Class: Anti-virus for Windows
License: Commercial product. Free 30 day test drive.
Operating Systems: Windows 95/98/ME/XP/NT/2000/2003/Vista
Version Reviewed: v2.7
I’ve written about NOD32 in my Security Software Recommendations article in each issue. It’s the anti-virus program that I use on all my Windows computers. I began using it in 2003 after becoming dissatisfied with one of the big-name anti-virus programs which, in my opinion, had gotten too bloated, required too much computing power and was slow to provide virus signature updates.
Our IT people at the office had moved us to NOD32 the previous year, so I had a year of (involuntary) experience using it — and knew that it was quick, efficient and interfered little with other things I was doing on the computer.
First, I bought a copy for my notebook computer so I could try it (well, it really has a 30-day full-function free trial, but I already knew that I wanted it). A couple weeks later, I bought copies for my my wife’s computer and my son’s. I asked my son install the trial version and let me know if he wanted it — after the first scan, he said "Yes!"
The image below on the left is the Control Center. Basically, if you double-click on the icon in the Windows Status Bar, you’ll see the Control Panel. The other images will be displayed when you click on the corresponding link in the Control Panel.
The image on the right is AMON, the file system monitor. Any time any program touches a file, NOD32 will scan it tto make sure that the file is clean. As you can see in the image, in the few hours this notebook had been running, AMON had scanned over 24,000 files (and, no, this was NOT a system scan).
Notice also that each of these tools (AMON, DMON, EMON, IMON and NOD32 On-Demand Scanner) have Setup buttons so that you can set custom parameters to affect how they work. Normally, you won’t have to use them, but you might want to look to see what you can do.
NOD32 has special scanners for Microsoft Office documents and for Microsoft Outlook.
When you download anything from the Internet, via email or via your web browser, NOD32 will intercept and scan it using IMON.
Finally, NOD32 can be used to scan any time you wish. Scan a file, a directory, a drive, all local drives (all drives directly connected to your computer) or even scan diskettes in a floppy drive.
The Update configuration is where you enter your user name and password (your license number and license key). Equally important, this is where you can control what NOD32 does when it checks for updates, does it get signatures AND program updates automatically, does it reboot automatically (I strongly recommend against automatic rebooting for normal users), and other such options.
Finally, you can set up a number of options in the NOD32 scheduler. I have NOD32 set to check for updates once an hour, to scan weekly at 1 a.m., to check the Windows startup files whenever I log on, and to check the Windows system files whenever NOD32 gets its updates.
(click on the image for a larger version)
One major thing that I like about NOD32 is the frequency of updates to its anti-virus signatures. When I stopped using the previous product, its manufacturer had apparently decided that updating once a week was ok. It seems like NOD32 gives me anti-virus signature updates at least once a day, sometimes more.
I’m as happy with NOD32 today as I was four years ago. I don’t have the problem of my anti-virus program demanding more and more power, thus making my computer obsolete and slow.