McAfee VirusScan Professional 7.0 [Portfolio]

Despite one or two niggling annoyances, McAfee’s VirusScan Professional looks as though it’s the comprehensive tool for keeping your PC secure.

Installation initially appeared to be quick and smooth, until discovering it needed to download 20 minutes worth of upgrade patches (this is a typical installation using a broadband connection).

Designed to work on Windows 98 and up with 32 MB of RAM on a 100 MHz processor, I tested VirusScan Professional on Windows 2000 with more than twice the minimum horsepower. While running in the background there was no visible slowing of system performance; however, opening the software’s control panel was slow.

File scanning is quick, though, thanks in part to a feature called File Scan Caching: the software makes sure processing power is not wasted looking at previously scanned and unchanged files.

VirusScan Professional 7.0 has a browser-like interface, with back, forward, and home buttons — pretty much unchanged from version 6.0.

A notable change from its predecessor is a tool allowing you to schedule scans of individual folders, particularly ones that change frequently, such as My Documents.

But VirusScan Professional 7.0 is much more than just an anti-virus tool. It also includes a personal firewall — essential for those users with an always-on Internet connection, as well the ability to protect a PC during PDA synchronization and to permanently remove private files.

It also boasts instant updating of virus definitions — which most users have probably come to expect from any anti-virus software — but has the annoying habit of issuing a daily alert that an update is available and sending you to a Web page with no instructions on what to do next, despite that fact that the automatic update feature was enabled.

Aside from minor quibbles, McAfee VirusScan Professional 7.0 is a very complete solution for protecting PCs against viruses and other nasty bugs — the only drawback might be that it’s too much for the average user; power users will have no problem.

Estimated street price is $72.

Originally published in Computer Dealer News, March 21, 2003, Vol. 19 No. 4

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