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PC Tools SpywareDoctor with AntiVirus 2010 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £40
inc VAT per year for three PCs

PC Tools provides simple and effective protection against malware, but it's expensive compared to more feature-packed rivals.

PC Tools’ SpywareDoctor with AntiVirus 2010 is a simple but powerful program with components for behavioural analysis, browser protection and POP3 email scanning. This feature set is more basic than many free anti-malware programs. The ThreatFire behavioural analysis engine is available as a free download, but lacks the on-demand scanning, signature-based detection and email scanning of the full SpywareDoctor bundle.

The main interface is friendly and uncluttered. You can review your protection status at a glance, while a large button provides on-demand scanning. The management screens for PC Tools’ various Intelliguard components are easy to find, so you can tweak and monitor the performance of everything from cookie removal to rootkit detection.

SpywareDoctor was one of just a handful of products to make it through our web threat exposure tests without being compromised. In 19 of our 20 tests, malware was blocked before it could take hold on our test system. In one test, a malicious PDF file was downloaded to a temp directory but not run; a scan failed to remove it, but there was no way for the file to infect the PC without direct user action.

It didn’t register any non-malicious files as false positives, but it had an unexpected effect on some innocuous programs. An offline Flash game wouldn’t run unless PC Tools was disabled. The GIMP 2.2 graphics package we use in our benchmark performance tests was also slow to load. Subsequent launches of the program were faster, but still took long enough to produce an unrepresentatively low benchmark score for the PC Tools system; it was actually fairly light on system resources.

Although it’s easy to use and provides excellent protection, SpywareDoctor with AntiVirus 2010 is expensive compared to security suites with many more features. It’s great at what it does, but for half the price you can buy a year’s three-user licence for Kaspersky’sInternet Security 2010 , which provides similar levels of protection with the added bonus of a firewall and parental controls.

See page 2 for benchmark results.

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Price £40
Rating ****