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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Review Of BitDefender Total Security 2012 (beta)

In my continuing series of reviews of 2012 internet security software I have already looked at the latest products from Kaspersky Labs and F-Secure. Today I will be looking at a new product from BitDefender: BitDefender Total Security 2012.
The Good:
  • Auto-pilot feature requires less input from the user
  • Large range of features
  • Not much else I’m afraid

The Bad:
  • Shocking performance
  • Large amount of RAM required
  • Interface: white text on a black background is a personal no-no
Like my last review, of F-Secure Internet Security 2012, this too is a beta version of the software I am looking at so the final product may have some minor changes/improvements upon it’s release.
BitDefender Total Security 2012 installation
Installation and first impression
Being the epic reader of all things security that I am I have seen some commentary across the web which suggests that BitDefender Total Security 2012 is slow to install. Now I don’t know why others have found that as I had no such issues (other than the limiting factor of my internet connection which was downloading Fallout: New Vegas at the same time {from a legitimate source}). The program does scan for viruses on your system as part of the installation process though so maybe that is what some people perceive as a problem?
Once installed, you are presented with the interface for the first time. My first impression was painful – white text on a black background doesn’t track well with my eyes – but you may like it.
BitDefender Total Security 2012 interface
Features
The program, as you should expect, has the tradition core components of any good internet security program:
  • antivirus
  • firewall
  • antispam
Other features found directly from the dashboard include:
  • parental control
  • privacy feature
  • safebox
  • tune-up
  • network map
  • safego
Its just a small point but of the features listed above, 4 can be onscreen at a time (as seen in the picture above) and you can drag and drop these so that your most-used functions are on the ‘home screen’. Nice touch.
From each of those main heading areas I mentioned above you can delve deeper. For example, the antivirus heading expands into further areas as shown below -
expanding options
Some new features worth mentioning are Auto-pilot which, when switched on, prevents any alerts from being generated whilst the program goes about fixing any issues in the background. Also noteworthy is the Scan Dispatcher which aims to run scans in slices of time when your computer is not otherwise engaged with other tasks.
System Requirements
The minimum system requirements for BitDefender Total Security 2012 are as follows -
  • Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1
  • 1 GB RAM < seems as absolute minimum as I got a low warning message on my 1 GB laptop
  • 800 Mhz processor
  • 1.8 GB of hard drive space
Effectiveness
A quick test of the program against a collection of dodgy links I have came back with 20 out of 20 being detected as a threat so that would seem to indicate a good detection rate at this early stage.
+ Plus Points
Here is what I perceived to be the good points of BitDefender Total Security 2012 at this time -
  • quick installation
  • auto-pilot essentially removes the user from the decision making process (but maybe thats a bad point too?)
  • good detection rate
  • large range of features
- Minus Points
With the negative points it should be remembered that the program is still in beta so many, or all, of these may be ironed out before the retail version appears -
  • some features weren’t available at the time of testing
  • the interface looks garish (my opinion)
  • resource usage was high and made multitasking impossible whilst a scan was running, in spite of the way Scan Dispatcher should work
resource usage
Conclusion
At this point in time the negative points I noted above outweigh the positives for me and so this beta version of BitDefender Internet Security didn’t get to stay on my laptop for very long at all.
Having said that, it does show potential and previous BitDefender products I’ve looked at have been excellent. The version I looked at today is only a beta and I believe the company will get this right with the retail release and I’m looking forward to taking a look at that when it is available.
UPDATE: As predicted, the final retail version is much improved – read the new review of BitDefender Total Security 2012 now.
Do you want to see what the other vendors are offering this year? If so, read my other 2012 Internet Security reviews.

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