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McAfee VirusScan Home Edition 7.0

  • Editors' rating
    7.8 Very good
  • $39.99

Pros

  • Includes McAfee Firewall
  • improved detection skills
  • intuitive interface
  • faster scanning speeds than NAV 2003.

Cons

  • Virus eradication requires user involvement
  • more expensive than previous version
  • doesn’t retain settings from VirusScan 6.0.

Like its arch-rival Norton AntiVirus (NAV) 2003, McAfee VirusScan 7.0 automatically downloads up-to-date virus definitions from the Internet; provides a cogent, lucid interface that's quick to navigate; squashes malicious scripts, worms, viruses, and other digital miscreants; and is reasonably priced at £31 (ex. VAT). Unlike NAV 2003, VirusScan 7.0 has superior technical support and faster scanning times, and it comes with a firewall -- essential for anyone with an always-on DSL or cable Internet connection. Although it's a tad less slick-looking than NAV 2003, VirusScan 7.0 is a fine first-time anti-virus choice for any Windows user.

Current VirusScan users who use Outlook Express or Eudora will want the new features for those applications and should upgrade, while current Outlook users should pass for now. Choosing between NAV 2003 and VirusScan 7.0? No need to switch if you already run NAV, but if you're picking for the first time, go with VirusScan.

Installation & interface
First-time installation is quick: load the CD and click the Next button a few times, and within minutes you're done. But if you're upgrading from a previous version of VirusScan, you must uninstall your old copy before loading version 7.0, which is a major hassle. You’ll also need to reconfigure your customised settings -- preset scan times, firewall configuration and so on -- because version 7.0 can't inherit them. Like Norton AntiVirus 2003, VirusScan 7.0 fully automates its virus-definition downloads -- you won't need to install these yourself. Version 7.0 also includes a complimentary one-year subscription to McAfee's virus-definition service. Unlike NAV 2003, which automatically deletes viruses once it intercepts them, VirusScan 7.0's default setting posts a warning dialogue asking whether you'd like to delete, clean or quarantine the infected file, which gives you more control over the process. However, VirusScan 7.0 users who prefer Norton's ‘don't bother the user’ method can change this setting by entering the Advanced Options dialogue and choosing either the Clean or Delete (infected files) menu item. VirusScan 7.0's interface, with its browser-like Back, Forward and Home buttons, is pretty much unchanged from version 6.0, with the exception of a new feature that allows you to schedule scans of individual folders. For example, you can schedule it to check your always-changing My Documents folder to provide you with a degree of control that version 6.0 didn't offer.

Features
Under the surface, McAfee's Hostile Activity Watch Kernel (HAWK) detects unfriendly viruses, such as mass-mailer worms. This time around, HAWK supports SMTP-based email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook Express and Eudora, in addition to Outlook, so if your email program tries to send a message to more than 60 percent of your address book, HAWK will alert you. However, like NAV 2003, VirusScan 7.0 offers only limited protection for AOL email users, no thanks to AOL's proprietary email format. VirusScan's VShield in-memory scanner monitors active scripts for potential trouble from Visual Basic and JavaScript and also scans file transfers between your handheld and your PC. And like NAV 2003, VirusScan 7.0 now examines file downloads from the popular instant-messenger applications of Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft. But here's the clincher: version 7.0, like its predecessor, includes McAfee Firewall to prevent unauthorised access to Internet-connected PCs, which is especially important for those machines with always-on broadband connections. The firewall is unchanged since the last version, except that it now automatically allows desktop applications such as Internet Explorer, AOL and Music Maker to access the Internet.

Performance
In ZDNet Labs' performance tests, VirusScan 7.0 beat NAV 2003 soundly in scanning speed (the amount of time it takes to search your PC for viruses), while both anti-virus programs made a similarly minimal impact on overall PC performance. To measure VirusScan 7.0's impact on system performance, we used BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. The Internet Content Creation portion of SysMark measures a desktop's performance running off-the-shelf applications such as Adobe’s Photoshop, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder, and Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. (We did not run the Office Productivity portion of the benchmark because it incorporates McAfee VirusScan 5.13.) Our test system was a Compaq Evo W4000, running Windows XP Professional, with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor and 512MB of DDR RAM. With VirusScan 7.0 running, our test system scored a 97 -- a 3 percent reduction in overall system speed, which is reasonable and wouldn't be noticed by most users. In comparison, Norton AntiVirus 2003 scored a 95, or a 5 percent reduction in system speed. (An Internet Content Creation score of 100 represents the performance of our test system without any extraneous software running). In a test of scanning speed, VirusScan 7.0 took an average of 1.7 minutes to scan a 1GB directory, beating NAV 2003, which averaged 3.1 minutes. To determine whether VirusScan effectively blocks viruses, we examined its past performance in tests conducted by independent antivirus-testing laboratories. In the latest Virus Bulletin tests, VirusScan 6.0 earned the coveted VB 100 percent rating only once in the three most recent Windows tests, compared to Norton AntiVirus 2003, which won all of the last three Windows tests. However, VirusScan has performed as well as Norton in live virus tests conducted by AV-Test.org. Previous versions of VirusScan have also been certified by the independent antivirus-testing laboratories at West Coast Checkmark and ICSA Labs.

Technical support
VirusScan 7.0's interface includes links to a respectable collection of FAQs and troubleshooting tips on McAfee's Web site. We were pleased with McAfee's Web-based technical 24/7 chat with a technical support rep, too. In our tests, the reps were knowledgeable and helped us repair a scanning glitch. If you prefer phone support, however, you'll pay £20.50 per support incident. If you're choosing an anti-virus package for the first time, McAfee VirusScan 7.0 is a fine choice. It's a hard-working, virus-crushing crusader that delivers solid value for money. Existing VirusScan users who run Outlook Express or Eudora should upgrade, but Outlook users will find the overall enhancements to be marginal.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Localization English
Category security applications
Subcategory security - desktop antivirus
Package Type retail
Distribution Media CD-ROM
Version 7.0
Software
Subcategory security - desktop antivirus
Category security applications
License Type box pack
Version 7.0
License Category shrinkwrap
System Requirements
Min RAM Size 32 MB
Min Hard Drive Space 61 MB
OS Required Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional
OS Family Windows
Additional Requirements CD-ROM
Min Processor Speed 100 MHz
Min Processor Type Intel Pentium
Header
Brand McAfee
Product Line McAfee VirusScan
Model Home Edition
Localization English
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC

Where To Buy

Price
$39.99

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Where To Buy

McAfee VirusScan Home Edition 7.0

Part Number: VSF70E001RAA
Price
$39.99