by Charles P. Jefferies
Trend Micro’s bread-and-butter security package provides protection from both viruses and spyware. AntiVirus+AntiSpyware is designed for home users and comes with a 100% money-back guarantee. Trend Micro says their software is quick to install and easy to use; read on for our take.
Trend Micro AntiVirus+AntiSpyware provides no-frills protection for the home user. The software is advertised to block unwanted changes to your computer and prevent computers from becoming infected with viruses. AntiVirus+AntiSpyware provides real-time protection by scanning files that are transferred, downloaded, or attached to email. The software updates itself automatically.
INSTALLATION AND ACTIVATION
Trend Micro’s installation starts with double-clicking the installer file from the company’s website. After accepting the license agreement, users must enter the serial number provided to them; directions are provided to locate it.
The next prompt allows users to choose from a regular or custom install; we chose the former, since that is what most will opt for. After clicking next, the software is installed; this took about five minutes on our test PC.
Next is activation, which requires navigation through several prompts.
Users must create an account with Trend Micro in order to activate their software. Trend Micro is the only anti-virus software package I tested that requires users to do this.
Installation and activation are now complete. The process takes about ten minutes to perform, which is slightly longer than other suites I tested due to the lengthier activation process.
Trend Micro AntiVirus+AntiSpyware has a simple interface; there are relatively few options that can be changed, which is a positive from the average user’s point of view. Information is displayed very clearly without any unnecessary statistics. A navigation bar on the left displays categories and the selected category is displayed in the larger right pane. I did not care for the “Upgrade to Pro” button in the navigation bar – I already purchased a product so seeing an ad for another is like getting a new computer loaded with unwanted software. It is a minor detail only, however.
It was easy to see the software wanted my attention when I opened it for the first time; the “Not yet updated” information message at the top was quite obvious. Clicking on “Update Now” brought up the manual update window and started the process:
Trend Micro updates itself automatically and without user interaction; I performed this process to see how it was done.
After the update, the “Not yet updated” message was replaced with “Protected”:
In the Controls category, users can change protection settings and manage exceptions. Custom scans can be set up and scheduled and files in quarantine can be viewed here.
The Settings category displays additional settings; this is where non-protection related preferences can be set, such as those pertaining to updates and security warnings.
One setting worth noting is the “Trend Micro Data Network”; this is Trend Micro’s version of what other anti-virus providers have – a worldwide network of computers running the software. Trend Micro does submit information to a central network, but none of it is personally identifiable and is used for protection purposes.
Trend Micro’s interface has only one display mode; there are no basic and advanced versions as with other anti-virus products. The software designers did a good job of including all the necessary information and settings yet keep the interface clean and simple.
IN USE AND EFFECTIVENESS
Trend Micro AntiVirus+AntiSpyware remained in the background and did not interfere with Internet browsing or email. Updates are performed silently and in the background.
I tested the effectiveness of AntiVirus+AntiSpyware by using several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. The four files provided for download, which have different extensions including .com, .zip, and .txt, contain viruses. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests. Good antivirus software should detect the files as threats.
I downloaded the files to a location and then scanned them; Trend Micro AntiVirus+AntiSpyware successfully detected all four as malicious and promptly quarantined them with no further action required by the user.
Information on the threats is found in the Quarantine section of the program, under the Controls category.
While Trend Micro detected and dealt with the threats, I would have liked to have seen the software take a more aggressive stance on protection. Other anti-virus solutions we tested detected the files immediately and denied us from even downloading them.
We evaluate the performance impact and system resource usage of using antivirus software in three ways:
- Overall system performance measured before and after installation using PCMark05, a system benchmark suite
- Memory footprint
- Time it took to perform a full system scan
Our test system is an Acer Aspire 5735-4744; it has the following specifications:
- Intel Pentium Dual-Core T3200 (2.0GHz/1MB L2/667MHz FSB)
- 2GB DDR2-667 RAM
- 160GB 5400RPM Fujitsu hard drive
- Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, stock install with all updates and Search disabled
- Atheros 802.11 Draft-N wireless
Overall System Performance Impact measured with PCMark05
Prior to installing Trend Micro AntiVirus+AntiSpyware, the notebook had the following performance:
After installing the software, I ran the benchmark again:
The performance decrease is relatively small, only 6.25 percent. This is slightly more than other anti-virus solutions we tested, but the difference is not significant. A performance decrease of 6.25 percent would be unnoticeable during daily use; our test PC felt just as snappy with Trend Micro as without.
The Task Manager reports Trend Micro using only 2MB of memory; I was unable to determine exactly how much memory it used. However, our system memory usage did not change much at all so it is safe to conclude that Trend Micro is light on memory, which is a good thing.
Time it took to perform a full system scan
A full scan of our test system’s hard drive containing 37GB of data took 29 minutes. This is significantly longer than Kaspersky at 15 minutes 40 seconds, but faster than McAfee, which took over 30 minutes.
Trend Micro AntiVirus+AntiSpyware provides satisfactory protection for the home user. It successfully detected viruses in our testing and promptly quarantined them. I do wish the protection offered was more pro-active; some anti-virus solutions we tested detected the test virus files before they were even downloaded; Trend Micro did not. On a positive note, I liked how the software was non-intrusive and remained in the background; updates are automatic and silent. The program’s interface is simple yet attractive and easy to navigate. System performance impact was negligible and did not noticeably slow our test PC down. Overall, we find no reason to fault the software since it performs as advertised, and give it our recommendation.
- Successfully detected and dealt with threats
- Simple interface
- Non-intrustive, remains in the background
- Automatic updates
- Minimal system performance impact
- Not as pro-active as other anti-virus solutions
- Virus scans take longer than competing anti-virus solutions