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McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2016 Review

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PROS / You can install McAfee AntiVirus Plus on an unlimited number of devices during your one-year license.

CONS / The software does not include a password manager.

 VERDICT / For an entry-level security product, McAfee AntiVirus Plus is rich in features and unusually effective at fighting malware and preventing phishing attempts.

In your quest to find the best virus protection software for your Windows computer, few products are more effective than McAfee AntiVirus Plus. While it isn't a complete internet security suite, it includes a rich set of features beyond typical antivirus software. However, features are of secondary importance to protection. McAfee AntiVirus Plus competes at the head of the class, where it wins our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.

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  1. Windows 7 Protection test results from AV-Test, August 2015
    Higher is Better.
  2. 3 McAfee AntiVirus Plus
    100%
  3. 100%
  4. 92%
  5. Category Average
    95.00%

Performance

When it comes to sheer performance, protection and usability, McAfee beats most top antivirus competitors, according to tests conducted by AV-Test in July and August of 2015. Performance tests to measure whether McAfee reduces computer speed while installing and running programs, copying data, downloading software or visiting websites showed that McAfee’s average effect on speed was one second, compared to an industry average of three seconds.

McAfee also produced excellent AV-Test protection results. When exposed to 165 samples of brand new malware, McAfee stopped 98.9 percent of them, better than the industry average of 98.2 percent. Like most of the 21 top antivirus products tested by AV-Test, McAfee stopped nearly every sample of widespread malware discovered during the four weeks prior to the beginning of the test period. It also did so without once mistaking legitimate software as malware, compared with the industry average of three such mistakes in the same test.

In Top Ten Reviews tests, we found that McAfee AntiVirus Plus lived up to AV-Test's performance data. It used few resources on our test computer during full scans. The software requires three clicks to start both full and quick scans, meaning those tools are in separate menu rather than on the software's home screen where you can start them with one click. The industry average of clicks to start a scan is two, which means McAfee takes a little longer to start these scans.

Features

McAfee AntiVirus Plus offers unlimited device licenses across all of your devices. This means you can protect all of your Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices without buying an extra license for each. No other product in our review offers the same level of licensing, which makes McAfee stand out. To help you keep your operating system current, McAfee provides a vulnerability scanner that helps update your Windows installation and your applications.

Just as with all the best antivirus software, McAfee gives you fine control over its scanning behavior. You can select automatic real-time scanning of all files or just programs and documents, or you can select specific items to exclude. You can also control whether it scans email attachments, instant message attachments and network drives. McAfee AntiVirus Plus can boost your computer’s performance by helping erase unnecessary files.

You can select less thorough scans to minimize the effect on your PC’s speed. Similarly, you can select more thorough scans that require system resources and can potentially slow your PC. You can also strike a balance between thoroughness and speed. The software can permanently erase files with a shredder to hide them from file recovery software. McAfee AntiVirus Plus is one of few antivirus products with its own firewall to decide which applications enter or leave your PC. This virus control software does not include a password manager, which is common among the best antivirus software.

Help & Support

McAfee, now a part of Intel Security, offers a knowledgebase, answers to FAQs and community forums on its support site. The community forums are for customers and McAfee employees to exchange conversations about problems. The forums are organized by product and topic, so it is easy to find the place you belong. You can also contact a support technician by telephone 24/7. Live chat is available on the company's support site on weekdays. McAfee scored 87 percent in our installation tests, which means it took more time to install than most antivirus software in our review.

Summary

McAfee AntiVirus Plus protects your Windows PC well, and in fact much better than most antivirus software. Although it competes with antivirus products, it includes antiphishing protection, a firewall and a file shredder, features that are usually part of internet security suites rather than basic antivirus products. McAfee AntiVirus Plus is an excellent option for your short list of virus protection software to consider.

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