Top critical review
Irritating set-up problems but hopefully it's just doing its job now
on 18 June 2014
I've had quite a few teething problems with this McAfee anti-virus and I'm still sitting on the fence a bit about whether I'm going to keep it on my office PC or not. It's almost, but not quite, more trouble than it's worth.
When I first installed it, the PC ground to a halt for a couple of years. McAfee claimed it wasn't scanning anything ("honest guv") yet the PC went from being perfectly fast to barely responding at all, with no apparent way of stopping it. After leaving it alone for a few hours, it managed to sort itself out, so hopefully that was just part of some special initial scan that the software just didn't want to tell me about.
Some bits of the protection have had to go through. I disabled the plug-in that's intended for use with Mozilla Thunderbird email software, because it made Thunderbird grind to a complete halt- every time I clicked 'Write' to start a new email, Thunderbird would freeze for a couple of minutes before a new email window would appear. Why do I have to have a virus scan when I start a new blank email anyway? So that got disabled promptly. I then found it had done even further damage to Thunderbird, as for the very short time I'd had it installed, the software had decided to move almost all my incoming mail- including lots of perfectly legitimate emails from friends- into a special McAfee Anti Spam folder which was hidden towards the bottom of my archive folder list and quite hard to find. So that was unimpressive.
The fact that I had to uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials in order for the McAfee product to work was a little bit worrying. I know Microsoft aren't always the quickest off the block when it comes to security but I'm not convinced that the McAfee product was going to make my PC any more secure than Security Essentials was doing.
So there have been quite a few niggles. Apart from those though, it *appears* to be behaving itself OK now. The messages that pop up whenever a new external drive is plugged in are not too intrusive and it doesn't appear (now I've disabled the email elements) to slow down my PC noticeably. Luckily I haven't had a virus in the last few weeks either, so as for its effectiveness in fighting threats, well hopefully it's good, but who can tell until it's too late?
Anti-virus software will normally get a bit of a bad rap, because most of the time people notice it is because it's not doing it's job properly (slowing your PC down, or blocking important emails), so I'm going to be a little generous and say 3 stars for this product in the hope that, after the initial problems, it will hopefully now just sit there and do its job.