McAfee Internet Security 2011 Review

Today I am reviewing an internet security suite from a company that has a long history in the security market; McAfee’s Internet Security 2011.

As you can imagine, the first thing you will need to do when installing McAfee Internet Security 2011 is download it. To do so you need to sign up for an account with McAfee (even to download the trial version) and then supply a little information, both during account creation and then again to activate the product. This is certainly no deal breaker but I did find it a little aggravating in comparison to the process of acquiring similar products from their competitors.

I found the installation process to be straightforward but the time it took to download the program and get it running seemed quite large in comparison to other security suites I’ve used before.

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Interface

McAfee security products have a large install base, either because of the number of copies sold, or because trial versions appear to come with many new computers these days. I would imagine this means that many users of McAfee Internet Security 2011 are likely to be people who do not have an extensive knowledge of computers and protection products. Fortunately, this internet security product caters to that market with it’s simple interface.

McAfee Internet Security 2011

As you can see in the screenshot above, all the important features of the program are readily accessible from the main screen. The simplicity of navigating this screen is certainly a plus point and one that would definitely appeal to the sort of people I imagine using this particular program.

One particular aspect I like, though I’m not sure it has much use beyond satisfying a level of curiosity, is the Threat Map which displays which parts of the world are experiencing the highest levels of malware. It also lists the biggest malware threats at any given time. You can see what this looks like in the image below –

McAfee Internet Security 2011 threat map

Too bad I live in the UK huh?

Ease of Use

Using McAfee Internet Security 2011 is easy enough. As I mentioned earlier, all the features you are likely to use are just a click away from the main screen. One of the main tasks you will likely perform is a system scan and even this only requires a couple of clicks. Again, this is another plus point where novice users are concerned.

Another area you may wish to delve into with some regularity is the firewall and this too is easy to access and tinker with. McAfee Internet Security 2011 allows the user to exert a fair bit of control over this area with easy management of applications.

Features

McAfee Internet Security 2011 comes with the usual features that you would expect to see in an internet security suite, including –

  • antivirus
  • spyware protection
  • parental controls
  • firewall
  • web and email protection

One feature present that isn’t so common is the addition of online backup. I didn’t spend any time on this area so all I can tell you is that you are supplied with 1 GB of online storage space in which to store your most important files.

McAfee Internet Security 2011 online backup

Most of the above features are fairly explanatory and are common to most security suites these days. The web protection comes in the form of McAfee Site Advisor which is installed in the Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers. Annoyingly, in my opinion, this is a default position and not an optional installation component – if you don’t want or need Site Advisor then you will have to disable it through your browser.

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System requirements

The reported system requirements for McAfee Internet Security 2011 are as follow –

  • Windows XP SP2 32bit / Vista SP1 (32-bit/64-bit) / Windows 7 (32-bit/64bit)
  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 512 MB RAM for XP / 2 GB RAM for Vista/7
  • 400 MB of free hard drive space
  • An internet connection

Your results may vary but whilst I was testing this program on my (oldish) laptop I found the resource usage a little high and multitasking was sluggish. With that in mind I would suggest that using this program on a machine that is close to the minimum specs above may not be ideal.

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Conclusion

I found McAfee Internet Security 2011 to be a very easy program to use and I can understand why many people would stick with the brand after encountering a free trial if one is shipped with their new computer. The interface is intuitive and all the desired features are present. That said, I found it rather sluggish on my setup and that is something that really bugs me as I like to have scans run in the background whilst I get on with other things.

Overall then, if I was looking for a security suite for my own needs, I’d probably pass on this one but I think it could be worth a look if you are a novice user who wants protection with the minimum of fuss and without the hassle of having to tinker with 101 different and complicated settings.

While you are here please check out my 2012 Internet Security reviews.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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