Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.0 Review
- Its free!
- Its light on system resources
- Good malware detection
Panda’s Cloud Antivirus has come a long way since I first tested the original beta version way back when. The original version didn’t work at all well on my system but subsequent versions were much improved. So how does this newest release fare I wonder?
Will it run on my PC?
Panda’s minimum suggested system requirements for this program are as follows:
- Windows XP 32-bit (SP2 or later) / Vista 32- and 64-bit / 7 32- and 64-bit
- 64MB or more of RAM
- Internet Explorer 6.0 or later
Is it easy to install this program?
One of the key points with this program is the fact that it keeps it’s virus signatures and disinfection routines in the cloud. This means that the program itself is very small indeed. The installation files come in at a mere 902 kb and the program proper is only 104 MB in size.
This compact size means that the program can be very quickly downloaded and installed. One thing I would point out about the installation routine though are the check boxes that can be seen in the image above – read these carefully and remove ticks accordingly if you don’t want the Panda Toolbar or changes to your home page / default search provider.
What is the user interface like?
Whether a user interface can be termed good or bad is often a case of personal preference. On the whole I would suggest that the sort of person who would use this program is not likely to be a computer expert and so simplicity would be desired. And simplicity is exactly what Panda Cloud Antivirus delivers:
As you can see in the image above there isn’t a huge amount going on which, to be fair, you probably wouldn’t expect there to be with a free antivirus program such as this. What is noticeable is the huge banner at the bottom asking you to join the Panda community. Personally I think that looks a bit tacky and could have been a simple link, though the community and tech support is actually good and worth considering using.
What features does the program offer?
Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.0 offers the following features:
- Process Monitor
- Behavioural Analysis
- Automatic Upgrades
- URL and Web Filtering
[The PRO (paid) version of this program adds a community firewall, public Wi-fi protection, automatic USB vaccination and VIP support if you were wondering]
One feature that you may want to pay particular attention to is the ability to disable autorun on your computer (as seen above). This is because this free version of the program doesn’t have USB vaccination. Should you be disconnected from the internet then you will find that the program’s ability to clean malware will be severely limited and so USB threats may become a more prominent concern – not disallowing autorun could cause you problems.
Will it keep me safe?
In my own testing I found the program to be fairly good at detecting threats. I’ve seen better already this year from competing products but they are ones you need to pay for. This antivirus program is of course free. The cleaning up of infections is a similar story with Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.0 doing a pretty good job. I would also note here that it seemed to perform very well against rootkits.
The one big issue for me though is the fact that malware removal largely relies upon an active internet connection. This may or may not be a problem for you as the majority of users would face most threats through the internet anyway so the point would therefore be somewhat moot. If, however, you are someone who uses works with a large number of local files on USB drives, etc then I would suggest questioning whether merely disabling autorun will provide you with a level of protection that you would be happy with.
I feel that there is a lot to like with this program and I do have to say that I think Panda’s Cloud Antivirus is getting better with each new version.
Considering that it is free it does a relatively good job at malware detection and is certainly on a par with other programs in it’s market. It is very lightweight and having it running in the background won’t slow you down as you get on with your business.
With an interface that is simple to understand and use I would say that it could be a good choice for the average internet user who is looking for free protection. If you are only concerned about internet based threats then I think the program will serve you well. If USB related threats are of particular concern to you then I would suggest that you may want to perform further research to see if this indeed the right program for you.