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Rating: 5/5 1 Votes

Software Review: McAfee Internet Security

This is probably going to be the first review you will have ever read about not just one version of a product, but the ENTIRE line of the product from day one. I'm going to tell you my experiences, and those of my customers with the entire McAfee Internet Security suite, and anti-virus product up to version 2009.

The Initial Encounter

The first time I ever came across McAfee was on an HP Pavilion I got back in 1995. Yes the same one I did the keyboard cleaning video about! Back then viruses were usually only spread via sneaker-net,downloading things you should'nt have, and email viruses were just starting to be popular. Well, long story short I had fallen victim to a little critter that infected via a malformed wav file. I was a bit ticked that my anti-virus software did'nt detect and fix the problem, not to mention prevent it. So after I cleaned the system up manually, I decided to test the software. I went through and downloaded a virus library, and of course did'nt run the viruses, but had McAfee run a scan on the entire folder full of them. Out of around 5,000 viruses it only found 2! Needless to say I more than ticked that such a crappy product existed, and claimed to find and remove things it just did'nt. To make things more comical the stuff it DID find was so old they were no longer even in circulation, or could even be run on modern (at the time) computers. This by far was not some kinda advanced virus library either, and had viruses from different years and styles.

So this was strike 1 for McAfee, and I never used it again.

Finding the beast again, and again

Once I got a bit older and started working in a "corportate" type environment (about 5 years later), I can across McAfee again. To make things short, I found basically the same issues, it could'nt detect anything I threw at it, and now it made the systems slower that it ran on. SO there was strike 2 on the product line.

However that would not be the last time I saw it, OH NO, you see I started working on my own, and got the fun of working on the average home computer user's systems. Where as you may have guessed, people use McAfee because it comes on their system.

Now I know each anti-virus product is only as good as the end user behind the keyboard, but when a system is completely INFESTED usually an anti-virus product will at least find SOMETHING wrong. However around 90% of the time McAfee says everything is ok, even with dozens of spyware, and scamware windows poping up in the background.

At least Norton bothers to say "Hey, you might be infected!". McAfee just smiles at you like a stoner, and says "Sups?".

To make things worse they decided a few years back to upgrade the basic version that is loaded on computers by default to the "Internet Security" product. The problem with this thing is that it rarely asks when you want to let something through the firewall, and around half the time blocks you from your own network or features you need on your network.

Lets not get started on it's "System Guards" that see common everyday programs as spyware and block them with no way to unblock them.

Speaking of these "System Guards" when they do block a program, you can go through in some cases and turn EACH of the guards off, but leave the main service running, and it still blocks programs. You would think with all components off it would actually stop working, but it seems there are some extra hidden features that run on their own in the core service. This makes it a nightmare to troubleshoot, and forces you to shutdown entire core sets to REMOTELY figureout what is wrong. On a side note, it is impossible to shut down the entire suite in one action, you need to turn off EACH feature one at a time. Again more hassle to try and troubleshoot, even worse if the product malfunctions, which trust me... IT DOES.


Overall... HA! The product is a piece of junk, I have yet to see ANY improvement in it in over 10 years. It catches next to nothing, lets spyware and viruses run rampant on your system once they do infect you. The thing breaks more often than it works, and it's a performance hog.

But you know what I really hate about the product? PC World gave it a higher rating than Trend Micro 2009, and a few other anti-virus products that actually DETECT viruses. I can only hope it was a mis-print or a joke.

Just don't waste your time or money with McAfee, that simple. Even if your ISP offers it for free to you, just decline it. If you want a free antivirus product go with AVG, better yet don't go cheap and spend a few bucks on Trendmicro or hell ANYTHING BUT MCAFEE.

Last Updated: 03/12/2009 03:57 PM

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