|Lavasoft Ad-Aware Total Security|
1. Firewall handles program control automatically.
2. Better malware removal than standalone Ad-Aware.
3. Very good phishing protection.
4. Local, online backup.
5. Tune-up wipes browsing traces, eliminates useless items, tunes Windows configuration.
1. Occupies over 1 GB on disk.
2. Noticeable performance drag.
3. Firewall blocked programs it shouldn't.
4. Less effective malware blocking than standalone Ad-Aware.
5. Parental control over-restrictive, easily evaded.
6. Awkward FTP-based online backup.
The massive Ad-Aware Total Security includes standard security components as well as backup and system tune-up. Most components do a good job, though a few are sketchy. This suite isn't ready to take on the top competitors.
Lavasoft Ad-Aware Total Security Review
Ad-Aware Total Security ($49.95, 30-day free trial), the newest addition to the Lavasoft line of security software, is an all-in-one suite that builds on the longtime anti-spyware favourite Ad-Aware. It adds anti-virus, rootkit detection, a personal firewall, spam protection, parental control software and more. It's essentially the same software as Ad-Aware Free Internet Security or the $29.95 Ad-Aware Internet Security Pro, with extra capabilities bolted on.
Like the other software in the line, Ad-Aware Total Security includes heuristics detection, and so examines complex system behaviour, rather than just looking for known malware signatures. In this way, it can protect against emerging and unknown threats, not just threats that are already known and found via the use of signatures. New in this version is the Genotype heuristics detection system, which Lavasoft claims is superior to its previous heuristics. PCWorld has not yet tested this product's antivirus feature, and thus cannot offer an opinion about this feature's usefulness.
As with all Ad-Aware products, the interface for Ad-Aware Total Security is simple and straightforward. The main screen displays basic information about the state of your security, including when you last performed a virus check and when you last updated the program and anti-virus signatures. There's also a tabbed section for delving deeper into the program, including for e-mail and anti-spam protection as well as enabling parental controls, which are disabled by default.
Note that the first time you run a scan with Ad-Aware Total Security, and the program updates its signatures and similar information, it can take a very long time. It took more than an hour on my system. Subsequent runs took fifteen to thirty minutes.
If you're the kind of person who likes to tinker, you'll be pleased with the many customisations available to you. For example, you can have the virus-scanner pause during times of high system load. Also useful is a CPU load indicator, which displays how much of your system's CPU is being used over time, as well as how much of the CPU Ad-Aware Total Security takes up.While Total Security took about as long to uninstall as it did to install, admittedly, it didn’t hog up system resources or cause the system to choke. I will give them credit on that note, but the length of scantimes really put me off, along with the false positives on the virus scanning. After I gave the anti-malware module a try, I reinstalled with the parental controls and file shredder enabled. This turned out to be a mistake. After I rebooted, all three of the other systems I tried Adaware Total Security on slowed to the point where attempting to try out the modules took well over 30 minutes to initialize and/or use. The only module on any of the three systems that seemed to work with any effectiveness was the file shredder, and that took nearly 6 minutes to delete a file that was 1MB in size. The systems I tried this on had (at the least) 1GB of RAM and a 3.0GHz Single Core Processor and (at the most) 2GB of RAM and a dual core ~2.8GHz. Two of the systems had Windows XP SP3 installed, and the highest specced computer had Windows 7 installed.
Ease Of Use
Lavasoft Total Security has an intuitive interface designed for the intermediate user in mind, but most users, regardless of experience could easily use this application, provided they did not encounter the same problems I did on multiple systems.
The main focus of Ad-Aware Total Security falls under the anti-malware spectrum. Almost everything falls seriously short with this application, the only exception being the file shredder. While admittedly, I didn’t test Total Security against wild list sampling, the false positives that shouldn’t have been generated along with the length of time it took to scan files is enough to reassure me that there are probably better and more cost and time-effective solutions for users who have the security of their systems in mind. After having installed the parental control module, I had trouble browsing the internet, and would often have to wait several minutes for basic pages to load. This should not happen, especially on a high speed internet line.