PC Tools Review: Internet Security Software
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|PC Tools Internet Security has a nice user interface and is easy to use, but it under-delivers on consistency and performance|
Although the interface of PC Tools is clear and offers many options for customization, it doesn't perform consistently well in AV-Comparatives tests. It offers a great many features and runs in the background, only bothering you to ask instruction about new threats, but you should pick and choose which ones to run or risk slowing down your computer.
Installing PC Tools Internet Security 2011 is pretty easy, but it takes a little while. You wait while it scans your system automatically, discovering "threats" and "infections." Once that's done, you can customize your protection. PC Tools offers a whole host of "Intelli-Guards": for behavior, cookies, downloads, email, and more, but you can easily disable or reenable any of these malware threat detectors. You can also choose either to autofix bugs or review before fixing.
User interface shows you a high level of potential customization without being confusing. It runs invisibly in the background once you minimize it, too. If you like the look and feel of Windows 7, you'll love that PC Tools' interface blends right in. You can install a browser toolbar, but you don't have to. PC Tools makes you feel in control of your antivirus protection. When PC Tools detects a virus, a dialog box lets you know and asks what you want to do with it.
PC Tools scores all over the board, according to independent antivirus testing authority AV-Comparatives. It scored only 1 out of 3 stars in the first test of 2011 but scored 2s and 3s in the 2010 tests. A historical average puts it at a solid 2, but it's not a reliable average. In the performance department, it scored 1 star, even though it claims to give you more control over the idle scans, so expect it to slow down your computer a little bit unless you really pare PC Tools down to the very basics.
PC Tools has all kinds of extra filters and guards: antispyware, antivirus, firewall, spam protection, and more, all in one place. The new browsing protection is a notable feature: It offers a toolbar, memory scanner, a download and cookie guard to make your searching safer. PC Tools checks potential viruses with Behavioral Intelligence (blocks new threats faster than traditional methods, which are signature-based), rootkit detection, and a cloud-based network. We really liked its scan options: Intelli-Scan checks places where infections are usually found, a full scan monitors all files and folders, and you can even set a custom scan. Finally, if you need to make any changes to your information or if you want to buy another product, it's easy to log into your account online.
PC Tools costs $49.99 for one year and covers up to three PCs, putting it solidly in the mid-priced Internet security software category. However, if you go for two years, you save 20%, making it $39.96 per year. It's a good price, but despite its good looks and personality, PC Tools doesn't deliver the protection and performance that, say, Norton or Eset do.
System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
AV-Comparatives ratings on a variety of tasks related to the antivirus and anti-malware product. "Known Malware" refers to a product's ability to catch pre-identified viruses, while "Unknown Malware" refers to its ability to detect brand new viruses. Older scores may reflect previous software versions.
AV-Comparatives. Score indicates overall effectiveness in a variety of tests over time. † indicates that company did not take part in all tests. See reviews for details.*Averaged 2010/2011 scores for each company's antivirus/anti-malware product by independent testing agency
**Score indicates impact of antivirus product on system performance. Average of performance tests by AV-Comparatives.
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