The latest in my series of reviews of free 2012 antivirus programs is for Comodo Free Antivirus.
According to Comodo’s download page, this program offers
Breakthrough, patent-pending technology prevents all infections. 100% *
which is a very bold claim indeed!
Lets see how it gets on…
- 1. Very good malware detection rate
- 2. Very good malware cleanup results
- 1. Excessive CPU usage when scanning begins
- 2. High CPU usage for remainder of scan
- 3. Slow scanning
Installation and first impression
Installation of the program was reasonably quick and the database of virus definitions was updated as part of the process. I went straight into the program and was welcomed by the interface shown below which is quite clean and clear. A big yellow icon served as a timely reminder that I hadn’t yet run a full scan of my system with Comodo Antivirus so that it what I promptly did.
The results of the scan on my own system were not too encouraging however. CPU usage during the scan was extremely high (see further down for more on that) and one ‘threat’ was detected. This ‘threat’ was in fact a false positive for a well known screen video capture program.
Also, the total time required to run a full scan was quite high too – over an hour and a half on a system that is very clean, containing Windows, whichever program I’m currently testing and nothing much else at all.
Moving on from that, Comodo Antivirus is a program that is packed with useful features. If you look at the screenshot above and the two below then you’ll see that it offers all the usual aspects you may expect to see in an antivirus program such as scanning, scheduled scanning, virus database updating, logs, etc.
But there is more to be found here too, such as a sandbox for running potentially dodgy programs in, security policies, whitelisting, diagnostics and more.
Considering Comodo’s bold claims about the product I was keen to see how the program fared against a selection of the latest malware on offer.
The results were, in fact, excellent indeed. In fact, I would say Comodo Free Antivirus has the best detection rate of all the free 2012 AV programs I’ve looked at thus far. Also, removal of nasties already placed on a system was top notch too. Its a shame, then, that other aspects spoiled my experience with this program…
Regular readers will know that one of the key areas I look at with any security program is it’s resource usage when running a full scan. I also try opening browsers and programs whilst scanning to see how responsive (useable) the system is whilst the program does it’s thing.
So how did Comodo Free Antivirus perform in this area?
The above screenshot was taken near the beginning of a full scan (5% of the way in) and shows that total memory usage is somewhat higher than with other comparable programs. Additionally, CPU usage is excessive to say the least. In my experience, and I ran a full scan more than once to be sure, CPU usage of around 90-100% continued until around 15% of the scan was complete. It then dropped to around 30% until about a third of the way through and then shot back up to 95-100% for the remainder of the scan.
During this time of high CPU usage I could pretty well do nothing else with my computer – opening my browser took 35 seconds and opening something as simple as the Recycle bin took almost 10 seconds. If you choose this as your antivirus program, and your experiences are similar to mine, then you’ll likely want to schedule scanning for a time when you know you won’t need your computer for anything else!
Comodo Free Antivirus is a bit of a mixed bag really. Its full of useful features and does any extremely good job of detecting and removing malware which is, of course, it’s reason for being. Unfortunately, in my tests, the resource usage is extreme to say the least, to the point where it makes my computer completely unusable whilst a scan is in progress. If, however, you can work around that by scheduling scans for times when you won’t need to use your machine for anything else, then you’ll have a very good free antivirus program at your disposal.
[box type="red"]Download Comodo Free Antivirus and try it for yourself[/box]