Having not had any viruses within my period of usage (indeed I find infection quite a rare event) I can't vouch for its performance, but considering it comes out amongst the top in many professional reviews I feel easy.
I installed this on a Windows 8 Ultrabook (you can download the trial and unlock that if you don't have an optical drive), and though it took a fair bit of time to install compared to other antivirus software, it was worth it for the increase in boot speed after having removed McAfee trial-ware. The robotic-looking desktop widget is also a nice touch but perhaps they could've had a live tile showing the status of the app for Windows 8 too?
Updates are regular, it doesn't intrude on my computer usage and it looks nice. The interface could be a little bit more streamlined, but it's not difficult. Will I be renewing? I hope so!
This is the first time I have tried Bitdefender. Previously I have tried Norton, AVG and FSecure, so I have a reasonable knowledge of what to expect in an Internet Security product.
The only real negative aspect to this review concerns the installation. I run Windows 7 Home Premium, and as a general rule I do not use the "administrator" account. Instead I use a standard "user" account, entering the admin password when required (e.g., for software installation). This is slight paranoia on my part, as I like the security of knowing that, when on a user-level account, no malware will be able to make system changes without asking me explicitly for the admin password. Different account levels are hardly a new feature in Windows, and I would expect Bitdefender to cope. But it did not.
I de-installed my expired AVG software, to avoid any danger of a clash, then ran the Bitdefender install. All went well until partway through the installation. Bitdefender install checks that you have the latest Windows updates. In my case, there had obviously been an update very recently, which I had not yet picked up. So, it said it would run these updates first before continuing. This is obviously where things went wrong. After leaving it running for several hours, it seemed to have ceased activity, so I re-started the PC. When it came back up, Windows decided that I no longer had a "legal" copy and disabled a load of stuff before putting up a threatening dialogue box about how to pay Microsoft for a genuine copy. This was rubbish, as my copy is fully legal and I have the certificate to prove it. However, in the end the only way to resolve the issue was to restore back to a System Restore point from a few days earlier. I then had a mess to clean up to get the system back to a sensible state. I then re-ran the Bitdefender installation from the admin account, and all went well. I have subsequently installed another copy of Bitdefender on my father-in-law's PC, again from admin account, and that was also OK. So, my recommendation to you is: (a) before you start, run Windows Update, just to avoid any danger of tripping up Bitdefender; (b) install from an administrator level account.
Once installed, Bitdefender is actually an excellent piece of software. The cosmetics are all very "aerospace" - all gunmetal black and macho. With Windows 7, you get a "gadget" to sit in the corner of your screen. This is a roundel showing you firewall activity level, virus check activity level and a red number for any alerts you might need to look at. In the middle is a red/amber/green indicator telling you whether virus definitions have been updated recently.
The philosophy of Bitdefender is hands-off, or what they call "auto pilot". This means that for the novice (or the not especially paranoid) there is absolutely ZERO set-up. The software will automatically update, run scans in the background, set firewall access levels, etc. Having checked through (because I AM paranoid) I was pleased to see that most setting are at a reasonable level. You can push them higher, but then you will get a lot more alerts.
For gamers, there is an automatic "game mode", which prevents the software excessively scanning all the game traffic on the network. I have not noticed any bad effects on game slow-down since installing Bitdefender.
For parents, like me, there is an option to use parental controls. I found these to be very good, certainly the equal of Norton Family, which I was using before. I can get a regular report on what my kids have been doing, what sites they most visited, apps they ran, etc. There is also an option to put additional protection on Facebook (provided your child agrees to provide their Facebook ID and password) - this is obviously only going to work for the child who is not intentionally doing stuff they want to hide from you!
Finally, you get an additional application called Safepay. This automatically detects when you visit, for example, your bank website. It then offers to launch the site inside its own special browser, which includes additional encryption, etc. This would be useful for laptop users who want to connect to their bank over public networks, as it should prevent anyone tapping in to your communications.
There is a little delay on starting Windows, and you can see in the Task Manager that this is due to Bitdefender running up, but nothing worse than any other security suite I have used (and better than many).
So, apart from taking one star off for the installation problems, this software gets a big thumbs-up from me. It is particularly good for anyone who wants to take precautions, but who otherwise is not interested and wants to just leave it all to the software. You will definitely be a lot better protected than without, especially if you are on Windows 7 or earlier.
Looking for a cheaper alternative to Norton, I recently gave a trial to Bitdefender.
Although I have no complaint about the performance of Bitdefender in keeping out viruses and other nasties – the program appears to have functioned adequately in this regard - I have decided to return to Norton because of three areas of concern.
Firstly, I found the user interface confusing. This may well be due to my lack of tech knowledge but it hampered my confidence that the program was working (or indeed doing anything at all).
This connects to my second area of concern – the lack of information as to what the program was doing at any given time. A feature of Norton I like is that it tells me everything it is doing, no matter how trivial. As someone with no knowledge I look to be reassured by my anti-virus software. Silence makes me nervous.
The final straw came when the program appeared to be blocking the regular Windows updates. I couldn’t find any confirmation of this but after I removed Bitdefender the updates returned to working as usual.
As I say, I have no reason to think that this program is not a very good anti-virus package. Unfortunately, for those of us who need to know what a program is actually doing it falls short.