Top critical review
"Once bitten, twice shy"
on 19 March 2010
The bulldog, whilst being synonymous with British wartime spirit, etc, is not exactly revered as the most adroit of animals. I'm sure they make very nice pets (please, no angry letters from bulldog owners) but that funny walk and their droopy, slobbering jaws are a bit of an acquired taste...
So, what the hell as this got to do with the product itself? Well, at the risk of stretching this metaphor to breaking point, I feel the two share more than just a name in common. Having had this for a whole year, it's now up for renewal and I'm in two minds as to bother with this or another utility.
On the plus side, it's easy to setup and keep running (like bulldogs, with nice short hair - low maintenance). Didn't really need the manual to do this, which was a good sign. You can set timings for scheduled scans and it takes care of checking for updates all by itself (I'll resist the temptations to say, "fetch!").
It blocked lots and lots of port scans and found the odd virus infection. On one occasion, I had to put the machine into 'safe mode' to finally get the offending article removed. This still didn't work so I contacted the helpline. I was sceptical about sending an email off to an anonymous helpdesk, but, to their credit I got a *very* prompt reply from someone explaining exactly what I needed to do. No gibberish tech-speak, simple join the dots stuff. Job done.
Downsides? Even after I read the instructions, a year on I *still* don't know how to run an ad hoc scan on an external device (USB memory sticks, for example, are notorious for transmitting viruses etc). Compare this with (free) utilities like AVG; much cleaner interface and great functionality.
Another thing is, when it's running any kind of scan, it *really* slowed my machine down (a Sony Vaio VGN=TX5XN). It got to the point where I would habitually interrupt the scans to allow me to do something else ... even having one browser window open was a struggle. I'd end up leaving it on overnight, which seems like a bit of a waste of electricity.
Considering I get a free copy of McAfee with my broadband subscription, I'm unlikely to renew my subscription for this product.
I wouldn't say it's a waste of money, just be prepared for serious lag in your machine's performance - which, to be fair, I've also experienced with Symantec. If the interface was improved a bit then I'd be tempted.
Maybe a good idea to get something like this if you are an out-and-out newbie. However, if you've played with other security utilities you might find this lacking in a few crucial areas.