- Slick interface
- Very proactive
- Good parental controls
- Longer-than-usual install process
- Large download file
By Charles P. Jefferies
BitDefender was one of our favorite anti-virus suites last year; this time we take a look at their flagship consumer security suite for 2011.
Total Security 2011 is BitDefender’s top-end consumer security suite. The interface has been redesigned for 2011. Priced at MSRP $79.99, it covers up to three computers per year like the company’s other consumer security products.
Industry-standard features such as anti-virus and anti-spyware are included. BitDefender includes several additional features over its basic MSRP$39.99 Antivirus Pro 2011 suite:
- Parental Controls
- Performance Optimizer/Tune-Up Utilities
- File Encryption
Key features for families include the firewall, which prevents unauthorized access to your network, and the parental controls, which allow you to monitor the activity of other users on your computer and even other computers on your network. And like other security suites in this class, BitDefender includes several utilities to improve the performance of your computer.
Download & Installation
BitDefender’s installer file is really a download manager that pulls the appropriate install files from the Internet. I estimated the download size to be 200MB+, which is quite large and could take a while to download. During the install we use the recommended settings, since that is what most people will do.
Initial setup is handled during the install and more thorough than I am used to seeing. The installer first scans your computer for any threats and then proceeds to additional steps such as registration, preferred view (basic/intermediate/expert), and final steps. The install process takes about 5-7 minutes to complete and is straightforward.
Once installed, BitDefender downloaded updates and scanned my computer.
I gave BitDefender high praise last year for having a fantastic interface and I am going to say the same thing this year. BitDefender has a sleek, polished interface — actually, it has three of them. BitDefender is one of the few suites to have totally different interfaces depending on the user type. Shown above-left is the beginner mode; it is simple to navigate and has a Help search right in the center.
Intermediate mode (shown above-center) has tab-based navigation at the top. This mode shows more information than the beginner version. Most likely this would be used by those wanting to keep closer tabs on their computer’s status as well as activities performed on their computer/network.
Expert mode (shown above-right) displays all the configurable options in BitDefender. Navigation is handled by categories on the left; the tabs at the top change depending on the category. Information is logically-arranged and easy to find.
Overall BitDefender’s interface modes make a lot of sense — it accommodates beginners and advanced users better than any other consumer security suite I have tested.