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antivirus programs with always on background scanners.
don't list download sizes for most security software, as
the files tend to increase in size quite rapidly as the
software is developed.
Cloud Antivirus v1.0
Panda Cloud Antivirus uses the cloud (or internet, to you
and me), to store the virus definition database, rather
than the more traditional downloaded and regulary updated
So there is no need for the initial massive virus
definition download and regular updates are no longer
needed, a definite bonus in my book.
Panda automatically checks suspicious files online, so
you always have the benefit of the latest database. And
new threats can be identified far quicker with this
online interaction, than with traditional methods.
The initial software download is about 22Mb and after
installation you need to create an online account, so
that you can properly activate Panda Cloud Antivirus.
Depending on which firewall (I use Zonealarm) you are
using, you may need to give Panda permission to access
Panda Cloud Antivirus is very easy to use, the default
settings take care of everything (there are very few
settings) and the help file is excellent and worth
In use Panda is unobtrusive, taking care of problems with
no fuss at all. You can run either a Quick Scan, or
select the hard drive areas you wish to scan. Scanning
isn't very fast, but the progress and results are
displayed well, with vital information such as the file
Any problem files are automatically
quarantined and can be deleted, or restored as you
I found detection accuracy to be good. Panda did
quarantine some of my tools and one joke program, but
these are items perceived to be possibly dangerous if
misused, so it's a judgment call.
All the tests I tried, to see if Panda would spot
suspicious behaviour, were blocked immediately and I will
admit to being impressed.
On the downside, despite the claims of Panda being light
and fast, my elderly computer did seem slightly sluggish
and one game crashed the computer everytime I tried to
run it, until I turned Panda off.
Broadband internet speed doesn't seem to be affected at
all and I noticed no increase in traffic, despite the
cloud aspect of Panda.
Overall, I was impressed by Panda Cloud Antivirus, it
seemed competent and unobtrusive and was very easy to use.
Free -- Win 7, Vista, XP.
is a complete antivirus package, it can scan your drives
and has a resident shield to monitor files as you work on
AVG has an integrated email scanner and a control center
to schedule scans. The right click context menu can be
used to scan individual files or folders, and infected
files are stored in the virus vault.
interface is simple and navigation is adequate, there is
a reasonable help file and virus definition updates are
regular and free and usually quite quick, even on dialup.
Some problems are reported in the technical forums,
usually regarding program installation and email scanning,
although I have had no problems with a clean install, I
have had occasional problems with the email scanner
getting "stuck", needing to be stopped with the
Users who have updated to the latest version (8) are
reporting quite a few problems in the forums, so it might be
worth waiting a few months, until there have been a few
bug fixes and it is more stable.
I haven't tested it myself, as the file size has grown
rather large for downloading over a dialup connection.
Freeware -- Win 2000,XP,Vista
Personal Edition Classic.
This is a full
antivirus program, it consists of two parts the scanner
and the guard, which keeps a constant watch on your
system as you work. With the scanner you can choose which
drives, or folders you wish to scan, or you can use the
right click context menu to scan individual files or
There is no separate email checker but the guard scanner
should cover this area, an added feature is the ability
to check for dialers (german 0190 numbers only), joke
programs, malicious programs and games software (useful
for the boss!!!).
The program is easy to use, with an extensive help file
and it runs in a very quiet and efficient manner, the
update window is very good, always leaving you in no
doubt about what is happening.
Note: The updater can be
rather slow to connect and the scanning engine updates
itself fairly often, which means a fairly large download
The guard scanner communicates with the main program
using an internet protocol, (not an internet connection)
so your firewall will initially ask to allow internet
access to several sections of the program, you must
permit them all, or the program will not run correctly.
If your firewall has an internet traffic monitor you may
notice some strange activity after using the updater,
this is normal.
Freeware -- Win 2000, XP, Vista.
This is a very
comprehensive antivirus package, it has a normal scanner
and a background scanner checking your files and emails
as you work, it also has a feature called the virus
recovery database (VRDB), this stores copies of important
system files so that they can be replaced if a virus
As well as the normal scanning features, Avast also has
specific shields for protecting you, while performing
such tasks as instant messaging, file sharing, and
I have noticed that Avast produces quite a few false
alerts even when using the normal scan settings for the
manual scanner and on access scanner. These seemed to be
linked to the heuristics (no option to turn off, or
reduce sensitivity), which isn't the most reliable method
of detection, so always double check any alerts.
The program interface is stylish and comes with skins to
give you a choice of appearance, although you can opt for
a basic interface if you wish. A novelty feature is that
the program comes with two system tray icons, but these
can be merged into one, when it becomes annoying.
The update interface is good, showing a reasonably
accurate indication of the update progress and virus
definition updates are usually small.
Avast is a very good antivirus system, easy to install
and use, with an excellent help file and is the only
freeware antivirus software, that works on older versions
You have 60 days to decide if you like the program, if
you do, you can then register for free and you will be
given a registration key, which also entitles you to a
years free updates.
Freeware -- Win 95,98,Me,NT,2000,XP,Vista
Drive Sentry v126.96.36.199 -- free for home
Drive Sentry is one of a new generation of antivirus
programs, using not only virus signatures to protect your
computer, but also a community based whitelist of trusted
software and HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System),
which monitors the behavior of programs and intervenes if
the code appears to be performing suspicious, or
After installation, Drive Sentry updates its definitions,
or synchronizes its data base, if you want to be geeky.
The update took quite a while on broadband, so I would
imagine that Drive Sentry would not be practical on
For the first 30 days Drive Sentry will update using
"trickle feed" technology, which updates in the
background, after that it switches to manual updates,
although you can upgrade for a fee.
Drive Sentry runs in
the background displaying an icon in the system tray.
Right clicking the icon gives a menu, or double clicking
opens the main window.
Drive Sentry monitors your computer while you work and
displays a popup if a new program is run, or if a program
tries to perform a possibly virus like activity, such as
writing to the registry. You then have the option of
allowing, or blocking the activity, rather like setting
the rules for a firewall.
You can perform a virus scan of your computer, with the
options of a full, quick, or custom scan. Suspected
infected files are quarantined, rather than deleted,
which is just as well, as it quarantined seven files on
my computer, but only one was a threat (the Eicar test
virus). So treat scanning results with caution.
Drive Sentry did have a few problems. The interface is a
bit buggy, never displaying the righthand side of the
window correctly. I thought this could be because my
monitor runs at 800*600, but altering the resolution made
There was also a problem with the use of system resources.
Most of the time Drive Sentry would use 10 to 15MB of
memory, but sometimes this would jump to 150MB and it
would be using 90% of the CPU, slowing my computer to a
crawl, with the only cure being a computer restart.
Overall, Drive Sentry has some good ideas, I particularly
like the system of granting program permissions. But it
needs some more development and the system resources
problem makes it too unreliable for everyday use (IMOP)
and I wont be keeping it on my computer.
Free for home use -- Win 2000, 2003, XP, Vista
Drive Sentry proved tricky, it just didn't want to go,
lol. It caused Windows to crash very badly and I
eventually had to use safe mode to remove it.
I always create a image of my drive before testing this
type of software, so it wasn't a great problem, I just
reloaded the image to repair Windows. But I would not
advise trying Drive Sentry, unless you take similar
Rob Goldfish Web Site