Today’s 2012 antivirus review features the latest offering from McAfee; McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012.
McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 has the ‘plus’ appended to it because, unlike many standalone antivirus solutions, it comes with a firewall, as well as many other tools you may not expect to see in such a product. But is it any good?
The minimum system requirements are as follows:
- Windows XP (32 bit) (SP3) / Vista (32 bit or 64bit) (SP1) / 7 (32 bit and 64 bit) (SP1)
- 1 Ghz processor or faster
- 512 Mb RAM (1 GB for Vista and 7)
- 500 MB of available hard drive space
- Internet connection
- Good rate of malware detection
- SiteAdvisor does a good job of flagging up suspicious web sites
- Comes with a firewall
Installation and first impression
its rare for me to say this with any security program I review but McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 is actually a pain to install. Not because there is anything difficult about the process but because it took ages! From downloading the installer to being up and running took around 15 minutes. Thats too long!
Loading the program up introduced me to the screen you see above. Its quite clean and uncluttered and grants easy access to the main parts that you will use. You can also click on the Navigation link, seen in the top right of the interface, in order to access more detailed areas of the program.
As I alluded to at the beginning, this program is packed with features, many of which you wouldn’t usually see in an antivirus program:
You do, of course, have the ability to run antivirus scans. These can either be full or customised scans and can be run manually or at scheduled intervals. There is also the facility to use real-time scanning which checks files on an as used basis.
As mentioned before, this antivirus program comes with a firewall which is obviously a great addition. SiteAdvisor is also a useful feature which will flag up any potentially dodgy web sites before you click through and visit them.
The shredder option allows you to permanently and securely erase sensitive files for whatever reasons you may have. To be honest, I’ve not checked how effective this is when confronted with data recovery tools that may well be designed to recover deleted and possibly overwritten data.
The main feature set is completed with network and quick cleaning tools. The former may only be of use if you have more than one PC running McAfee products but the latter does have some limited usefulness in my opinion.
When testing security programs I am always keen to check on their resource usage during a full scan. The picture below shows what I found with McAfee Antivirus Plus:
During a full scan, memory usage was not too excessive but was certainly higher than I’ve seen in other comparable programs. CPU usage, however, was quite dire, hitting 100% for almost the entire duration of the process. Whilst a scan is in progress you have the option to run it in the background. I performed a second full scan and took this option but the results seemed to be pretty well identical – a locked up PC that would just have to wait for the scan to complete.
During my testing I found McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 to be pretty good at spotting and blocking malware and suspicious links. It fell down a little, however, in how it dealt with them. The program wasn’t able to effectively remove all the malware that was thrown it’s way. Its not the worst program I’ve seen this year in that respect but many competing products have performed better in the particular tests I’ve used.
McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 earns the Plus in it’s name by offering many features which you would not normally see in a standalone antivirus product. Some of these features are very useful, such as the firewall, and they certainly add value to the program.
But the antivirus side of things could be better.
Malware detection isn’t too shabby but dealing with threats already on a system isn’t it’s strong point in my opinion. Resource usage in my experience was a shocking affair and one I’m not too keen to repeat in a hurry. Therefore I’d have to say that if I bought a PC with this already on it I wouldn’t be overly concerned but if I was looking to buy a new antivirus program, as you likely are, then I’m sure I’d look elsewhere.
Read my other reviews of 2012 AV software.