PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition
PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition is free AV that distinguishes between antispyware and antivirus.
- Good worm detection, decent malware-infection cleanup
- Purposely neglects to detect spyware, poor heuristic detection
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.
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.
Join the newsletter!
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar
WD My Passport™ SSD
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
LiTMUS LAB Dakota Side Table
Toys for Boys
Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Device
WD_BLACK™ SN850 NVMe™ SSD
Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker
ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14
Sony Playstation 5
Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System
MSI Modern 14
Fujiflim Instax Square SQ1
Garmin vívofit® jr. 2
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch
Fender Fullerton Ukele
Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush
Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor
Kindle Paperwhite eReader (10th Gen)
Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player
Dickie Toy Remote Control Mega Crane Set
MSI GE66 Dragonshield Limited Edition
SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String
Get your hands on the WD 1TB My Passport Go SSD. Now drop resistant up to 2 Meters.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- 2 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 3 Google Pixel 4a review: The Goldilocks Google phone
- 4 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review: Wrong Number
- 5 LG NANO99 NanoCell 8K TV review: Prestige at a price
Latest News Articles
- Six tips to shop safely on Black Friday
- Recently squashed Alexa bug could have allowed hackers access to voice histories, researchers say
- Reddit, LinkedIn, TikTok will issue updates to stop apps from copying the clipboard in iOS 14
- Apple admits to widespread iOS Mail security threat but claims no ‘immediate risk’
- Surfshark to give away 6 months of free VPN access to small businesses
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- iPhone 12 Pro review: The iPhone that’s future proof
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?