- Simple and very easy to use interface
- Good at detecting malware
- Good at removing malware*
*there is an issue with quarantined files – more on that below
Will it run on my PC?
The minimum suggested system requirements for this program are as follows:
- i386 (Intel 80386) or AMD64 (x86-64) processor
- Windows XP / Vista / 7 / Home Server
Unfortunately, that is as much information that is available on ESET’s web site at the time of writing – there is no suggestion as to recommended processor speed or the amount of RAM required.
Also, I’m rather surprised that the imminent release of Windows 8 doesn’t seem to be supported.
Is it easy to install this program?
One of the big plus points with this and previous home security solutions from ESET is the simplicity of everything surrounding it, from installation to actual every day use.
The installation process is quick and requires minimal user interaction.
There is nothing tricky here and you will be up and running in no time at all.
What is the user interface like?
As I mentioned above, one of the big plus points with ESET programs is their simplicity and ease of use. ESET NOD32 Antivirus 6 is no exception.
Whilst security programs appeal to an extremely diverse range of people it is my experience that the majority of potential customers would not describe themselves as ‘computer experts’. Therefore, keeping it simple is often a key selling point for programs like this.
And this program does just that.
As you can see from the main screen pictured above, the interface is rather sparse which I actually think is a good thing. There aren’t too many options to overwhelm users here and the key areas are all quite clearly labelled. If you are someone who wants good antivirus protection without the hassle of having to spend hours trying to learn how to use your new program then you will likely appreciate this.
What features does the program offer?
As a standalone antivirus program ESET offers the following features:
Antivirus and Anti-Spyware
The most obvious and most important aspect of any program such as this is the antivirus aspect. ESET’s Antivirus 6 will protect you from the latest threats that could otherwise cause you many headaches through damage to your machine or via the theft of your personal data.
External Media Protection
This feature will protect you from, and allow you to block, removable devices such as USB sticks and external CD/DVD drives. It allows you to set various related rules dependent on the type of media, etc. One nice touch here is the the ability to block unauthorised copying of your files to an external drive.
Host-based Intrusion Protection System (HIPS)
This area lets you customise certain areas of system behaviour in order to fine-tune your security level. One point here though is something mentioned by a recent commentator here -
“oh BTW it’s disappointing to see ESET’s HIPs still without rules … that’s a weak spot .. however when changing it to interactive mode it does a great job, yet creating rules is a hard work… if one’s sure his computer is not infected then a learning mode would do the job just fine”
If, like me, you play games on your computer then a gamer mode is a feature you will most definitely want. There is nothing more annoying than really getting into a game only to have the ‘reality’ broken by a warning from your antivirus program. Fortunately, ESET won’t do that to you – messages and resource hungry activities are suspended when a program is run in full screen mode.
This feature is designed to improve performance by utilising whitelists of safe files that have been derived from a reputational database. Over time this should ultimately lead to quicker scans of your computer.
If you take your laptop or netbook away from a power source then this feature will allow for intensive tasks to be postponed thus extending your precious battery life.
Will it keep me safe?
In a word – yes – but with one caveat: There is a problem which may or may not affect you – the application may crash if you try to restore a previously quarantined file. This is an issue that is already known to ESET so I would like to think that a fix will soon be out for that.
Perhaps more importantly, in my own testing the program performed admirably against viruses, spyware and rootkits from a variety of malicious web sites.
On the whole I would say that this is a pretty good antivirus program. There are a couple of issues that prevent me from rating it higher at this time but I believe both may get fixed so it could still be worth you giving this one a go at some point in the future if that proves to be so.
This program will appeal to a wide range of people as it is easy to get to grips with due to having such a simple interface. The basic protection you’ll need is here and is presented in a way that won’t confuse or intimidate you.
As I said though, there are a couple of issues. I mentioned at the start that there is currently a known issue concerning quarantined files – if you try to retrieve one it could cause the program to crash. I actually found that this did happen sometimes but not all the time. Curiously, it seemed to happen less often than with the corresponding security suite.
The other issue came as a surprise to me. Historically, I have found previous programs from ESET to be very good in terms of resource usage. This year’s program not so much. Whilst memory usage wasn’t really an issue I did find the CPU usage to be somewhat high as well as erratic whilst running a scan. Sometimes this can prove to be inconsequential but in this case it did have a noticeable impact on multitasking, especially where concurrent internet usage was attempted.
Both of these issues combined have caused me to rate this program lower than I otherwise would have done. It is quite possible that both will be addressed – I certainly expect the quarantined file problem to be dealt with soon – which would mean that NOD32 Antivirus 6 would then become much more appealing.
For now though I would recommend waiting to see if the issues are fixed and then downloading a trial version before committing yourself to buying.
[Update: February 4th 2013] Now that the final release of Antivirus 6 is out I thought it would be worthwhile taking another quick look to see if any of the issues I had have been addressed:
- The first thing to point out is that the program now lists Windows 8 as a supported operating system.
- CPU usage has improved with the final version hitting around 20-25% for most of the scan and my system appearing far more responsive when multitasking.
- The quarantine issue has now been fixed.
So, with the above in mind I’ve marked the score up from the original 3.5 stars. How do you rate this security suite?