By Charles P. Jefferies
Bitdefender antivirus 2010 promises basic protection for home users. It has some advanced features not normally seen on entry level protection suites and claims to be one of the most proactive suites around. We take an in-depth look and find out.
Bitdefender antivirus 2010 is designed to provide basic protection for home users from malware. Key features include real-time Internet traffic scanning, spyware protection, and online surfing protection. The product will block users from visiting malicious web pages to protect their identity. One advanced feature not typically seen in an entry level product is instant messaging encryption, which keeps conversations private. Lastly, bitdefender promises to be light on system resources.
Download & Installation
The download process begins with running a download manager from bitdefender's website. The download manager retrieves the appropriate files and starts the installer. The install process takes just three clicks and about four minutes; a restart is required to finish.
A setup process begins after the restart. There are three configurations: typical, gamer, and custom. I chose typical since that is what most people will want to do. The next step allows the user to specify whether they use a laptop (I am so I checked it). The last step allows the user to select their type: novice, intermediate, or expert.
This portion of the setup determines how bitdefender antivirus will handle decisions and chooses the user interface accordingly. Novice mode is the most basic and the software makes essentially all decisions, and expert mode is vice versa. I initially chose novice and subsequently evaluated both the intermediate and expert modes.
Though some other antivirus vendors use a "one size fits all" approach and do not require users to go through a setup, I like how bitdefender antivirus allows the user to tailor the software to their needs. The setup process is painless and straightforward; it can be clicked through in less than a few minutes.
The novice interface shown above is the simplest and easiest to use, with one-click access to basic functions such as update (which is redundant since the product updates itself automatically), scanning, and a vulnerabilities check. The vulnerabilities check is a handy feature and will check to see if Windows and other applications are updated, and whether user accounts are password-protected. It takes a few seconds to scan and works well -- it informed me that my test system's version of Firefox was outdated and that one of my user accounts had a weak password.
The intermediate interface, shown below-left, introduces a dashboard-like interface and has many more options than the novice mode. The tab-based navigation at the top is simple to use.
In expert mode, shown above-right, the navigation is handled on the left; the tabs at the top change depending on the selected category. Again I found the interface easy to navigate; all options are presented in clear terminology.
Overall the bitdefender antivirus user interface is very slick and one of the best we have seen. It is exceedingly fluid in all modes and straightforward. I like being able to switch between interface modes; basic computer users will appreciate the hands-off novice mode while advanced users will be able to tinker with every option. This custom-tailored approach works better than most antivirus software vendors' "one size fits all" approach.
In Use & Effectiveness
Bitdefender antivirus stayed out of the way during general usage and gaming. The software's game mode worked well; it delays all notifications (if any) until the game is closed. The software updated automatically and in the background without our intervention.
To test the effectiveness of bitdefender I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests.
Bitdefender antivirus 2010 proved to be the most proactive antivirus suite we tested (tied with Kaspersky 2010); it detected the files were viruses and did not even allow me to start the download. Compare this to most antivirus suites we test, which allow a few files to get through and sit on the hard drive before detecting them.
We evaluate the performance impact and system resource usage of using anti-virus software in three ways:
Our test system is an HP Pavilion dv5t.
Overall System Performance Impact Measured with PCMark05
The PCMark benchmarks as measured before (left) and after (right) the bitdefender install are shown below:
The system benchmark shows an approximate 12 percent performance decrease after installing bitdefender antivirus 2010, which is more than I am used to seeing. Typical decreases range from one to five percent. Bitdefender's real-time scanning is likely the culprit, though based on what I saw with our proactivity test the slight performance hit is worth it. Despite the benchmark results I did not notice any performance decrease in everyday use.
Bitdefender antivirus uses just a few MB of memory according to the Windows Task Manager, which is probably less than it is actually using but nonetheless a low number.
Time it took to perform a full system scan
Bitdefender scanned my test system's hard drive in 57 minutes, which is reasonable and on par with competitors.
Bitdefender antivirus 2010 ranks as one of the best antivirus programs I have tested to date. It has a polished and easy-to-use interface with several different modes depending on the type of user (novice, intermediate, or expert). It includes advanced features such as instant messaging encryption and works to block users from visiting malicious web pages. Bitdefender is extremely proactive and blocked all of my test virus files from downloading. I did notice a higher-than-usual performance hit in my benchmarks. However based on bitdefender's proactivity, I have no complaints. Overall, bitdefender is at the top of my recommendation list for basic antivirus protection; this software is tough to beat.
Software & Support
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
more than 100 focused websites providing quick access to a deep store of
news, advice and analysis about the technologies, products and processes crucial
to the jobs of IT pros.
All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2000 - 2013, TechTarget | Read our Privacy Statement