There remains a legion of XP users who regard Redmond’s nearly decade-old OS as the holy grail of operating systems. And before Windows 7 emerged, we would have agreed, but what XP loyalists seem to forget is just how susceptible to Internet threats their beloved OS was in the early days. Sure, it came with a built-in firewall, but before the second Service Pack, it wasn’t turned on by default, and it was never able to monitor outbound traffic.
Enter Comodo, a company that built a following among enthusiasts for its excellent firewall. A lot has changed since then (including much better firewall integration in Windows), and it would be a mistake to peg Comodo as a one-trick pony. Comodo’s full-fledged security suite is more of an anti-malware stallion, and if overall scan speed were the Kentucky Derby, this would be the thoroughbred to bet on.
Be sure to pay attention during installation or Comodo will install a toolbar, change your default search provider, and redirect your homepage.
It took Comodo nearly 15 minutes to initially sweep through our test bed, but on the next lap, Comodo turned on the jets and raced through our files in just over a minute. At such a breakneck speed, we wondered if Comodo was cutting corners and would fold once we bombarded it with malicious files. It didn’t.
So what’s not to like? The interface isn’t as slick as some of the others in this roundup, but we’re more perturbed at Comodo’s attempt to upsell us additional security and “features.” It started during installation, when Comodo tried to sneak in a third-party toolbar, change our homepage, and make Ask.com our default search provider—lame. Then there’s the persistent link in the UI to purchase LivePCSupport, which offers to scrub your registry and “optimize” your PC. Not cool when you’ve already paid for protection.