McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2011 Download:

McAfee AntiVirus 2011
VERSION:  Windows 7 / Vista / XP, Single User

PRICE:  $49.99
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Other Versions:  McAfee Internet Security 2011 download
      Rating: Fair
Information Below:  Review, Screenshots, System Requirements

Review of McAfee AntiVirus 2011 Plus:

    By Jay Andrew Allen

McAfeeFairAnother of the antivirus stalwarts, McAfee AntiVirus Plus proved to be one of the slowest and least reliable virus scanners we've reviewed so far. While we were impressed both with McAfee's ease of use and its slate of ancillary security features, the deficiency of its core product makes it hard for us to recommend McAfee as your antivirus program of choice.

1) Installation:  3/5

Installation of McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2011 took 3 minutes and 1 second on our reference computer*. This was one of the longest times taken by any software package we've reviewed to date.

Compared to BitDefender, McAfee employs a limited number of screens and prompts during installation. It's not as streamlined an install as Norton AntiVirus 2011, but McAfee still manages to keep it simple, sparing users the technical tedium foisted on them by competitors like BitDefender. (See Installation Time Comparison Graph)

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

2) Features & Ease of Use:  8.5/10

The McAfee 2011 Dashboard is clean and simple. A banner at the top indicates your computer's security state. A list of common sense commands are available as HTML-style links; click on one, and a mini-menu opens to the right of the command with a list of sub-options. It takes about three clicks to fire up a Full Virus Scan of your computer - not great, but not abysmal either.

McAfee 2011 Dashboard:

View Larger McAfee Screenshots

A Features box at the bottom of the dashboard lists the full suite of protections that McAfee makes available. SiteAdvisor installs a Web browser plug-in that provides feedback ratings on a site's security level and general trustworthiness. If you find yourself in a site known to be malicious, SiteAdvisor's browser icon will turn red to warn you. (SiteAdvisor's major downside? No Google Chrome plug-in.) Shredder permanently deletes sensitive files off of your hard drive, ensuring that no bits of information can be gleaned off of your drive after your computer is resold or scrapped. And QuickClean de-clutters areas such as your Windows Registry and browser cookies cache, which improves system performance.

McAfee Features:

View Larger McAfee Screenshots

One of McAfee's best features is My Home Network. If you have several computers in your home running McAfee AntiVirus Plus, McAfee can network with them. If any computer encounters a security issue, you can fix it from your current machine.

All in all, McAfee's ease of use and full range of features, including a two-way Firewall which is almost unheard of with basic Antivirus software, make it one of the most user-friendly antivirus packages we've reviewed this year.

3) Virus Scanner:  2/5

Like all its competitors, McAfee supports both a Full Scan of your hard drive, and a Quick Scan that checks for key vulnerabilities. You can also run a Custom Scan, looking for viruses and problems in locations of your hard-drive or network that most concern you. McAfee's scanner removes viruses, unwanted programs, and tracking cookies that monitor your Web browsing. A checkbox lets you shut down your computer as soon as your Full Scan is complete - a handy feature if you're kicking off a manual virus scan late at night.

McAfee's scanning numbers aren't overly impressive. The virus scanner scans at a pace of 27.9MB/s, placing it in the middle of the pack in time taken to scan through our 1.0GB group of test files. This was the #6 ranked program we tested (of 15 programs) - but well behind industry leaders NOD32, Avira, and Norton. (See Scan Speed Comparison Graph)

McAfee Virus Scanner:

View Larger McAfee Screenshots

Is McAfee's virus scanner at least accurate? Its reputation says "no." Independent companies such as Virus Bulletin have found that McAfee has frequently failed to identify common viruses. Earlier this year, a major defect in McAfee's scanner disabled network access on millions of machines running Windows XP Service Pack 3.

In addition to the above problems, we found that McAfee only updated its virus definition database an average of once a day. It's impossible to say how many actual virus definitions McAfee is fetching in this update; it's likely batching all of its updates into a single download. What we can say is that, if a new virus hits the wires, McAfee users may be the last people to know about it. (See Updates Per Day Comparison Graph)

4) Performance Testing:  6.5/10

A good Antivirus program should not only protect your computer from Viruses but also not slow down the Performance of your computer too much by using up your computer's resources. We run each Antivirus program through a set of Performance Tests to see the impact it has on the computer. View the results below of our Antivirus testing for McAfee 2011...

Memory Use: McAfee 2011 uses 53.2 MB of system memory. This is the 2nd-most memory used by any Antivirus program, and #14 rated of the 15 Antivirus programs we tested this year.

Reboot Time: McAfee added 20.1 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #7 rated program we tested.

Installation Size: McAfee AntiVirus Plus takes 253 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #2 rated of the 15 Antivirus programs tested.

Initial Scan Speed: McAfee scans files the first time at a speed of 27.9 MB/s. #6 rated program we tested.

Subsequent Scan Speed: McAfee performs subsequent scans at a speed of 56.0 MB/s. #10 rated program we tested.

Initial Application Launch: McAfee added 0.279s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #6 rated program we tested.

Subsequent Application Launch: McAfee added 0.327s on average for subsequent web browser launches. This was the #11 rated program tested.

File Conversion Time: McAfee added 0.44s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #6 rated program we tested.

System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a comparative score tallied from the above 8 Antivirus tests. McAfee 2011 scored a total of only 66 out of 120 points placing it as the 6th best overall when compared to its competition. These results show little improvement over our Antivirus testing last year. McAfee will need to address these Performance concerns in-order to rank amongst the top antivirus programs once again.

View graphs of the above Antivirus Performance Tests.

5) Effectiveness: (Virus/Malware Detection)  8/15

The most important function of an Antivirus program is to keep your computer free from Viruses and other Malware. Below we'll take a look at some of the industry's top Virus/Malware Detection testing and certification.

a) AV Comparatives has 2 major Virus/Malware tests each year. In the most recent test in August 2010, the On Demand Detection Test, McAfee received a 2 out of 3 Star rating. In the 2nd test, the Proactive Test, McAfee performed worse - receiving only a 1-Star rating. Overall, only average test results for these critical Antivirus tests (similar to last year).

(*AV Comparatives is an independent Antivirus testing lab in Austria
providing some of the most trusted Virus detection tests in the industry.)
b) ICSA Labs Certified. ICSA is an independent organization that sets standards for security products and certifies anti-virus software.
c) Virus Bulletin's - failed VB's most recent test in August, 2010. However, McAfee has passed the previous 7 tests in 2009 & 2010. The VB 100% award is given to antivirus software that detects all viruses "in the wild."
d) West Coast Labs' Checkmark Anti-Virus Desktop Certification. WCL specializes in functionality testing, performance validation and Checkmark Certification of security products.

6) Help & Support:  2/5

McAfee's Help system is the worst we've seen to date. The Help link in the upper right corner is barely visible. Clicking on it brings up a window with two links: Help, and McAfee Support Website. The first link brings up McAfee's online Help manual. The second takes you to a "support" page that is really a product pitch for McAfee's virus removal services; you have to click a second link to access the actual support website.

The contextual help links that McAfee provides alongside its features proved useless. When we wanted to know more about SiteAdvisor, we clicked the "Learn More" link next to the feature description in the Dashboard. This opened up the first page of McAfee's online Help manual, instead of redirecting us to a page about SiteAdvisor itself. Further investigation revealed that all of the contextual links simply take you to the main Help page.

Chat and Email support are available from McAfee on a 24/7 basis. Phone support is free only for the first 30 days of your McAfee subscription. Current and former McAfee customers have reported that their support team is slow, and lacking in critical knowledge of their own product.

»Quick Support Links:

     • Online Help Manual
     • McAfee Online Support
     • Technical Support for Home & Office
     • Chat and E-mail Support


FairMcAfee VirusScan AntiVirus Plus 2011 may have renamed itself & remade its user-interface, but many of the previous problems persist. McAfee 2011 still has sluggish Performance, and questionable Effectiveness against Viruses and Malware. McAfee has failed to address these issues for several years now, hence why it is no longer one of the best antivirus programs on the market.

Overall Rating: Fair    (Total Score: 30 / 50 = 3 Stars)

Misc Info:

    • Version Tested:
VirusScan 14.5.130
    • Release Date:
    • Review Date:
    • Last Updated:
April 14, 2011
    • Previous Versions:
McAfee VirusScan 2010, McAfee VirusScan 2009

Useful Articles:

    • What is a Computer Virus?

    • Antivirus vs. Internet Security software - Which is right for me?

    • Differences between Viruses, Trojans, Worms & Spyware

    • More Articles...

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McAfee AntiVirus 2011 Screenshots

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McAfee AntiVirus 2011 System Requirements:

Supported Operating Systems:

    • Windows 7 (32 bit & 64 bit versions)
    • Windows Vista (32 bit & 64 bit)
    • Windows XP with SP2 or higher

Minimum Requirements:

    • 1 GHz minimum processor
    • 256 MB of RAM memory for Windows XP (512 MB recommended)
    • 512 MB of RAM memory for Windows 7/Vista (2 GB recommended)
    • 250 MB available free hard-drive space
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later, or Mozilla Firefox 2 or later
    • Internet connection
    • 800 X 600 or higher resolution

Supported Email Programs:

    • Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, Netscape, IncrediMail and Thunderbird
    • MAPI - Outlook
    • Support WebMail - MSN/Hotmail, or an email account with POP3 access (Gmail, etc.)

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