My Review Of McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012


Reviewed by:
3 Stars
On January 29, 2012
Last modified:June 2, 2012


McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 offers many additional features that you may not expect to find in such a product. They add value but the antivirus itself isn't the best in my opinion.

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?
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System Requirements

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

McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012

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Key Benefits:
  • Good rate of malware detection
  • SiteAdvisor does a good job of flagging up suspicious web sites
  • Comes with a firewall

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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.
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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:

McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 virus and spyware protection

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.

McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 web and email protection

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.

McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 data protection

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.

McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 pc and network tools

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.
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Resource usage

Oh dear.

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:

McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 resource usage

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.
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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.
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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.

McAfee Antivirus Plus 2012 offers many additional features that you may not expect to find in such a product. They add value but the antivirus itself isn't the best in my opinion.
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.


  1. Hey! Where are your “plus”/”minus”?

    • Hi KOT,

      Do you mean a rating system for visitors or my own +/- rating?

      • I mena your own “+/-” for certain antivitrus? In other your reviews they are present and are very useful.

        • Ah I see.

          Now that I’m close to finishing off the reviews this year I am looking to write up a couple of pages where I compare all the antivirus programs together, along with some kind of rating for different areas, such as effectiveness, company support levels, etc.

          I thought this might prove to be more useful. What do you think?

          • I think, it would be really great! But please, don’t forget about some issues, that I wrote about BitDefender (you saw that information in my comments for that antivirus… I think, that such problems are important…). And, I will be very glad to read your new reviews and to see your comparisons. Good luck!

          • Thanks Kot.

            re: your previous comment about slow internet – do you think the program slowed your net connection or the computer itself?

          • I’m sure, that was BitDedefebder 2012 (I checked a few times).

            And I want to tell you, that I really liked BitDefender… it were loading only 4-8% of my CPU (that is normal for me). And I think, that this is one of the best AV nowadays. But a huge slowing down my internet is too big price for me!

            I also want to tell, that when I’m talking about slowing internet connection, I mean, that sites in my browsers are opening much slower (even when I turned off some BitDefender functions, related to this).

            A total speed of internet connection was the same (as before DitDefender installing), but was much slower a speed of sites opening (it can be seen even to the naked eye).

          • I think I may re-install BitDefender on my test machine in a few weeks and then I’ll use it extensively on the internet to see if I have a similar issue…

  2. 2 questions
    1) did they fix the false positive issue
    2) did they fix the popup blocker issue

    Those are the 2 biggest complaints i have heard, plus the one you found in the cpu usage issue.

    • Hi Dave

      1) I personally didn’t have any issues with false positives but I have seen commentary on the net which may suggest that this program suffers from that a little more than the competition.
      2) What issue are you aware of regarding the popup blocker?

      • It sometimes interferes with other programs/websites/etc, if you turn it off everything works fine. Since i have never used McAfee and my tech dislikes it a lot i cant say just what programs or other stuff it seems to have a problem with.
        I do know in one computer help group some users have had problems an when asked what AV program they used it was usually McAfee,, turning off the popup blocker was the first suggestion, afterwards – no problem.

        • I didn’t come across that in my, admittedly, short period of testing though I’ve done some searching and have indeed seen a few comments to that effect.

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