They differ in price and in how many features they have, such as a password manager , parental-control software , unlimited VPN service or identity protection.
McAfee's generous installation policy makes its antivirus products attractive to individuals or families with many devices to protect. Still, McAfee's malware protection is a rung below those of the best antivirus software makers, and its security suites do without dedicated webcam and microphone protections, or a hardened browser for online banking and shopping.
Kaspersky 's security software has those features while providing better protection. Bitdefender 's protection is a hair short of Kaspersky's, but its security suites are feature-rich and have a small performance impact. Norton 's packages are pricey but combine excellent malware detection, unlimited VPN service and LifeLock identity protection. It has a two-way firewall, a system optimizer, dedicated ransomware protection, McAfee's WebAdvisor browser extensions, file shredding and a new cryptojacking defense.
McAfee Internet Security adds a license for the True Key password manager and protection against spam. But it doesn't include built-in parental controls , which most other brands offer in this midrange product category. Image credit: Total Protection is sold through retail channels while LiveSafe comes preloaded on new computers.
If you want file encryption, Total Protection is the way to go. They also support Android Wear smartwatches and Apple Watch. We plan to review that product separately. Antivirus protection In addition to stopping viruses, worms, trojans and rootkits, McAfee defends against cryptojacking software that uses your computer to mine cryptocurrencies.
All the McAfee packages in the U. A new version will be rolled out worldwide in Tom's Guide You can start a full or quick scan in two clicks from the home screen; you can also right-click on any file in Windows Explorer to scan it alone.
McAfee's products have a gaming mode to silence alerts and stop updates while you're otherwise engaged. Tom's Guide Yet none of the McAfee security suites has dedicated webcam or microphone protection to stop snoops. And if your system gets overwhelmed by malware, you'll need to use another antivirus maker's system-rescue disk, as McAfee doesn't offer one to consumers.
Antivirus performance McAfee's Windows malware engine is better at detecting known malware threats than detecting new ones. McAfee detected percent of widespread, well-known malware in all 10 monthly tests from January through October But its detection rate of brand-new "zero-day" malware was far from perfect, scoring as low as Austrian lab AV-Comparatives tends to catch more false positives, and McAfee racked up 20 in the lab's tests from February through October That's fewer than Trend Micro's 32 and Norton's 28, but far more than Bitdefender's four or Kaspersky's zero.
Microsoft got Not much separates the front from the back of the pack in AV-Comparatives' malware-detection tests, and McAfee performed respectably well, averaging Tom's Guide That's a bit behind Bitdefender, Microsoft and Trend Micro, all of which scored higher in the 99th percentile.
London-based SE Labs accounts for how antivirus software handles malware after detection, and McAfee didn't do so well in the lab's October-December round. Bitdefender was not tested. Security and privacy features All McAfee security products offer a lot of privacy protection, including a competent data shredder with four levels of elimination. They all also have McAfee's Vulnerability Scanner, which looks for password weaknesses, unpatched programs and other potential tunnels into your system.
It took Vulnerability Scanner 20 seconds to check our testing laptop and found no problems. Tom's Guide McAfee offers three performance optimizers. App Boost finds ways to speed up your applications; Web Boost balances the playing of online videos with overall performance and battery life; QuickClean tidies up temp and Registry files, and file fragments and shortcuts as well.
Tom's Guide McAfee's two-way firewall supplants the one built into Windows, and you can add your own rules. Tom's Guide McAfee's Safe Family parental-control software comes with the five- and license plans for Total Protection and LiveSafe, but it requires a separate download and installation. Gizmodo Is Wrong: We haven't reviewed it, but its features match up well with those of the best identity protection services.
Performance and system impact To measure the system impact of using McAfee Total Protection, we used our custom benchmark test, which measures how long the CPU takes to match 20, names and addresses in an Excel spreadsheet.
Our test bed was a Lenovo ThinkPad T with a 2. Tom's Guide Before we loaded any software, the ThinkPad registered a 7. That completion time rose to 8. McAfee Total Protection exacted a moderate system hit during active scans.
Best antivirus software - Top software for PC, free and paid We wouldn't want such slowdowns while using a PC, but McAfee was actually less taxing than half of six antivirus products we recently tested. McAfee's first full scan took nearly 43 minutes to look at , files, but scan times dropped to an average of 5 and a half minutes as the software learned what to ignore.
That's slow compared with Trend Micro Maximum Security's final full scan of 1: McAfee's Quick Scan churned through the test system in Interface The McAfee home screen displays a prominent white circle and green check mark to show you everything is safe.
You can update the virus definitions and use the password manager right from the home screen. The interface is the master of context sensitivity. As you scroll through the major category tabs across the top, a left column shows different choices and a bottom row shows important features. Tom's Guide The settings link leads to a long list of items you can turn on and off, affording a lot of customizability. McAfee's System Tray icon has links for updates, scanning, settings and checking on your subscription, plus a link to your McAfee online account.
After you agree to the license terms, a quick scan runs, and then the program downloads its other components. All told, it took a little more than 10 minutes to install Total Protection on our ThinkPad. The McAfee site has lots of self-help items, and the company offers a money-back guarantee if its software can't clean up your system.
Bottom line McAfee's five antivirus suites for protect all types of computers from online assault, shred inconvenient files and defend against cryptojacking. Be In the Know Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips. No spam, we promise. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details without your permission. Most Read.
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They differ in price and in how many features they have, such as a password manager , parental-control software , unlimited VPN service or identity protection. McAfee's generous installation policy makes its antivirus products attractive to individuals or families with many devices to protect. Still, McAfee's malware protection is a rung below those of the best antivirus software makers, and its security suites do without dedicated webcam and microphone protections, or a hardened browser for online banking and shopping. Kaspersky 's security software has those features while providing better protection. Bitdefender 's protection is a hair short of Kaspersky's, but its security suites are feature-rich and have a small performance impact.