My 2012 Review Of PC Tools Antivirus Free v9


Reviewed by:
2 Stars
On November 27, 2011
Last modified:June 2, 2012


Low memory usage is countered by high CPU usage whilst scans are taking place. This may not be an issue for those who can schedule scans but heavy multitaskers may wish to avoid.

The latest in my series of reviews of free 2012 antivirus programs is for PC Tools Antivirus Free v9.

If you are looking for a good free antivirus program should you consider PC Tools Antivirus Free v9, the company’s new program for 2012?

Lets find out…

PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 installation

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The Good:
  • 1.¬†Fair detection rates
  • 2. Nice clean interface
  • 3. Low memory usage during scans

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The Bad:
  • 1. Took a long time to install
  • 2. Very high CPU usage during a full scan
  • 3. –


Installation and first impression

The first thing that surprised me with this antivirus program was it’s size. The download was some 140 MB in size and it did take some time before I was in a position to run the program.

One thing you may want to look out for during the installation is the toolbar installation prompt. On the whole I hate toolbars and typically am wary of installing them. You may have differing views. In either case, you will be prompted to choose whether to install the PC Tools Defender Toolbar:

PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 toolbar

Once installed, however, I have to say that the new graphical user interface is very good looking indeed. The blue, white and green colour scheme works very well and the way the features are laid out make this a very simple and intuitive program to use.

PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 scan settings

The features on offer in this antivirus program are functional but quite limited and you’ll see an Upgrade link at the bottom of the screen. The paid for version (review coming soon) is much better in my opinion but this free version certainly does a job.


In use I found PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 to be very good at finding questionable files, such as adware and tracking cookies. When it came to the most important items to detect – malware – it certainly didn’t get a 100% detection rate against the sample list that I used. Thats not to say that it gave a disasterous result but it certainly didn’t do quite as well as the other free antivirus programs I’ve looked at thus far.

PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 CPU usage

Of bigger concern to me was the resource usage.

On the plus side, this antivirus program never required a huge amount of memory. Even during a full scan I never saw more than half a gig of RAM being used by the entire system.

CPU usage, however, was an entirely different matter…

As you can see in the screenshot above, the central processing unit was kept very busy indeed during a full scan with usage typically above 80% for pretty well the entire operation.

To conclude then, I wouldn’t choose this program for myself as I’m always busy on my computer and multitasking whilst running a scan (yes, I know they can be scheduled but I like to turn my computer off when not being used) was a virtual impossibility. PC Tools Antivirus Free 2012 v9 isn’t the worst free antivirus program I’ve looked at but I believe there are better choices available this year.

Low memory usage is countered by high CPU usage whilst scans are taking place. This may not be an issue for those who can schedule scans but heavy multitaskers may wish to avoid.
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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