PROS / You can install McAfee AntiVirus Plus on all the computers you own.
CONS / McAfee provides customer support by telephone 24/7.
VERDICT / This anti-malware software doesn't live up to the brand's reputation as an industry leader. You can find much more effective malware solutions for the same price of this program.
Editor’s Note: Top Ten Reviews uses test results from the independent laboratory AV-Test as part of our review process for the best anti-malware software. AV-Test looks specifically at protection, performance and usability on multiple versions of Windows operating systems, and it performs these evaluations several times throughout the year. We use the most current AV-Test scores available at the time of our review. It is possible that new AV-Test scores will be released after our review goes live on the site. We will consider these scores during our next review of the best anti-malware software.
McAfee is one of the best-known names in the anti-malware software industry. Its flagship product, McAfee AntiVirus Plus, earned a spot in our review of the best malware removers. But poor performance in AV-Test's protection tests ranked it near the bottom of our side-by-side comparison chart.
AV-Test regularly tests the most popular malware removers on the market. It tested each product against more than 14,000 computer threats. McAfee scored 58 percent on this test – which is simply unacceptable and the lowest score among the anti-malware software we reviewed. McAfee simply isn't effective at protecting your computer from becoming infected with viruses, worms, keyloggers, ransomware and more. Poor performance on this test guaranteed that McAfee would rank in the bottom tier of our side-by-side comparison chart.
AV-Test also conducts a performance test, which measures how well malware removers use your computer's resources. McAfee scored slightly better on this test with 83 percent. This was also the average score of the anti-malware software in our lineup. Because this program uses up a good chunk of processing power, you'll notice that your other activities are slowed down a bit. Loading webpages, downloading files, receiving email communications, and even using other applications or games could all take longer when McAfee AntiVirus Plus is running.
The final AV-Test score we considered when we rated and ranked the best malware removal software is the usability test. This measures how often McAfee AntiVirus Plus flags a safe download, program or website as a threat to your computer. Unlike in the other tests, McAfee scored a perfect 100 percent, so you can rest assured that it won't block legitimate programs you need. The average score for usability among the anti-malware software we reviewed is 97 percent, so McAfee is slightly better in this area.
We looked for certain detection and removal tools in all the malware removers in our review. McAfee has almost all of them. It can protect your computer from common viruses, spyware, keyloggers and more. It even has tools that prevent hackers from seizing control of your computer with ransomware and not releasing it until you pay them.
However, it's missing two of the tools we look for in this category: a virtual browser and the ability to create a bootable rescue CD. The former allows you to surf the web with extra protection for your most sensitive data like passwords, credit card numbers, banking information and tax documents. The latter would allow you to make a disc that could restore your computer if you ever experience a catastrophic malware infection.
When you buy McAfee, you can use your license to protect all the computers you own. This is a significant boon to save you money. The other anti-malware applications we reviewed only allow for use on up to three computers. Most of them only allow you to protect a single computer per license.
McAfee is also one of only two malware removers in our lineup that offer 24/7 customer support via telephone. It also offers a live chat service where you can connect with a representative in short order. So if you have a customer or technical issue, you can get it resolved quickly.
Despite its popularity over the years, McAfee AntiVirus Plus ranked near the bottom in our review of the best malware removal software. Its poor performance in AV-Test protection tests alone is cause for major concern. It has most of the tools we look for in this category, like scans for viruses, spyware and ransomware. However, these features are not enough to make up for its significant protection problems or missing features like rescue CDs and a virtual browser.