Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our
review process here.
We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images
Attractive interface and easy to understand
Affordable compared to other optimization tools
Setup is quick
Installation and login requires disabling antivirus
Automated scan at startup without any prompting
Real time protection disabled by default
Suggested legitimate files get quarantined
It invented virus infections
There's no way to stop scans in progress
There's no warning against deliberate virus downloads
Many reports of false positives and scareware tactics
Scans take a long time
ScanGuard is not only ineffective at its job but invents threats and concerns to scare users into paying for it. Even when they do, its manufactured concerns make it appear far more effective than it is and risk harming legitimate system use.
ScanGuard is a tool that positions itself as an all-in-one antivirus and PC optimization tool with lots to offer. It has a free scanning option and a premium package that offers a more complete suite of tools. However, there are a number of reports of scareware tactics being used to promote the premium version and concerns over false positives. We installed ScanGuard on a test system to see how well it performs and whether its detractors are correct in their assessments. Keep reading to see our full findings.
ScanGuard's client is quite an attractive one, with blues, grays, and whites used to great effect and intuitive menus that are well-labeled and in some cases, color-coded to make understanding the importance of certain information.
However, there is a lot of unneeded information, too. Graphs, and bar charts that look impressive at a glance, but are overblown and unnecessary. It also goes out of its way right from the beginning to make it clear there are problems with your system. This appears to be a core component of the way ScanGuard operates.
ScanGuard is supposed to be an antivirus tool, with the creators claiming it can block worms, trojans, viruses, adware, and ransomware. However, in practice, it didn't appear to pick up any legitimate threats at all. In our first major scan on a brand new Windows 10 install, it discovered dozens of "Threats," most of which were said to be trojans. On closer inspection, however, all of these files were legitimate Windows applications or services. One was related to how Windows handles dial-up Internet connections.
We confirmed that these files weren't a threat with multiple other anti-malware tools, which did not discover any problems with the system.
To make matters worse, when we deliberately downloaded viruses to test the effectiveness of ScanGuard, and it didn't detect any of them. In fact, it didn't find them when using real-time protection and or with a remedial scan afterward. Windows Defender noticed them though, as did our other anti-malware suites. We actually had to disable those just to test ScanGuard antivirus and it still failed to notice the nefarious software.
"ScanGuard was all too willing to recommend quarantining legitimate Windows files that it erroneously claimed had been infected with a trojan."
We only placed a single drive in our test system and ScanGuard appeared to dig through everything on it in its search of (allegedly) infected files and applications. Introducing additional drives would give it more to scan and you can customize what you give it access to in the settings menu.
Although ScanGuard claims to detect every type of malware and offers comprehensive protection against all manner of threats, we didn't discover a single legitimate threat that it could detect. While that doesn't mean that there aren't some viruses it could detect and block, as far as we've seen, it doesn't protect against anything and goes out of its way to point the finger at otherwise legitimate files.
ScanGuard antivirus starts a scan the moment you open it for the first time, giving you no chance to customize what it's looking for or how it's doing it. But it's only a quick scan, so if you were pleased to see a scan taking place immediately, you might think that your system is protected when you resolve any issues the scan finds. But it barely scans anything on that initial run.
To conduct a proper, full scan, you have to trigger it manually. When it finishes, you'll be given the option to resolve threats by quarantining or deleting them. It's all relatively straightforward and well labeled, but we wouldn't recommend following through on any of its suggestions.
ScanGuard claims to perform regular updates to its virus definitions—even though it failed to detect a virus from 2003.
ScanGuard real-time protection is turned off by default, for some reason, but even with it enabled, ScanGuard failed to notice any of the threats we put in front of it, despite Windows Defender picking them up immediately.
When it came to scanning for threats, ScanGuard was all too willing to recommend quarantining legitimate Windows files that it erroneously claimed had been infected with a Trojan. After confirming that these files were not infected, there were only two options for why this might have happened.
Not only that, but the whole scanning process takes an inordinately long time compared to other anti-malware applications.
This is a damning indictment of ScanGuard and suggests it isn't remotely adequate to perform its core task: Protecting the users who paid for it.
ScanGuard offers a number of additional functions beyond antivirus detection. It has System Boost, which claims to find problematic software and files which might slow your system down. For us, this boiled down to removing cookies from our browser, which ScanGuard did without informing us that this would cause a need to log back into websites, or potentially lose form data or other on-site information.
It also offers disc cleaning and web-security protections. The former will clean out junk files but found none on our new Windows install, which isn't particularly surprising. The web security function didn't prevent us from actively downloading viruses, even though Windows Defender attempted to do so (we blocked its protections for the purpose of this review).
At best, these tools are basic and ineffective, but at worst, like the antivirus, they may maliciously look for problems in order to appear more useful than they are. We were skeptical of it finding more than 300 cookies in Chrome, immediately after installing it, for example.
ScanGuard offers a robust support system that combines a detailed FAQ, with e-mail correspondence, live web-chat, and a personal phone support system. The live web-chat and phone support don't deal with technical inquiries, however, and sent us to the e-mail team instead. Many third-party reviews suggest that these e-mails are either never responded to, or when they are, the information presented is not helpful.
ScanGuard's official website appeared completely inaccessible for days surrounding our review, as well.
At $60 for the year, the Ultimate Antivirus protection suite is reasonably priced compared to the competition. The fact that you can install it on as many devices as you like is a nice touch, too.
Considering the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of ScanGuard though, there is almost no bang for your buck here, no matter the price.
Malwarebytes has been our gold-standard for antivirus protection, so how does ScanGuard measure up against it? The difference is night and day.
Where Malwarebytes offers a fast, transparent, effective, and comprehensive anti-malware solution, ScanGuard appears to go out of its way to scare its users, to give them misinformation, and fails to protect them when it matters. Do yourself a favor, go with Malwarebytes.
Ineffective and not worth installing on your machine.
The fact that we had to disable our antivirus software on the test machine just to access the ScanGuard website and again to install it, should tell you everything you need to know; other antivirus applications do not trust ScanGuard. Not only is it ineffective as an antivirus application and fails to block viruses that are nearly two decades old, but it claimed that legitimate files had been infected when they hadn't been. That could lead to a poorly functioning system, while remaining unprotected. We're giving this one a hard pass.