Windows Live OneCare review

£38
Price when reviewed

Last time we looked at OneCare, it was a huge let-down, delivering a dreadful user experience and minimal protection (see web ID: 120456). While OneCare still has some way to go, it’s heading in the right direction, as shown by its score of 88% in our malware-detection test. Admittedly, this was this month’s second-worst performance, but at just 4% behind the group average it’s high enough overall for OneCare to now call itself a serious contender.

Windows Live OneCare review

It’s a shame that email-borne threats aren’t inspected as they arrive. This neglect of email also extends to spam, which is left to Windows Mail’s standard junk filter. There’s no frontline protection against phishing emails, either.

Thankfully, when we actually visited some bad websites, OneCare leapt to life, stopping 86% of attempted malevolent downloads. Its firewall capabilities were impressive, too, making the test PC wholly invisible to our scanners and impervious to attack.

Although this improved detection comes with an attractively low impact on system resources, OneCare still manages to make itself inconvenient when malware is found. While all other packages manage to neutralise threats in a matter of seconds, OneCare habitually takes a minute or more to clean up an infected file as you try to download it (locking the browser window while it does so, so you can’t even continue surfing while it works). Worse, it then often demands that you restart the whole machine to complete the process. Although OneCare is better than it was, it needs to grow out of nonsense such as this before we can recommend it.

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