Review: PC Tools iAntiVirus

Easy to use, free virus checker. (September 2nd, 2009)

iAntiVirus from PC Tools protects your Mac against Mac-specific malware, keyloggers, viruses, Trojans, and other threats while running quietly in the background on Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6.

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Product Manufacturer: PC Tools

Price: Free-$29.95 - $649.00

The Good

  • Simple intuitive interface.
    Uses minimal system resources.
    Real time protection.

The Bad

  • No audible alarm for infections.
    Infection alert window closes itself quickly.
    Automatic hide dock icon setting also prevents the Mac from showing the iAntiVirus menu bar.
    Some interface oddities.

iAntiVirus iAntiVirus from PC Tools protects your Mac against Mac-specific malware, keyloggers, viruses, Trojans, and other threats while running quietly in the background on Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6. iAntiVirus automatically sets itself to run every time your computer boots up and you can access it right from your menu bar.

iantivirus-menu.jpg


iAntiVirus 1.35 can function in any of three modes. You can use it to scan your entire computer or designated parts of it, including archived files. It also features real time protection. As long as you set the Protect my Mac button in the main screen is set to ON, the instant you start to download an infected file, iAntiVirus scans it and quarantines the threat.

 Main Window


Main Window

Finally, you can drag and drop files into the dock icon and automatically scan them. This doesn't in any way disturb the file's original location or status, unless it is infected, in which case it is automatically quarantined.

 Quarantine Window


Quarantine Window

Quarantined files are easily removed, with just one click. Just press the "Click here to manage Quarantined" option in the Status and Summary section of the main screen.

You can download the free full version of iAntiVirus; there are no ads or pop-ups included in the program. The unlicensed, free version also has access to unlimited Smart (automatic) Updates and program updates. The real benefit of purchasing the license is 24/7 phone and technical support. I could see this being useful for commercial applications, but for the average work-a-day and personal users of this program, PC Tools have nicely programmed themselves right out of a profit. The program runs so smoothly that technical support doesn't seem necessary.

Protect My Mac

When I downloaded a series of test files with the Protect my Mac option activated, the program twigged the infection immediately, before I'd even had time to select Open or Save As. A gray pop-up window appeared to let me know the threat had been detected and quarantined, then disappeared almost as quickly as it came. Some sort of audible alarm to draw my attention to the window, especially as I use dual monitors, is sorely missed. By the same reasoning, it would be nice for the alert pop-up to stay in place until I closed it.

Scan Completed


Scan Completed Window


Despite the relative paucity of threats against Mac computers, it's a bit creepy downloading an infected file even with the software installed. Activating the Protect my Mac section does give an alarm if any further threats are encountered, but it doesn't note threats already in place on your computer; only a scan can do that.

Quick, Normal and Custom Scans

Click the "Scan My Mac" button from the iAntiVirus main menu to reach the Scan screen, where you can select between quick, normal and custom scans.

Quick Scan


Quick Scan Window


The quick scan option checks a limited amount of files where infections are most likely found and, if encountered, quarantines the infected files immediately. The scan takes under two minutes on most computers and runs quietly in the background, producing no noticeable slowing or decrease in performance of other programs.

Quick Scan


Select Type of Scan


Once completed, the scan displays its "Scan Completed" report until it happens to come to your attention. This is another place where an audible alarm, even a discrete chime, would be useful and appreciated. One good note: When the program runs a regularly scheduled scan on its own, it does bring the iAntiVirus window to the top and a notice stays in place until you close it, letting you know the results of the scan.

 Quick Scan Summary Window


Quick Scan Summary Window


The normal scan searches every object and archive on your computer thoroughly. This can take two hours or more, depending on how much you've got lurking on your hard drive. Again, iAntiVirus's lightweight nature pays off; the scan doesn't noticeably slow your system down.

The custom scan option allows you to add files, archives, or folders. You click the plus (+) button and navigate to the desired files you want scanned. If you choose a specific folder, you scan all of the subfolders as well.

Updates

One of the biggest antivirus software issues is staying up to date on the latest emerging threats. iAntiVirus allows you to schedule automatic software updates and threat databases at a frequency you determine. A convenient Smart Update button sits in the upper right of the main screen. One click and it automatically downloads and installs any new updates, or notifies you that your version is current.

Vanishing Preference

Finally, if you uncheck the Do not show the iAntiVirus dock icon in the Preferences--which is, oddly enough, accessed by clicking on "Click here to view history" in the main menu--you can drag files or folders to the iAntivirus icon in your dock and the program automatically scans them.

iantivirus-menu.jpg


Preferences Window


Enabling the dock icon has a second benefit: The iAntivirus icon in the menu bar also appears. The hidden icon sometimes takes the menu bar with it, making you unable to access the Preferences menu directly from the iAntivirus menu.

Light, Fast, and Simple

In conclusion, the iAntiVirus software is so easy to use that the PDF guide included with your download is unnecessary. You don't even have to worry about setting the program to run when your computer boots; it does so automatically. iAntiVirus is also light on system resources, so there's no reason not to own it, especially since it's free. You can purchase the $29.95 license with 24/7 support on one computer, or for $649.00 for installation on 50 computers. The commercial licenses include one-year subscriptions to support and need to be re-purchased each year.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Lisa Maloney


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