ESET Smart Security 4.2 Download:

ESET Smart Security v4.2
VERSION:  Windows 7 / Vista / XP / 2000, 1-3 Users

PRICE:  $79.99

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Other Versions:  ESET NOD32 AntiVirus 4 download
Rating: Very Good   

Information Below:  Review, Screenshots, System Requirements

Review of ESET Smart Security Version 4.2

    By Jay Andrew Allen

ESET "Eset" is one of the names of the Egyptian Goddess Isis. According to Randy Abrams, Technical Education Director for the Slovakian firm of the same name, Isis is the Goddess of Protection. Perhaps - although Isis is more famously the Goddess of fertility, motherhood, and rebirth. Its mythological product brand notwithstanding, ESET Smart Security 4.2 promises comprehensive protection against "cybercrime." While "comprehensive" may be debated, there's no debating when it comes to the numbers: ESET emerged from our test battery with some of the best scores of any program.

1) Features & Ease of Use:  8/15

Dashboard: At its top-most level, the ESET interface is clean and easy to use. Taking a page from BitDefender's configurable UI, the ESET Smart Security Dashboard sports two interface options. By default, ESET launches in Standard Mode, which displays a limited subset of its functionality. A Display toggle on the lower left corner of the Dashboard enables switching into Advanced Mode, which displays additional configuration options for the antispyware, firewall, and antispam features. It also unveils the Tools menu, which is not accessible in Standard Mode.

ESET 4.2 Dashboard:

View Larger ESET Screenshots

Features Overview:
What's striking about ESET Smart Security at first glance is how spartan it is, even in Advanced Mode. Users looking for advanced Internet Security options such as Parental Controls will be sorely disappointed. ESET doesn't even appear to offer a Gamer Mode option.

What ESET does contain are basic antivirus features, including a virus scanner, antispyware engine, anti-spam, and a personal firewall. In Standard Mode, users can't even configure these options. From a usability standpoint, that's good: ESET obviously aims for simplicity for the majority of its users, and provides strong anti-virus protection out of the box. Advanced users, however, will find that some of ESET's features aren't as customizable as similar features from its competitors. The options for the antispam engine, for example, are fairly basic. The entire Advanced Options dialog is crowded and ugly when compared to the rest of the application, giving the impression that ESET wishes you'd turn around and head back toward the nicer neighborhood.

ESET doesn't offer much in the way of advanced features at all. Three of the options on the Tools menu - Log files, Quarantine, and Scheduler - are standard in all antivirus packages.

New Features:
ESET Smart Security 4.0 and 4.2 introduced a series of improvements, most of them incremental. The largest feature addition is SysInspector, a security analysis tool available from the Tools menu. SysInspector thoroughly analyzes a computer's processes, registry, running applications, installed drivers and other critical areas for potential lurking threats. A great feature - for users who manage to find it.

Speaking of buried features, ESET's new SysRescue functionality enables creating a bootable CD-ROM or USB drive on computers where the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) is installed. You may not find SysRescue in the application, however: on our system, it was only available from the ESET folder in your Windows Start menu. But our test machine also didn't have the AIK installed, so other users' experience may vary. (Warning: The AIK for Windows 7 is a 1.7GB download. Zoiks!)

UI-wise, ESET 4.0 introduced a few enhancements, including keyboard navigation shortcuts, and better control over notification status messages. ESET also made a series of hardening improvements: a Self-Defense Module to protect ESET from corruption by malware; digital signing of major components to prevent unauthorized tampering; and password-protected uninstallation. For virus protection, ESET introduced email scanning over encrypted connections, antispam support for Microsoft Live Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird, and improved malware classification.

In keeping with its philosophy of keeping the easy things easy, ESET's Personal Firewall defaults to Automatic Filtering Mode. Users can choose instead to activate Interactive Filtering Mode, which produces a (frankly annoying) series of prompts for each application that attempts to access the Internet. Ultra-geeks can dig into the Advanced Options dialog to fiddle with a wide variety of firewall configuration options.

2) Virus Scanner:  5/5

Despite its less than stellar virus definition update scores, we gave ESET Smart Security 4.2 our top rating based on its amazing Initial Scan Speed and user-friendly interface.

Scan Types: ESET supports several basic scan types: Smart Scan, In-Depth Scan, and Context Menu Scan. Smart Scan is a non-interactive scan that requires no user configuration. The In-Depth Scan performs a full, deep system scan. All scan types can scan local disks, CD-ROM and DVD-ROM devices, and removable media such as USB and external hard drives.

ESET Virus Scanner:

View Larger ESET Screenshots

Like its competitors, ESET also boasts both a real-time scanner and a zero-day threat detection scanner (called ThreatSense.Net) that operate behind the scenes.

Speed: Arriba! Arriba! ESET blew through our 1GB test file matrix in an astonishing 24.2 seconds. That translates to a scan rate of 42.3MB per second - the fastest scan rate of any application we've tested all year. (See Scan Speed Comparison)

Updates: ESET lags behind its competitors in virus definition updates. The platform updates itself only 3 times daily. (See Updates Per Day Comparison)

*Reference Computer:  Windows 7 Home Premium running on a Toshiba Pentium Dual-Core T4200 (64 bit), with 3GB of RAM and a 210GB hard drive.

3) Performance Testing:  9/10

ESET Smart Security 4.2 may not be feature-rich, but our in-house Performance Tests below show it won't leave a large footprint on a computer it's installed on.

Memory Use: ESET Version 4.2 uses 59.1 MB of system memory. #15 ranked program of the 15 Internet Security programs we tested.

Reboot Time: ESET added 8.4 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #2 ranked program.

Installation Size: ESET Smart Security 4.2 requires 356 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #4 ranked program.

Initial Scan Speed: ESET Smart Security scans files the first time at a speed of 42.3 MB/s. #1 ranked program.

Subsequent Scan Speed: ESET performs subsequent scans at a speed of 40.5 MB/s. #10 ranked program.

Initial Application Launch: ESET Version 4.2 added 0.312s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #4 ranked program.

Subsequent Application Launch: ESET added 0.091s on average for subsequent web browser launches. #2 ranked program.

File Conversion Time: ESET added 0.17s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #2 ranked program.

System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a cumulative score tallied from the above 8 software tests (15 points given for a #1 rating, while 1 point is given for 15th place for each test). ESET Smart Security 4.2 scored a total of 88 out of 120 points when compared to the other Internet Security programs tested. This placed ESET as the #2 ranked overall program we tested this year - only Norton Internet Security 2011 beat ESET.

View above Internet Security Performance Tests.

4) Effectiveness: (Virus/Malware Detection) 14/15

ESET Effectiveness rating of 14/15

5) Help & Support:  2.5/5

»On-Screen Assistance: ESET does a good job of explaining its various options within the context of the application.

»Help Manual: Complete and well written. It would be better, however, if the help manual's Search command returned results by relevance, as opposed to alphabetical order.

»Online Support: Terrible. The ESET Dashboard's Help and support link provides access to several support options, including an online knowledge base, and a form for logging a support request. And that's it - no online user support forum, no 24/7 telephone support, no Live Chat application. However, they do provide their GPS coordinates if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

»Quick Support Links:

     • Knowledge Base
     • Customer Care Support Form


ESET Smart Security is a great antivirus engine in a questionable package. While its numbers are stellar, its lack of advanced features and abysmal support make it hard to recommend - especially when competitors such as Norton, Avast! and Kaspersky offer more for less money. ESET's NOD32 AntiVirus may be able to get by with its top antivirus engine and high test scores, but ESET Smart Security's lack of features doesn't make the cut in the competitive Internet Security field. Luckily for ESET its other scores still make it a very good overall program - a testament to ESET's core antivirus technology.

Overall Rating: Very Good    (Total Score: 38.5 / 50 = 4 Stars)

*Installation Time:  67 seconds (excluding time taken for updates)

Misc Info:

    • Version Tested:
    • Release Date:
    • Review Date:
    • Last Updated:
May 20, 2011
    • Previous Version:
ESET Smart Security Version 3
    • Other ESET Software:
ESET NOD32 AntiVirus 4.2

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ESET Smart Security 4.2 Screenshots

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ESET Smart Security 4.2 System Requirements:

Minimum Requirements:

    • Operating Systems: Windows 7 / Vista SP2 / XP SP3 / 2000 SP4
    • Processors Supported: Intel or AMD x86-x64
    • Installation Size: 360 MB
    • Memory commit charge: 80 MB

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