By Charles P. Jefferies
ESET NOD32 4 was one of our favorite antivirus suites last year -- does version 4.2 retain its first-class spot this year? Read our review to find out.
The ESET NOD32 4.2 antivirus suite is aimed at home consumers seeking basic protection from malicious Internet threats. It protects against viruses, spyware, Trojans, password stealers, and other malware. It actively scans Internet traffic, including email.
Additional features include a built-in recovery tool and automatic scanning of external storage devices.
ESET claims NOD32 4.2 is light on system resources and should run without noticeably slowing the computer down.
Download & Installation
NOD32 4.2 is a 42MB download from the company's website, which is small compared to several recent antivirus suites I tested. Installation is quick and painless; the whole process takes less than three minutes to complete. No restart is required to complete the install.
NOD32 4.2 has a simplistic interface with two modes: beginner (shown above left) and advanced (above right).
Both interface modes look the same for the most part; the advanced version adds a category on the left and some drop-down configuration menus on the upper right.
Navigation is straightforward; there are categories on the left. The default category is Protection Status -- it shows overall status. A green icon means everything is OK, a yellow icon indicates a warning, and a red icon indicates more serious issues. Instructions are provided in the case of a yellow or red icon.
Overall the interface is very simplistic and easy on the eyes; the color scheme is visually appealing and the font size is just right. Power users can change the way the program runs by toggling the advanced mode.
In Use & Effectiveness
I did not notice any performance decrease after installing NOD32 4.2. Starting up, opening programs, and multitasking did not show any additional lag.
NOD32's automatic updates did not require any user intervention.
One feature of NOD32 4.2 I liked was how it alerted me when my computer's copy of Windows 7 required updates -- it actually figured out I needed them before Windows told me.
To test the effectiveness of NOD32 I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests.
NOD32 is extremely proactive -- before I even initiated the malicious file downloads it terminated the connections. This is most impressive and exactly what I am looking for.
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 NOD32 install are shown below:
This system performance benchmark shows less than a three percent performance decrease after installing NOD32; this is an impressive result. Most antivirus suites we test show a ten percent or less performance decrease.
NOD32 consumes 50MB of memory according to the Windows Task Manager. Some competitors show slightly less usage but 50MB and less is quite acceptable.
Time it took to perform a full system scan
NOD32 completed a full scan of our test system's hard drive in 45 minutes -- this is faster than most competitors, which take between an hour and an hour and a half to complete.
NOD32 is an excellent choice for home users in search of an antivirus protection suite. It is the most proactive suite I have tested to date, is very light on system resources, and has a user-friendly interface. In conclusion I have no problems giving this product my full recommendation.
Software & Support
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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