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Friday, 23 December 2011

My 2012 Review Of PC Tools Antivirus Free v9

The latest in my series of reviews of free 2012 antivirus programs is for PC Tools Antivirus Free v9.
The Good:
  • 1. Fair detection rates
  • 2. Nice clean interface
  • 3. Low memory usage during scans
The Bad:
  • 1. Took a long time to install
  • 2. Very high CPU usage during a full scan
  • 3. -
If you are looking for a good free antivirus program should you consider PC Tools Antivirus Free v9, the company’s new program for 2012?
Lets find out…

PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 installation
Installation and first impression
The first thing that surprised me with this antivirus program was it’s size. The download was some 140 MB in size and it did take some time before I was in a position to run the program.
One thing you may want to look out for during the installation is the toolbar installation prompt. On the whole I hate toolbars and typically am wary of installing them. You may have differing views. In either case, you will be prompted to choose whether to install the PC Tools Defender Toolbar:
PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 toolbar
Once installed, however, I have to say that the new graphical user interface is very good looking indeed. The blue, white and green colour scheme works very well and the way the features are laid out make this a very simple and intuitive program to use.
PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 scan settings
The features on offer in this antivirus program are functional but quite limited and you’ll see an Upgrade link at the bottom of the screen. The paid for version (review coming soon) is much better in my opinion but this free version certainly does a job.
In use I found PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 to be very good at finding questionable files, such as adware and tracking cookies. When it came to the most important items to detect – malware – it certainly didn’t get a 100% detection rate against the sample list that I used. Thats not to say that it gave a disaterous result but it certainly didn’t do quite as well as the other free antivirus programs I’ve looked at thus far.
PC Tools Antivirus Free v9 CPU usage
Of bigger concern to me was the resource usage.
On the plus side, this antivirus program never required a huge amount of memory. Even during a full scan I never saw more than half a gig of RAM being used by the entire system.
CPU usage, however, was an entirely different matter…
As you can see in the screenshot above, the central processing unit was kept very busy indeed during a full scan with usage typically above 80% for pretty well the entire operation.
To conclude then, I wouldn’t choose this program for myself as I’m always busy on my computer and multitasking whilst running a scan (yes, I know they can be scheduled but I like to turn my computer off when not being used) was a virtual impossibility. PC Tools Antivirus Free 2012 v9 isn’t the worst free antivirus program I’ve looked at but I believe there are better choices available this year.
Check out my other reviews of 2012 free antivirus programs.

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