Win XP antivirus compared - last time?

AV-Test, an independent lab, has tested Windows XP antivirus products, perhaps for the last time. Many products do very well.
Written by Larry Seltzer, Contributor on

Independent test lab AV-Test has completed a test of nine corporate and 23 consumer antivirus products on Windows XP. Nearly all of the products detected all or nearly all of the malware in the test.

AV-Test has stated that this test will probably be their last such comparison on Windows XP.

The large majority of products achieved very good scores and three of the consumer products got perfect 18.0 scores: Bitdefender Internet Security 2014, Kaspersky Lab Internet Security 2014 and Panda Security Cloud Antivirus FREE 3.0. The top score among corporate products was for Trend Micro Office Scan 11.0.

AV-Test produces three test scores for each product, each from 0.0 to 6.0 with granularity of 0.5, and adds them up for a total score. The three categories are for Protection, Performance and Usability.

They define Protection as "[p]rotection against malware infections (such as viruses, worms or Trojan horses)." Performance is "[t]he average impact of the security product on the speed of the computer in daily use" — i.e., it is a measure of impact on system performance. Usability is "[d]isruptions caused by false positives and false warning messages." We have always considered "usability" an odd choice of name for this categorization; "Accuracy" or "False Positives" would be more appropriate.

AV-Tests protection tests used 24,105 known malware samples and 158 unknown samples. Tests were performed both in May and June to show effects as the company updated signatures and other features.

Image: AV-Test

Among the corporate products, right behind Trend Micro's 17.5 score came three products with 17.0: Bitdefender Endpoint Security 5.3, Kaspersky Lab Endpoint Security 10.2 and McAfee VirusScan Enterprise with EPO 8.8. The rest all did respectably, except for Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection 4.3, which is tested as a control.

After the three perfect consumer product scores, McAfee Internet Security 2014 scored 17.5 and eight others got at least 16.0. Microsoft Security Essentials, also always included as a control for consumer products, scored 9.5. Incredibly, there was a commercial product, AhnLab V3 Internet Security 8.0, which did worse with a score of 9.5.

Image: AV-Test

One lesson to draw from the tests is that the alternative free products, such as Panda Security Cloud Antivirus FREE, are far better products than Microsoft Security Essentials. Users who persist in using Windows XP would do well to abandon Microsoft Security Essentials for one of these.

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