection. 

The reviews all seemed to focus just on speed and user interface.  Certainly those are important, but, you would think, the most important is how well the app actually does protect against the various types of malware.

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Cage22

In the article, for MSE, you state, "boot penalty of just 10 seconds." But in the chart, you show boot as 0. Which is it?

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J-Mac

Why do you title the article "The Ultimate AV Guide" when it should be, how do some of last years compare to ones we have not seen before.  I jumped in hoping I would find a nice guide I could link people to on my website but your article title is misleading and I dont see any real purpose to the article.  Who cares how SOME of last years winners perform against SOME that you have not reviewed before?  Honestly, what is the purpose of this article?  It sure is NOT to help someone pick a good AV product. 

Want some ideas for an article that could actually be useful?  Heres a few:

1. Why does Norton make removing their product so hard that they have to distribute a removal tool?

2. The best performing FREE AV products

3. How do the free versions of Avast, Avira and AVG compare to the expensive versions of Norton and McAfee?

 

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yackman01

Ok this gets really annoying.  Why have i NEVER seen a review on VIPRE antivirus or internet security?  This is a great piece of software.  There is a Vipre Rescue Tool too that i use when i am fixing computers for my business clients.  Its affordable, light weight, and very user friendly.

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wk

anyone review AV software should include most popular free AV comparing them to paid version in order to reach a conclusive result that may benefit users of both kind.

please in future reviews include AVAST, AVG, AVIRA and other great free AV.

thanks

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BnB

 

I understand it's not possible to include everyone's favorites in a "Top 10" List; but no Avast or AVG?

I just lost my trust in your reviews, MaximumPC!

 

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jproulx

Look I use Grisoft's AVG, but I'm not a die hard fan. I'm a fan of information. What I don't understand is why you would not review a product you KNOW a lot of your readers are using. It's baffling to not cater to your reader base. I don't personally care if you say... "Wow AVG, can't believe how far you've fallen." but people use what they know. Human beings by and large stick with what's comfortable and familiar. So barring a bad review people are going to keep using what you've reviewed positively in the past UNLESS you say otherwise. Not reviewing products that you have reviewed year after year, even if it's just a footnote to say they now suck compared to these others, is I'm sorry.. a little ridiculous. Where's the AVG, Avast, and Kaperskys reviews? I could care less about Avast and Kap but I've been a reader of yours long enough (forever) to know that you must have TONS of readers using them as well.

 

Another odd thing... I was really intrigued by your MSE review as a free contender but then noticed in the chart, not the review, that it doesn't scan e-mails?? Um, wouldn't that be worth a note? Short on features seems a bit of an understatement in regards to that little nugget.

 

Justin

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Paul Braden

Why in the world would you ignore AVG? The AVG Internet Security 2011 security suite continues to win awards! How about testing it against these losers next time? Too good for you?

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RandyN

Also not a reply (i.e., Add a Commnet not working for me either).

ClamWin AV, are you kidding? It doesn't even have an on-access/real-time scanner and is not used by many Windows users as their primary AV. I thought it was the "Top 10 Programs".

I read through the comments and replies and understand how you selected the field of AVs to test. My only question is why?

Doesn't it benefit your readers more to test the top 10 currently used AVs (and maybe throw in a couple less-commonly used AVs)? You should have included NOD32, AVG, AVAST, Avira, and KAV and tested them using the same methodology. This would give more informative and useful results then the current test.

I've been a MaximumPC reader and subscriber for many years but the logic behind some of your tests escapes me (and unfortunately so does their usefulness).

One final comment. These reviews are for your readers, correct? Deriding Norton because Aunt Agnes might have difficulty with the interface doesn't make sense. If Aunt Agnes is a MaximumPC reader, then she can probably handle Norton's interface easily.

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TechLarry

Not really a reply to Paul.  The stupid Add A Comment button was busted...

Anywho...

How can the premier PC Magazine not include ESET's NOD32 in a test like this?  It's the only AntiVirus/AntiSpyware written in Assembly code, is fast as hell, doesn't beat your system up, and is very effective.

As a hardcore gaming hardware magazine, I would think you guys would know this.

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Paul_Lilly

We included ESET Smart Security 4 (the company's full-fledged Internet security suite) in last year's roundup, and it did exceptonall well, scoring a 9 verdict. It would have made the cut in this year's roundup, since we set out to take 5 of the best from last year and pit them against 5 we've never before reviewed, but there hasn't been a major update to the program; it's stuck in version 4.

You can read our evaluation of ESET Smart Security 4 here.

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emadgreek

Worst roundup ever. Seriously go to http://download.cnet.com/w indows/ and view what is being download and used. AVG, Avast, Malwarebytes, are all missing. Yes use some of the big companies like Norton and McAffee, but seriously who ever chose these products for comparison sucks. Wow and your podcasts are getting even worse lately. Might be time for a change in leadership. Maybe somebody who actually cares, and owns a PC. What the heck get off you Mac Books already.

 

I demand a redo!

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galahadkoa

I went to download BufferZone Pro only to find out it doesnt even support 64 bit systems....Very worthwhile program!

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Mighty BOB!

Like a user far below this comment, I too was confused at the lack of Comodo, but then I actually went back and looked at the old article (Why that link is absent from this article I cannot fathom) and saw that they gave it a 6 for not looking pretty, for having an optional toolbar as part of installation, and for including links to buy more stuff.  So I guess it makes sense that it wasn't included here.  Not that I'm going to suddenly stop using it or anything.

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vanyell1967@gma...

I rely on avast, Malwarebytes and ccleaner on my machine and I use Emsisoft for cleaning infected customer systems. Really surprised none of these were mentioned. Come on guys, give me a reason to renew my subscription!!

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Demoman2k10

Ok so this isn't a complete list of the best out there.  NO AVAST!, No AVG, No Malware Bytes... All 3 are very good at what they do.  I find it very disconcerting that they do a better job than norton or mcAfee's at cleaning and are LESS invasive to a system.  SAD that the article seems slanted in favor of the ESTABLISHED corporations rather than the BETTER products.

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Morete

GESCHÜTZT.  GESCHÜTZTER.  G DATA.   
(SAFE.  SAFER.  G DATA.)

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

I have to say that leaving MalwareBytes Anti-Malware out of the roundup is a HUGE disservice to your readership. Add SUPERAntiSpyware to the list, too. Oh, and FireFox with the NoScript add-on.

Years ago, when I relied on Explorer, getting my browser hijacked was a regular occurance, thanks to the Active-X backdoors Microsoft has built in. I quickly lost count of how many times I ended up reinstalling Windows because of the crap Explorer let into my system.

Switching to FireFox was a good move, but adding No-Script has been a real blessing. While I have to pick through a list and allow various scripts the first time I visit a new site, I don't much mind the added inconvenience given the level of security I've gained. No-Script has protected me from nearly all Java-based attacks others have to fend off with resource-hogging antispyware tools.

Some crap still gets through on computers I don't use (wife, kids), but MalwareBytes AntiMalware and SUPERAntiSpyware have been able to clean those systems pretty well. When you get something really nasty, the kind of stuff that prevents your removal tools from accessing the web, you can download updates and install them manually in Safe Mode. Pretty cool.

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eday_2010

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware andSUPERAntiSpyware are NOT anti-virus programs. They are anti-malware and anti-spyware programs. They were only reviewing anti-virus programs. Why aren't you asking them to include SpyBot Search and Destroy too?

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nclaughlin

Why wasn't Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware considered?  McAfee let through a virus that I had to use malwarebytes to get rid of.

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eday_2010

Probably because Malwarebytes is not anti-virus software.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

I used MalwareBytes Anti-Malware on the Conficker worm the other day.

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thrawnis

Great article. This is a great guide to support the use of MSE for cheap computer users (like me). Please add Avast, AVG, and Avira as they are more popular than many of the programs you have listed. Also, could you include the engine and virus definition version numbers in each of the programs so we know how up-to-date these reviews are?

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soccer1105

Yeah Paul Lilly, we get it, and we don't care. Quality products like AVG, Avast!, and Avira should still be on here. They are far better than some of these programs, and deserve to be reviewed as well.

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MattyMattMatt

No Avira?

 

Giving Norton a 9 even though it itself behaves like malware?

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Capper

Where is Kaspersky Internet Security?

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Engelsstaub

It's reviewed in the latest isssue.

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Capper

I guess my sarcasm was lost on you. the same question was asked and answered about four times previously.

As to the overall comments...... I've fixed several systems over the last couple months using AVAST, AVG, Security Essentials, etc that were infected with various viruses and malware......no program is 100% safe nor 100% effective.....probably the best way to approach things is to not completely rely on any program totally and instead police yourself....be careful of those torrents, dont open those stupid email attachments...things like that. I realize that doesnt apply to all of you, but I'm sure it applies to enough of you, and people you know to be worth mentioning.

Thank you Mr Lilly for your time and effort on this article, well done.

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Albin

I missed reviews of AVG and Avast, which are popular and often recommended by online forum junkies.

That said, I'm a confirmed user of Norton IS - the one misleading thing is the review is the price:  big box stores routinely mark it down to about $25 after Xmas through January, and that's the time to have the subscription expire for renewal.

I know the historical complaints are well justified - because I used to get Norton bundled with my tax software I've used it since the late 1990s and certainly recall the days of bloat and resource demands, and that you were afraid to uninstall it because it ferreted itself so far into Windows.  But the sea change took place in 2007 and it's been getting better, faster, and lighter on the RAM every year, and it uninstalls cleanly.

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nadako

I was also wondering were avast ran off too.

 

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andresau

I have used a plethora of antivirus applications throughout the years. I liked MSE's review - I couldn't agree more with the findings. I would personally like to see how Avast! stacks up to the competition. Wonderful article, keep up the great work!

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GordonGenius

You should've included Avast Free Antivirus!

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GordonGenius

You should've included Avast Free Antivirus 2011!

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lunchbox73

I like MS Security Essentials. I've had it running on all 4 computers in my house since day one. Other than being behind our router firewall I don't use any other security measures and I've never had a problem - even with 2 teen sons. Making sure everything is up to date is vital and it probably doesn't hurt using parental control software for the kids as that will block some seedy web sites as well.

I run MBAM from time to time and it never finds anything scarrier than a tracking cookie here and there.

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Neufeldt2002

Same thing here, seems to work just fine.

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jaygregz

No avira? I think its under rated. I love it.

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FrancesTheMute

Been using MSE for over a year now and for now I'm sticking with it.  Gets the job done and is free, can't really ask for more than that.

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codyandbecca

No Kaspersky AV 2011??

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SevWarfare

BitDefender does have Identity Control.  Found under Privacy Control.  Red mark for you.  Kaspersky was already mentioned, but where is Comodo Internet Security?

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RandyZie

so...no comodo?

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blindhorizon

why is not Eset in here as well, last time Kaspersky and eset ranked on the top of the list last time MaxPc did it...did they not make the cut or just not get reviewd to see if they would kick all the other ones asses.

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Paul_Lilly

From the introduction:

"To find out, we’re pitting the 2011 versions of last year’s top five performing AV applications against five security suites we’ve never before reviewed. The two exceptions are ESET Smart Security, which hasn’t been overhauled since our last roundup, and Kaspersky Internet Security 2011, which we already evaluated and gave a 9 verdict / Kick Ass award to for its rich (and useful) feature-set and insane level of protection."

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kiaghi7

You're effectively saying:

'Well last year's champs weren't torn down to the ground and rebuilt for this competition, so their performance and quality is irrelevant for sake of comparison...'

 

Well no, it's not, even "last year's" technology is more than sufficient to make at the very least a mention in comparison to the newer programs particularly since they are quite literally the top two in quality and performance. Add to that, ESET 3 has since been ESET 4, so your assertion that it hasn't been overhauled is simply incorrect.

 

It was an omission, for whatever reason, it was simply an omission... And to the detriment of your readers who could be taking this information as motivational in choosing a security software for their platform.

 

You routinely hearken back to prior reviews of things like heat sinks and so forth as comparison for the newer thing, even though your information is dubious in that as well, the 212+ has been roundly trounced in countless tests by the Noctua NH-D14, but apparently in your testing it was tied and even supposedly inferior (a HIGHLY suspect result to say the least) althought how your testing arrived at that is neigh unfathomable.

Regardless the 212+ is a fine heat sink, and well worth comparisons as a base-line, particularly in its price point, so it is constantly used as the high-water mark to compare other new heat sinks to, even though it's pretty long in the tooth by computer tech standards of time... So why the admitted omission of security programs hardly a year old at this point simply because they haven't needed to be reworked.

 

If anything that should speak volumes for how well they worked last year, that everyone else had to tear-down and rebuild to compete with the best programs for the job because they did it right to begin with. To use the preposterous criteria of not completely overhauling what is working perfectly fine to begin with as a reason to not even compare them is laughable and smacks of EXCEEDINGLY questionable judgment.

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Paul_Lilly

Kiaghi7, we did mention Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 in this year's roundup, making clear that it was previously evaluated and earned a 9/Kick Ass rating (if you'd like to read the review, you can find it here). It's the same overall product now as it was 4 months ago, and our opinion of Kaspersky hasn't changed since then. Additionally, in the Zone Alarm review, which uses Kaspersky's antivirus engine, we pointed out that "Kaspersky's scan engine continues to earn high marks from independent testing labs," as well as sprinkled in some other praise for Kaspersky.

Regarding ESET, we evaluated ESET 4 in last year's roundup, not ESET 3, and there has not been a major update since then (if you'd like to read that review, you can find it here).

Also keep in mind that we'll be running reviews of AV software not included in this year's roundup in future issues of the magazine, just as we had done before.

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OldCinco

Sure hope you include Vipre Premium in your upcoming tests. You've almost completely ignored it in all your reviews. Why?

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ipatinga

Where is Kaspersky Internet Security?

I used to work with Norton (the 2009 was good, but did not like the interface nor the annoying warning to "make a Norton account")... them McAfee (2010 and 2011, did not like the interface nor the lack of some options, plus I got a virus), but Kaspersky has been my choice since 2009 (very good at protection and I like the menus and interface... and the price for the 3 year 3 computer... got it for half my family and start telling my friends about it(this also saved me a couple "tech" visits since virus and threats are not a problem now).

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