Home' LAPTOP Magazine : October 2010 Contents MCAFEE TOTAL PROTECTION
$79.99 PER YEAR (THREE USERS)
Most people have heard of McAfee: its software
comes preinstalled on scads of PCs. This year, the
company beefed up its PC tune-up utility for Total
Protection 2010. This software makes it easy to
back up key files and folders online, and without
slowing down your computer. While the interface
isn't our favorite, and it doesn't emphasize parental
controls the way other suites do, it's a winner when
it comes to speed.
When installing Total Protection, the program
forces you to manually remove conflicting
security software. The main screen uses familiar
green-and-red banners to indicate if your system
is secure or if something is amiss. Beneath the
color-coded banner, you'll see, in list form, whether
your firewall and scanning are on, if your updates
are current, and if your subscription is active.
Below that is a Features list, under which you'll
find collapsible fields such as Parental Controls,
PC Optimization, Virus and Spyware Protection,
and Web and Email Protection.
According to several third-party testers, Total
Protection is one of the least effective suites in
stopping viruses. On AV Compara
tives tests, it blocked only about 38
percent, almost half that of Kaspersk
(59 percent). Dennis Publishing gav
it a combined protection score o
just 43, well below Norton 360 (80)
Kaspersky Internet Security (76), an
even BitDefender (68). With AV-Test.org
it picked up 87.2 percent of malware
but Kaspersky and Norton detected
about 98 percent.
Although McAfee's PC optimizatio
package shortened our boot time, it
toolset is less comprehensive than
competitors' offerings. Its QuickClea
tool erases unnecessary files, while th
Defragmenter actually just activates th
same Disk Defragmenter program that you can
find in the Control Panel of any Windows machine.
There's also a file shredder. Firefox opened in 1
second by default and in 2 with a full scan running.
And after we ran optimization processes, the boot
time dropped to 54 seconds from 1:17.
Interestingly, when you purchase a subscription
to Total Protection, you'll receive three licenses to
the software but six licenses for online backup,
each with 2GB of storage.
You can toggle between having faster computer
performance and faster backups (the quicker your
backup, the more likely it is to slow down your
PC). You can see the estimated time to back up
the initial set, the size of the set, and the number
of files (ours was about 45 minutes for 78 files
totaling 39.7MB). Later, you can choose to start
backing up immediately, wait until the PC is idle,
or customize settings further: For instance, you
can tell the program not to back up unless you've
been idle for a certain number of minutes or if
the CPU drops to certain percentage of activity.
These detailed backup settings are a standout
feature for Total Protection.
Unlike Norton 360, which compels users to
download an additional piece of parental control
software, Total Protection's parental controls are
baked into the security suite. Unfortunately, the
interface is less intuitive, and the features are
skimpier than some competitors.
McAfee's wizard interface means that you have
to proceed through a sequence of screens to
adjust the settings you want(Norton 360's tabbed
interface lets youjump around, skipping categories
at aren't of interest to you). You can set a web
owsing schedule, as well as select from one
five age ranges(under 5, 6--8, 9--12, 13--15,
6--18). Each age range has a default set of
such as websites with profane
re either ap-
oved or forbid-
en (there are 18
bel). While it's
ou can block
's a bummer
hat you can
eate only one
rofile per one
ofile (Norton 360 lets you create a profile
r each of your children, regardless).
Also missing is control over social
etworks and instant messaging ac-
ounts, the ability to monitor (and not
st block) kids' activity, and the option
prevent children from disseminating
ersonal information, such as addresses
nd phone numbers.
People who know their way around
eir computer and don't require the
mplest interface are likely the same
eople 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. While it will
store your files safely in the cloud and make your
notebook run faster, we suggest saving $10 and
picking up Symantec Norton 360.
•Detailed settings to
ensure that backups
are either fast or
•PC tune-up shortens
•Not our favorite user
less feature-rich than
•Not as effective at
Compared to competing
suites from BitDefender
parental controls are
LAPTOP | October 2010
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