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Paid Anti-virus Programs

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2012

Antivirus products generally focus more on PC protection basics of scanning, detecting, and removing threats on your PC and blocking attempts to infect with the utmost efficiency, power and efficacy with the least burden on your computing resources. McAfee isn’t the world leader in the antivirus industry if not for this. And when you see a “Plus” suffixed to its name, it is safe to assume the product offers something more. The McAfee VirusScan Plus 2012 at $49.00 is one such product.

The McAfee VirusScan Plus 2012 certainly goes beyond a mere antivirus tool. This product provides an extensive protection service through several diagnostic and monitoring tools before applying its varied protection arsenal as an antivirus, an anti-phishing tool, a defragmentation tool, a network monitoring tool, and a proprietary SiteAdvisor tool for reputation rating.

Features

Apart from the traditional virus signature database that gets regularly updates, you can’t help notice significant improvements in detection with its heuristic file behavior-based engine in the McAfee's System Guards. In addition, you have the following bonus features:

* While not an internet security product, McAfee VirusScan 2012 provides online protection as an anti-spyware and anti-phishing tool Its features a bonus Firewall which is a full featured personal firewall that blocks all web based malicious attacks going to your PC ports.

* It can perform IM link scanning where ULRs posted in messages can be scanned for malicious threat. It works well with AOL IM and Yahoo Messenger.

* Its “State Aware” facility is the equivalent of a gaming mode in other products and allows uninterrupted enjoyment of games, movies and slide shows in full screen mode.

* The optional plug-in Virtual Technician provides free diagnoses and recommendation on the condition of your PC and your VirusScan Plus 2012. Not really necessary, it’s a nice-to-have “extra” that updates you on your hardware and software status.

* The SiteAdvisor uses powerful algorithms to analyze and determine potentially unsafe websites or URLs listed in a search engine result. It provides visual flags for green (good site), yellow (suspiciously dangerous) and red (high probability of danger) opposite those sites.

Once it finds a threat, McAfee VirusScan 2012 remediates at once on known virus threats. But with low risk possible false passives, it asks you at the end of the scan to quarantine the suspected file or not. In a few tests, it prompted a reboot to continue addressing infected locked files.

Installation and Setup

Installation from either a CD or its downloaded install program goes without much incident and the few that showed up in highly infected PCs result in a prompt to contact its help desk. A quick call to the tech support suggested using the McAfee CleanBoot recovery disk to clean the PC before installing. This did the job. And while some products perform a better pre-install scanning, the McAfee VirusScan 2012 shows a weakness, but having said that, it’s not as if there’s no CleanBoot to solve any installation problem. But if you’re installing in a clean PC, this is one of the best choices in the market.

User Interface

Most antivirus tools use similar and familiar interface layouts that are simple, user-friendly and intuitive with just a matter degrees differentiating one from the other. You get landscape pages with tabbed menu either on top, sides or bottom and an icon on the Windows tray. The new McAfee antivirus for 2012 takes a radical approach with a tall display page with drawers that contain the function and configuration panes. But while some users may need a little learning curve to use it, the rather unique interface still exudes the same user-friendliness and ease of use as any.

In addition, the new McAfee Antivirus 2012 has second user interface, a Navigation center that uses a scrolling page with items that link to about the same features as the first interface and some that aren’t available on the first. For instance, you can initiate a manual scan or configure the firewall in either interface, but to monitor web traffic or see the threat map, you need to access the Navigation Center.

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2008

The McAfee VirusScan Plus 2008 is referred to by many as a six-in-one security solution because it provides extensive protection to computers via various diagnostic and monitoring tools. VirusScan Plus 2008 has McAfee's own antiphishing tool, system diagnostic tools to shred deleted files and defrag your hard drive, network monitoring tools, and SiteAdvisor.

If you're looking for anti-virus programs, you might want to check out what McAfee VirusScan Plus 2008 has to offer by reading the brief discussions below.

Features

In addition to the anti-virus tools and components that McAfee is known for, the VirusScan Plus 2008 also has IM link-scanning, "State Aware," and the Virtual Technician optional plug-in.

VirusScan Plus 2008 has the ability to scan and rate links that are sent and received in IM messages. This link-scanning feature reportedly works well in the latest versions of Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messaging. The "State Aware" feature allows uninterrupted play of movies, games, and slide shows even though a scan is in progress. No longer would you have to deal with annoying security alerts and status updates that interrupt your work. VirusScan Plus is one of the very few anti-virus products that offer this feature.

The McAfee Virtual Technician is an optional plug-in which, when downloaded and installed properly, will provide free recommendations and diagnoses on the state of the VirusScan Plus 2008 and the overall condition of your computer. This may seem unnecessary to some users, but it's still a useful "extra" to keep you updated on your software and hardware conditions.

Compared with last year's version, VirusScan Plus 2008 now sports anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, and firewall features. You will also notice the improvements made in the heuristics of McAfee's System Guards.

VirusScan Plus 2008, however, pales a bit in comparison with other anti-virus software in terms of updates. Whereas other anti-virus products can provide hourly updates, McAfee can only promise and deliver daily updates.

Installation and Setup

Just like in the previous versions, VirusScan Plus 2008 uses a bootstrap method of downloading codes and then installing it module by module on your laptop or computer. The difference with this year's version is that the whole process now takes a shorter time to complete. With VirusScan Plus 2008, you first have to download the security center then the product itself. Some users report that they find it strange that McAfee didn't scan their computers prior to installation.

Another noticeable improvement in VirusScan Plus 2008 version is that it now has a mess-free uninstallation process. If you want to uninstall VirusScan Plus 2008 from your computer, you'll have to go to the Windows Control Panel and click on the Add/Remove Software option. Although some anti-virus products make uninstalling easier by providing an uninstall option in the Windows All Programs listing, the extra step is worth it because VirusScan Plus 2008 leaves no traces once it's been uninstalled.

User Interface

VirusScan Plus 2008's interface is not that different from last year's version. There's still the left-hand navigation for all system and software tools, while the right window pane is reserved for system status updates. VirusScan Plus 2008 also has the Security Center integrated in the interface, making it easier for users to view and configure features settings and other advanced tools.

The McAfee SiteAdvisors Web safety ratings is also shown on the interface, helping you avoid unsafe online content and websites. The most interesting quality of the VirusScan Plus 2008's interface is the integration of security, utility, and networking features. This way, the product is easier to use and feels more integrated and whole.

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