By Charles P. Jefferies
Webroot is a familiar name in the PC security industry. We take a look at their recently-released AntiVirus 2010 with Spy Sweeper suite and find out if it is worth $39.95.
Webroot AntiVirus 2010 with Spy Sweeper is a basic protection suite for home users. It is advertised to protect against viruses, spyware, adware, worms, Trojans, and other forms of Internet malware. Key features include real-time scanning, email protection, and antispyware. Webroot is claimed to have a minimal impact on system performance.
Download & Installation
Webroot AntiVirus 2010 with Spy Sweeper's setup begins with downloading a 41MB file from the company's website. The install wizard had to download an additional 67MB worth of files before it completed; this is a larger install file than we are used to seeing. The install is fairly quick once the download completes; a restart is required to finish the install. I encountered no issues with the installation however the process is not as slick as some competitors' such as Norton 2010.
Unlike other security solutions, I noticed no option to select by user type (beginner/advanced); Webroot is going for a "one size fits all" approach.
Navigation is handled on the left. The Home screen displays most of the information that matters, including recent scan and update information and protection status. The terms and descriptions used are generally user-friendly.
I like the green checkmarks and red X's, which are clear visual indicators of whether something is right or wrong.
The Shields section shows which parts of the computer Webroot is protecting. A brief look at the various shields shows Webroot is protecting just about every area of the computer that would be targeted by malware, including Internet traffic, the HOSTS file, the computer's file system and system services, startup items, and email attachments.
By default Webroot schedules an automatic scan once per week; the Schedule window allows users to change this event with minimal hassle.
Overall the interface is functional and well-organized. A bit more emphasis on appearance would have been appreciated.
In Use & Effectiveness
I felt some noticeable lag after installing Webroot AntiVirus 2010 with Spy Sweeper during my office productivity tasks. My computer's processor and hard disk usage was higher than usual while working with programs; this is good evidence Webroot is actively scanning though I wished it used less resources.
Updates completed automatically in the background without my intervention.
To test the effectiveness of Webroot I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests.
Webroot AntiVirus 2010 is one of the most proactive security solutions I have tested; it detected and blocked all four virus files before I could even click OK to start the download. A majority of the antivirus suites I tested have allowed some of the files to slip through; that is clearly not the case with Webroot.
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 Webroot install are shown below:
This system benchmark shows an approximately nine percent performance decrease after installing Webroot; this is about average for an antivirus product. Typically, performance changes are only felt if to the tune of 10 percent or more; as I noted however, Webroot did appear to slow down my computer more than other antivirus products I have tested.
Webroot has a "gamer mode" that will temporarily turn off some features of the program to increase performance; the downside is that system protection is somewhat reduced. With Gamer Mode on I ran PCMark05 and found no difference in scores; I did however notice less lag while running multiple applications. In the end it works, though the benefits are marginal.
Webroot AntiVirus 2010 with Spy Sweeper consumes about 50MB of memory according to the Windows Task Manager; this is an acceptable number. Some competitors use less however 50MB of memory is a small number in contrast to how much memory modern computers come with (often 2,048-4,096MB).
Time it took to perform a full system scan
Webroot AntiVirus 2010 is one of the better home user protection suites I have tested. The program's real-time scanning feature proved to be very proactive; it blocked all of the virus files I attempted to download. I noticed some performance decrease after installing Webroot however I can forgive that because of the program's proactive scanning.
The program interface is not aesthetically pleasing but well-organized and functional.
Overall I have no problems recommending this software to home users looking for basic protection.
Software & Support
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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