This time last year, we took a look at PC Tools’ Internet Security application for Windows, and I was fairly impressed by its performance when scanning your machine for malware. The dated XP style user interface, however, left a lot to be desired. One year on, we’re here again to look at the 2011 version, so have the UI issues been ironed out or is it the same old program? Let’s take a closer look.
To install PC Tools Internet Security 2011, you must first download a small executable file from the PC Tools website, which weights in at around 500kb. When you open this file, you are then prompted to begin the actual download of the program, which is slightly beefier at 60mb. I found the installation process to be rather quick and mostly automated.
Once installed, you will be prompted to update the program’s malware database (this was a 78mb download for me, but it will vary depending on when you install the application), and it takes a couple of minutes to ‘initialise components’. All in all, the installation time was probably just under 10 minutes for me, which isn’t terrible for a security application.
The last time we took a look at this program, the UI left me feeling somewhat disappointed. It’s easy enough to get around, and everything is laid out in a clear and concise manner, but it has a custom styling that looks ridiculously out of place if it’s being used with any operating system other than the decade-old Windows XP.
For the latest version of the software, this interface has been given a bit of spit and polish, and the custom style XP buttons are gone, but the bulky custom interface still remains. Why the design team is so reluctant to adopt a user interface built with Aero users in mind is beyond me, and it doesn’t make a very good first impression.
The rest of the navigation tools remain the same, with the buttons on the left side of the main window offering easy access to the key functions of the suite. This includes scanning your system and managing the various settings and tools too.
Performance and Security
Internet Security 2011 has a nice, small footprint whilst it’s sitting in the background monitoring everything that is happening on your computer. The software is always looking out for bad websites that may be visited, and notifies you when it blocks a potentially dangerous site from opening. In this state, it uses only 8MB of RAM, and 0% of my CPU was being used. The program was tested on a machine running on a 2.8GHz Core i7 CPU and 8GB RAM, so its impact on the everyday running of the machine was negligible.
Scanning the machine using PC Tools’ ‘Intelli-Scan’ feature took a little over five minutes and scanned almost 500,000 files, so you can run it in the background for a short period of time without worrying about any other processes that it may interfere with. During the scan CPU usage remained at 0%, and RAM usage only jumped to 10MB, which is a drop in the ocean for most modern computers.
Compared to most other security products on the market, PC Tools’ package is incredibly light on system resources, which makes it a great choice for someone who may have a less powerful machine. Despite the horrific custom UI that’s been planted on top of this program, its scanning ability remains incredibly solid, and it continues to be up there with the big names of PC security such as Norton and Microsoft’s Security Essentials.
You can currently pick up PC Tools Internet Security 2011 from Amazon for around £25, so it’s well worth investing in if you haven’t got a decent security package on your machine, but if you still have time to run on a previous subscription from last year, don’t hurry to upgrade too much.