PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition

PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition is free AV that distinguishes between antispyware and antivirus.

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now 6
PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition
  • PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition
  • PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition

Pros

  • Good worm detection, decent malware-infection cleanup

Cons

  • Purposely neglects to detect spyware, poor heuristic detection

Bottom Line

In short, there's no reason to choose PC Tools Antivirus when other free apps can truly keep your PC safe. Fortunately, the behaviour-based PC Tools Threatfire 4.5 supplemental utility is excellent — as good as Antivirus Free Edition is bad.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 6 stores)

See all prices

Unlike the excellent Threatfire, PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition, which neglects to detect spyware, allows far too many pieces of malware through for it to realistically protect any PC.

PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition does a remarkably poor job of keeping a PC safe, largely because it holds to a now-archaic distinction between spyware and other forms of malware.

In an age when a single baddie might spread like a worm, steal passwords like spyware, and allow backdoor-style remote control of an infected PC, most security vendors recognise that labels such as "Trojan horse" or "spyware" are secondary to the idea of keeping everything bad off PCs. Hence today's use of malware as a catch-all term for attack software.

However, PC Tools says that its free program will not detect what it deems spyware. And that limitation may account for its awful detection and blocking results. PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition left the door wide open for about half of the malware in our tests.

And while PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition purports to protect against Trojan horses, a common malware type, it detected only 46 percent of such software in AV-Test.org tests. It did better in detecting worms, but its catch rate of 83 percent for the self-spreading malware still didn't compare with the detection results we saw from Avira Antivir Personal, the overall leader among the free antivirus software we tested.

Unsurprisingly, the poor performance carried over to AV-Test.org's heuristic tests, which use two- and four-week-old signature databases to simulate how an app will handle new and unknown malware. PC Tools Antivirus came in last, with respective results of 33 percent and 36 percent (in contrast, Avira, the best app we tested, scored 52 percent and 45 percent, respectively). It was decent in detecting and removing existing infections, missing only one out of ten - but most of the tested antivirus apps got them all.

While PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition installs smoothly and looks relatively good, it doesn't schedule a scan by default, nor does it automatically update. The software will notify you once a day (by default) if an update is available, but to make it do the updating by itself, you will need to turn on the Smart Update feature.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Be the first to comment.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?