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Clean, intuitive design
Fast scans with plenty of customization options
Frequent updates to different anti-malware engines
Protects against a variety of threats
Performed well in our bespoke virus attack tests
Game booster does actually improve in-game performance
Plenty of support options
Interface has some unusable features
Per-device cost is higher than competition
Some false positives noted in third-party test results
Support limited to Windows operating system
BullGuard Antivirus is an effective anti-malware solution with some useful extras at an affordable price tag. And while the interface has unusable tools and features, there are plenty of support options, it performs fast scans and it faired well in our virus attack tests.
BullGuard Antivirus is an entry-level product with a robust set of features and an affordable price tag. While you can only install it on Windows machines (BullGuard's other products are more cross-platform friendly) and only on a single device with the basic license, if that's all you need, it should be a great pick. Let's see how it performs under our microscope.
BullGuard Antivirus might be entry-level in BullGuard's lineup, but it takes its anti-malware protection seriously. It covers traditional threats and much more recent ones, including web-based man-in-the-middle attacks, emailed viral attachments, and nefarious links.
You can also utilize deep customization options in the scan settings, letting you tweak what's being looked for, where, and how it's responded too if and when anything is found.
Along with being able to tweak what BullGuard Antivirus is looking for, users also have the option of tweaking to their personal taste and deciding where it should focus its attention. By default, it will look at your entire boot drive, but you can also have it target other drives, specific sectors of those drives, and whether more volatile portions of your system are targeted, too.
With the settings options you can have BullGuard Antivirus investigate the memory boot sector, the registry, look for rootkits, and dig through your cookies. You can also customize whether it exclusively looks at files and folders based on its database of signatures, or also factors in other aspects such as user and application behavior monitoring, web traffic, and e-mail.
BullGuard Antivirus has protections in place for for all manner of threats, including viruses, worms, spyware, adware, exploit kits, and ransomware. Its web protection should also help you avoid cryptojackers, although those are more likely to slip under the radar as some websites can use such tools as legitimate alternatives to advertising.
The BullGuard Antivirus scanning function can be started with just a couple of clicks, depending on how much control you want over what it's looking for and where. Scans can be as automated or as complicated and personal as you want them, thanks to the intuitive and in-depth options and settings menu which is also within easy reach.
Other tools are also readily available and have their own options and settings which can be accessed through a simple drop-down menu.
The BullGuard user interface is clean and intuitive with obvious buttons for each of its respective sections, easy access to the various settings and options menus, and useful explanations for what everything does. We just wish there was a little more ability to customize the menu window, or at least tailor it exclusively to the product that we purchased.
The main window fits everything into a single pain, with all sorts of additional protective tools, but you have to scroll the menu to see them all. We'd have liked to be able to increase the size of the window to see everything at once, but that option isn't there.
Likewise, as much as we understand BullGuard wanting to show you all the great services and tools you're missing out on by opting for this package over its more comprehensive protective solutions, it's aggravating to see the menu taken up by six buttons that cannot be used and simply say Upgrade Now on them. That's 200 percent more inactive buttons than active ones and it seems wasteful and slightly pushy.
It's good that there isn't an option to turn off updates, which could leave the unwary vulnerable to attack.
The default update schedule for BullGuard Antivirus is every two hours, web-connection depending. But you can customize that, too. Options range from every hour, to every 24 hours. We would have liked to have seen an option for every 15 minutes for the most security conscious, but it's good that there isn't an option to turn off updates, which could leave the unwary vulnerable to attack.
Scans in BullGuard Antivirus are quick and capable. Our scan tests picked up the viruses we'd loaded our system with – including one we'd forgotten about in a hidden appdata folder – and blocked us from downloading malicious attachments. The web protection prevented us from visiting dodgy websites and when we ran manual scans, they performed relatively quickly, even when running on an older hard drive.
BullGuard should be a fast and useful tool for anyone, no matter what drives you're running or how old your system is. Scans will be faster on newer, SSD-based systems, but there's no reason to fear installing BullGuard Antivirus if you're running an older laptop or similar.
BullGuard Antivirus can be set up as a fully-automated tool that runs out of sight with scheduled scans and updates, or you can handle it manually and customize it every time it runs. It's entirely up to you.
BullGuard should be a fast and useful tool for anyone, no matter what drives you're running or how old your system is.
BullGuard Antivirus doesn't have the full suite of tools that the more expensive BullGuard products do, but it still has a couple of useful extras.
The Vulnerability Checker looks over whether Wi-Fi is secure, whether you have autorun programs on and whether Windows and drivers are up to date. It gives you a quick health check when run that can then encourage you to look into certain aspects of your system more closely.
Game booster drops system resources when fullscreen apps are launched and tries to push more of your systems power to run games better. But it cannot function on systems with fewer than 4 CPU cores.
While we're usually sceptical of such optimizing software, British system builder, Chillblast, conducted some testing of antivirus software's effects on performance in game and found that BullGuard's Game Booster does have a positive effect.
Safe web browsing is another useful feature with BullGuard Antivirus. It makes sure that only malware-free search results are shown on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, as well as Facebook.
Apart from speaking to a real person on the phone, BullGuard offers just about every support service you could ask for. That includes an active forum, an e-mail support team and live-chat service that respond 24-hours, seven days a week, and there are detailed guides and troubleshooting wizards to walk you through your problem step by step.
The default cost of BullGuard Antivirus is $30 for a single Windows PC. That's not a bad price, but if you want to protect multiple systems, it's not the cheapest of the options out there. There are no options for additional devices on the same product, so you'd have to buy a full, $30 extra, on an entirely different account.
There are options to extend your subscription for one, two, and three years, with each subsequent year costing 50 percent less than the last, making the three year subscription the most affordable, but again, there are other, more comprehensive solutions that cost just as much if not less and offer better deals for multiple devices.
BullGuard is relatively comparable to Malwarebytes when it comes to its detection and scanning. Where it doesn't measure up though, is in its value and design. Malwarebytes offers a cleaner interface with no wasted elements, a similar selection of additional protections, and cheaper upgrades for multiple devices.
Good, but not great.
BullGuard is an effective antivirus solution and we really liked how useful the Game Boost feature could be, but it tries to sell you on so many extras in its cluttered interface, that it makes you feel like you're missing something, even if none of those extras are related to security. If you're just looking to protect a single, Windows PC, it's a decent option, but if you have more than one or different operating systems that you want to protect, BullGuard's other products are better.