As such, all of my tests were performed emulating what an average user’s machine would be, taking things from there on. First off, the system specs:
MSI GE600 laptop
- Intel Core i5-430M @ 2.26GHz (2.53GHz with TurboBoost) 2 cores, 4 threads
- 4GB DDR3
- ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730
- Intel HM55 motherboard
The laptop comes with a Western Digital 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive with Windows 7 Home Premium and a lot of MSI software pre-installed. To keep things simple I replaced the hard drive with an Intel X-25M 80GB (G2) SSD, installing Windows 7 Ultimate on it and installing all the Important Windows Updates and necessary drivers for the laptop to function properly. In addition to these, I have also installed World of Warcraft: Cataclysm as well as 3D Mark 11 and Mozilla Firefox beta 4. Combined, there was just over 30GB left out of 80GB on the Intel SSD.
So with the hardware out of the way, let’s take a look at what exactly I’ll be looking at in these antivirus software.
The initial contact the end user will have after downloading/ inserting the CD is how easy or complicated it is to install the antivirus software. Almost all of the antivirus software I tested had the option for an “Easy/Complete” install while also providing a “Custom” install option. Even while choosing a Custom install, I didn’t face any complicated choices in any software.
The first look at the antivirus software will be how user-friendly it is. All the antivirus software tested allowed completely in-depth access to various features and settings with scheduled runs, custom scans, enabling/disabling of features and sub-systems as well as actions to be taken upon detection.
These can be anything from a slow scan or update to other random technical issues that may cause the PC or the antivirus software itself to stop functioning properly to anything that seems non-user friendly or frustrating.
This is the actual test itself where I measure how long it takes the antivirus to run a complete system scan on default settings once it has been updated. I will also be looking at subsequent scan times if they vary significantly from the first system scan. In addition to measuring time taken to scan the number of files on the laptop, I have also looked at whether the antivirus scales with multiple threads or not.
Finally I went to certain web pages which are known to be infected, leaving your PC with a Trojan or a virus. These websites were taken from Malware Domain List. Note that many of these domains were being taken off by the host as time progressed, so I was not able to test the same websites with all the antivirus software; although I did try to keep it consistent with Trojan infected pages.