Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013, the latest edition of Kaspersky Lab's home PC security software, brings a refreshed user interface (UI) and several highly useful extra tools, including a rescue disc creator, Windows troubleshooting assistant, privacy cleaner, and browser vulnerability scanner. Taking all of this into account and more, how does it compare versus rival AV solutions?
Like competing products under the McAfee, Norton, and VIPRE labels, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013 is compatible with Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP. In contrast, Microsoft's Defender, an antimalware solution built into Windows 8, supports Windows 8 only.
The new UI in Kaspersky AV 2013 is touch-friendly and supremely simple to navigate. You just click or tap any of the four categories along the bottom of the window to enter the section. To illustrate how easy this is, it takes just two clicks to start a scan after opening the program.
The Scan section of the software program gives you options to do a Full Scan, a Vulnerability Scan (which looks for vulnerabilities in various applications installed on your computer), and a quick "Critical Areas" scan.
The Quarantine section shows infected files that have been isolated from the rest of the system. The Update section lets you perform a manual update (which is unnecessary, actually, since Kaspersky updates automatically). Last but not least, the Tools section provides access to the extras.
Four Handy Extras
The second is a Windows troubleshooting assistant which helps to find parts of your system that may have been damaged by malware.
Next is the Privacy Cleaner, an especially great tool to have on a shared PC; it helps to keep data private by cleaning out recent data such as Internet cookies.
Last is the Browser Configuration tool, which analyzes your Internet Explorer settings for weaknesses. All in all, this is a solid set of tools.
Something that Kaspersky doesn't include, however, is a two-way firewall; you'll have to spend a bit extra and get Kaspersky Internet Security (which we've reviewed and recommended in the past) for that.
Download and Installation
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013 is a 157MB download. Unlike other suites such as McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2013, Kaspersky has a standalone installer and doesn't require an Internet connection. This is great for offline installs, in other words.
The down side is that the software takes a bit longer to update after the install since it's not using the latest files.
Kaspersky's install is straightforward; it takes three minutes with no surprises.
Activation takes place after the install. The registration screen opens when you open the program for the first time.
Use and Effectiveness
Kaspersky AV doesn't continuously intrude on everyday activities by asking permission to do this or that, something I always appreciate.
Kaspersky also performed flawlessly in our malicious file download test, detecting and preventing me from downloading all four files. This is as about as good as it gets. Some competing solutions can detect only two of the files. Norton AntiVirus, though, is another solution that always performs well in this area.
I noticed no adverse performance effects from installing Kaspersky. It didn't take perceptibly longer to start up, shut down or load programs.
For an objective test, we run Futuremark's PCMark 7 benchmarking suite to analyze differences in the computer's overall performance before and after installing security software. The difference with Kaspersky was less than two percent -- or practically nothing -- and this is consistent with what we've seen from Kaspersky's AV software in the past.
Time it Took to Perform a Full System Scan
Scanning 269GB of data took just 29 minutes with Kaspersky AV, an excellent time and on par or faster than with competing solutions we've tested.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013 represents a good value at $39.99 for one PC per year; a three-PC license is $59.99. Be sure to shop around online, too; often, security software can be found at discounts below list price.
Kaspersky AV is once again easy to recommend thanks to offering a high level of protection, a friendly interface and fast scan times.
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