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Easy to use interface
Includes disk cleaner, password manager and more
Versions for PCs, Macs, Androids as well as iPhones and iPads
Fast full-system scans
VPN and ID Protection available
Hard to install free version
TotalAV Ultimate Antivirus provides nearly complete protection, lots of security add-ons and peace of mind, although at a cost that’s higher than much of the competition.
With dozens of security suites available to protect your home computers, TotalAV’s antivirus family stands out with a nearly complete array of defenses that works across PCs, Macs, Androids as well as iPhones and iPads. The free version provides minimalist protection while the entry-level Essential Antivirus defends a single computer and adds things like a real-time virus scanner. The Pro program covers three computers and has a password manager, and the Ultimate program includes priority support.
While it lacks some of the latest self-defense techniques of its competitors, Ultimate Antivirus makes up for it with an array of add-ons. The good news is that together, they make for good protection. The bad news is that the best of them cost extra, making the security program expensive. We went ahead and tested TotalAV's antivirus software to see how it stacks up against the other services on the market. Read on for our full take.
Everyone needs strong antivirus software these days, and TotalAV Antivirus Ultimate lives up to its name by providing nearly complete protection against the worst the Web has on tap. It combines traditional malware scanning with real-time behavioral monitoring to stop an infection in its tracks.
In addition, TotalAV’s firewall can separate your computer from online hackers. Those who stray from the Web’s safe places will be nudged back by TotalAV’s Safe Site browser extensions’ blocking of dangerous sites; there are versions for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers.
On the downside, the program lacks the latest protection that its competitors, like Bitdefender Total Security and Kaspersky Total Security, provide. For instance, there’s neither a defense against having a webcam hijacked nor protected folders to prevent key files from being encrypted by a ransomware infection. There are no parental controls to limit a child’s screen time and block objectionable material.
With links to the program’s scanners front and center, it is easy to start, modify and schedule examinations of your system. From the Dashboard a Quick or System Scan is one click away. It takes a moment to schedule scans to be run in the middle of the night, weekly or monthly.
The scanning choices are flexible with the ability to scan inside compressed files, scan for privacy threats and set the program to automatically scan external media, like flash drives. On the downside, it lacks the ability to scan email attachments for phishing attempts or hidden malware.
TotalAV covers the gamut of threats today. On top of protecting against traditional threats, like trojans, rootkits, and worms, it can block annoying and dangerous spam, adware, and spyware.
In addition to thwarting the installation of Potentially Unwanted Apps (PUAs), the program can block phishing attempts from suspect websites. It can defend against ransomware and a variety of new exploits.
TotalAV Ultimate’s real-time scanner is set up to catch viruses as they are executing and stop them. The Web Shield can also block sites that are known sources of malware.
TotalAV Ultimate Antivirus took six minutes to download and install. After running the 13.9MB start-up file, the program automatically loads. Its dark interface may not feel welcoming at first but is easy to get the hang of. The combination of horizontal visually-oriented task boxes and a vertical menu of major categories on the left add up to a quick route to a variety of tasks, like optimizing the system, saving passwords and scanning the system.
A Settings gear icon up top puts you in charge of what features are enabled with a long list of on/off checkboxes. Ultimate Antivirus, however, lacks a simple overall slider bar for adjusting the program’s intensity.
There’s a backdoor into TotalAV programs with a moderately powerful Tasktray icon. In addition to opening the program, it can start a Quick or System Scan as well as check with TotalAV for updates. It can also show the program and viral definitions in use.
TotalAV Antivirus Ultimate lives up to its name by providing nearly complete protection against the worst the Web has on tap.
If you’re looking to get the basic TotalAV Free version, be careful. There are many minefields that try to get you to pay for the upgraded version. Avoid the box with “Get Protection Now,” which leads to a credit card payment screen. Your best bet is to go to TotalAV’s download page and start with the TotalAV_Setup.exe file and take it from there.
Having fresh viral updates is key to protection. To keep the viral definitions and Ultimate Antivirus fresh, capable and on target, the company automatically updates the program throughout the day and night. As new threats surface, TotalAV reacts, creates a fix and distributes it to the company’s eight million users. More to the point, the program checks for updates before it starts scanning.
If you want, it’s easy to manually check for new software: just right click on the program’s Tasktray icon and select Check for updates.
Ultimate Antivirus' full scan is thorough, but also fast and won’t get in your way. It took 15 minutes and 13 seconds to run a System Scan of a two-year-old Asus P2520L with a Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, which had 119GB of files.
Ironically, at 13:23, a Quick Scan wasn’t much quicker. Unlike some other security programs, this performance doesn’t improve with time as the program learns what to look at in your system and what to ignore.
The good news is that Ultimate Antivirus has a light touch while it’s examining files. The computer is usable with no discernible slowdown.
All this protection runs the risk of getting in the way of actually using your computer. If that happens, Total AV has a Silent mode that can be activated in the program’s Settings. It automatically reduces intrusions and notifications for any app running full-screen.
Like other security suites, Ultimate Antivirus comes with lots of goodies. In addition to the System Tune-up tool that streamlines the system’s start-up, there’s the Disk Cleaner can remove duplicate files and junk clogging up your hard drive. The Web Security utility helps by blocking ads.
The Identity Protection feature works with credit monitor Experian to keep an eye on your credit card use as well as your information showing up on social media and the dark Web. It costs $40 a year, much less than stand-alone ID protection services, and includes $1 million of insurance to help restore your identity as well as help getting new documents if your wallet is stolen or lost.
The best of the bunch is the Safe Browsing Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts and hides your Web traffic. It provides the choice of using the OpenVPN or IkeV2 protocol and has 228 connection points throughout the world. It costs about $40 extra per year.
TotalAV offers full support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for its paid Essential and Pro programs and adds priority service with Ultimate. You can email them or using the online chat window, but they will only deal with billing issues on the phone.
Overall, the staff was helpful with four of the five-questions asked. One, however, went unanswered for five days while others arrived in a few hours or the next day. The replies were generally knowledgeable.
At the top of the interface is a link to the company’s support pages. The site has a slew of self-serve items to help install and get the most out of the program. In addition to a Knowledge Base that covers everything from scheduling scans to how the VPN works. The site has installation guides, tutorials and helps with uninstalling the product. For Pro and Ultimate buyers, there’s even an ebook about viruses.
TotalAV’s Antivirus family stands out with a nearly complete array of defenses that works across PCs, Macs, Androids as well as iPhones and iPads.
In addition to the TotalAV Free, there are three paid upgrades.
Unlike others, TotalAV lacks an unlimited plan for protecting a large family’s worth of computers. Plus, shop around because these products are often discounted as much as 60 percent off. There’s a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.
TotalAV and Malwarebytes are both middle-of-the-pack antivirus applications that are similar in many ways. Malwarebytes uses both virus definitions and heuristics to protect your system, however, scans can be slow and to get anti-ransomware, you'll need to subscribe to the premium version of the application.
TotalAV has anti-ransomware, but it falls short of providing webcam protection and it doesn't scan e-mails against phishing attempts. Where TotalAV shines is in the support it offers to customers, and the number of devices included in the license fee. TotalAV will support up to three devices on a license, which means you can protect your computer, tablet, and phone if need be. TotalAV also offers some nice add-ons, like a VPN and identity protection that when bundled with the cost of the antivirus make it a good value, especially if you're trying to support multiple devices.
Expensive, but offers a few good add-ons.
It may not have all the defenses as its competitors, but TotalAV’s Ultimate Antivirus can effectively protect against all kinds of malware with everything from traditional virus matching to a real-time scanner. While its products are expensive compared to others, its add-on VPN and ID Protection provide a good foundation for protecting your computers.
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