Summary: People who know their way around their computer and don't require the simplest interface are likely the same people who will appreciate McAfee Total Protection 2010's low performance impact and speed. However, we're not enamored with its poor performance among third-party testing services. Plus, the UI isn't particularly attractive, and its parental controls are relatively weak.
Pros: Low performance impact, Detailed settings to ensure that backups are either fast or unobtrusive, PC tune-up shortens PC boot time
Cons: Not our favorite user interface, Parental controls less feature-rich than competing products'
Excerpt: McAfee Total Protection 2010, the latest security software from McAfee, promises to improve on some of its shortcomings in previous years. The new user interface hopes to give Total Protection a new, refreshed look and the removal of a few less-used features and a few tweaks here and there, really give this security suite a push in the right direction.
Conclusion: I've never seen a security suite with as many distinct security tools. Antivirus is stellar and antispam good, but many other tools are flawed. Wait for the next version. If you're already a McAfee security subscriber, continue allowing automatic updates, but until things improve, consider ignoring alerts to install the latest version.
Pros: Powerful antivirus. Good accuracy in spam protection. Simple design makes it easy to access huge set of features. Most features configured for full protection right out of the box.
Cons: Antispyware wrecked some test systems. Design problems in antispyware. URL logging endangers privacy. Slows system performance.
Conclusion: McAfee Total Protection 2008 definitely has more features than any of its competition, but essential features like firewall and antispyware don't measure up to the best. If you like the many bonus features go ahead and use the suite; me, I prefer a stronger focus on the essentials.
Pros: Effective at keeping out malware. Remote monitoring and repair over network. SiteAdvisor identifies safe sites and links. Good antispam accuracy. Includes easy backup/restore.
Cons: Firewall's default settings are too trusting. Only fair at cleaning out malware. Parental control easily avoided. Porn image blocking is erratic. Many "bonus features" only marginally useful.
Conclusion: McAfee's latest suite has improved malware detection, and its spam filter is much improved. But most of its overabundance of features haven't changed at all; its UI is sluggish; and it saps system performance.
Pros: Powerful malware blocking. Effective malware removal. Accurate spam filtering. Network intrusion detection. Remote monitoring and management. Research-based site ratings. Local backup. System cleanup.
Cons: Unresponsive user interface. Saps system performance. Limited and porous firewall. Ineffective parental/privacy control. Difficult installation on malware-infested systems. Malware removal disabled connectivity.
Conclusion: Compared with McAfee's antivirus, the McAfee suite adds accurate spam filtering, ineffective parental control, an encrypted file "vault", and enhancements to several existing features. McAfee fans who want all of those additions may choose it; others will go for the feature-packed antivirus or for a suite like Norton that's consistently high-performing.
Pros: Scored well in malware blocking tests. Network management adds intrusion detection. SiteAdvisor Plus protects from phishing and malicious sites. Very good spam filtering. Low impact on performance. Offers tune-up, secure deletion, encrypted file "vault".
Cons: Malware balked one installation in testing. Simplistic firewall. Rudimentary parental control is not browser-independent. In testing, did not remove all detected malware.
Conclusion: The latest McAfee suite has a brand-new user-friendly interface and a much smaller impact on performance than its predecessor. It's better in almost every area, though parental control is still weak. What it needs now is a bulletproof installer and even better malware cleanup.
Pros: Pleasant, streamlined interface. Network map with intruder alert, remote repair. Fast, accurate antispam. SiteAdvisor toolbar includes very good phishing protection. Very good malware blocking. Small performance impact. Online backup from Mozy.
Cons: Serious problems installing on malware-infested systems. Limited parental control system is not browser-independent.
Summary: As is, McAfee’s Total Protection 2009 suite doesn’t measure up to the competition when it comes to usability, performance impact, and a comprehensive selection of parental controls. But at $39.99, it’s cheap—almost half the price of its competitors—and users are guaranteed to get new features for free, which will address most of the reservations we have. If you’re on a budget and have faith in McAfee’s future updates, Total Protection 2009 is worth a look.
Pros: Inexpensive, Tune-up tools speed up your PCs boot time, Cleaner interface and new features will be pushed to current users in January, ,
Cons: Unattractive user interface, Relatively short list of utilities, Annoying pop-ups, Long installation, ,