PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5 with AntiVirus review

Price when reviewed

PC Tools has completely rebuilt Spyware Doctor to make it Vista compatible and, despite a few early problems with conflicts, the program’s modular architecture enables the company to respond quickly. We experienced no problems with the latest release installed on a clean test machine.

PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5 with AntiVirus review

One thing we did experience was lengthy scanning overheads, courtesy of the integrated anti-virus and malware-detection process. A full scan was six times slower than the spyware scans from the previous standalone version. It does, however, scan incoming and outgoing email attachments for infection rather than wait for them to be executed. Using the streamlined IntelliScan option reduces scan times to a couple of minutes.

Elsewhere, there’s a lot to like, such as the silent automatic updates, and the amount of information provided by the malware quarantine system. Then there’s the smaller overall footprint, which reduces the program’s impact on system resources courtesy of the search process functions that operate in the background. But it’s the sheer effectiveness that’s most important, and rootkits, trojans, keyloggers, phishing and other assorted malware threats are all handled with ease.

The new Site Guard feature uses the network layer to provide advanced protection when attempting to access malware hosting sites, so all browser clients are now protected. A new file-protection tool, OnGuard, blocks malicious files on access when downloaded, saved, copied or executed, in order to neutralise threats. This protection is carried over to incoming and outgoing email for clients supporting POP/IMAP or SMTP too.

Unfortunately, standalone products are being crowded out of the security market by better-value all-in-one products, such as ZoneAlarm’s security suite – this costs just £30 exc VAT. As such, we can only recommend Spyware Doctor 5 as an upgrade to existing users.

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