When I began my evaluation period of Sunbelt Software’s VIPRE Antivirus + Antispyware program, I was promptly shocked.
I had read several reviews about VIPRE and had read phrases like "high performance" and "low resources." I had even read comments that where the writer said that VIPRE was virtually unnoticeable on their computer and that their computer suddenly had more speed that it had in a long time.
Naturally, I discounted those comments and claims, thinking that they were advertising exaggeration and hyperbole. They usually compare the computer’s performance to when it had been running one of the big-name suites, so that wasn’t too surprising any way.
I was shocked when I installed VIPRE on my notebook computer. I saw for myself that VIPRE didn’t interfere with my activities. My computer really was faster with VIPRE, even faster than the speedy combination of CounterSpy and NOD32.
One evening I even ran a deep scan of my whole hard drive while I continued to do other things on my computer — like web browsing, email, Excel, web page editing, Usenet news reading, and other of my typical evening computer activities. I had no desire to stop VIPRE and let it run later — and that’s amazing!
Sometimes I get emails from readers who want to know if they should drop a particular product and buy the one I use and recommend. Note the term "use and recommend" — if I don’t use it, I won’t recommend it.
Let’s take a look at some of the screens that we see in VIPRE.
First, we see the main control screen in VIPRE, with the default Overview tab selected. A click on any of the checkmarks opens the Settings dialog box, which is used for setting most of the program’s options.
We also can see the date, time and type (deep, quick or custom) of scan — not just the most recent, but also the next one scheduled. We can see whether Active Protection is enabled or not (a click gives us a dialog box to set options), whether Email Protection is turned off or on (inbound and outbound are separately controlled), Updates status, and Subscription status (I had 8 more days in the 15 day fully-functional free trial).
In the right image, we see the Manage tab, which lets us view the history, act on the items in Quarantine (including return items from quarantine or delete them from your system), act on items that are Always Blocked or Always Allowed, and schedule automated scans of your computer.
Now let’s take a look at the details when VIPRE finds a file it thinks is suspicious. In this case, because of the things that Spinrite 6.0 (which is a legitimate hard disk maintenance program from Gibson Research) does, VIPRE has identified it as suspicious and wants me to tell it whether to block it or to allow it.
The program does not run in Windows, though, so why is it being flagged? That’s because I had opened the file’s directory using Windows Explorer. If the computer even touches a file, the file is scanned for viruses, trojans and other malware.
In addition to asking me whether to block the program (if I block it, VIPRE will Quarantine the file) or to allow it to stay where it is, VIPRE gives me another tip. The following dialog box advises me to run a deep scan to look for other problems.
Now, let’s see the information that was available in the Show Details… link in the Attention! message above.
The first box tells us that the warning was triggered by a file access. The next box tells us which program was operating and tried to access the file. The final box identifies the program and it’s location on the computer.
The final box identifies the program and it’s location on the computer.
Now, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum — a trojan program that arrived as a zipped attachment to an email. There are several variations going around right now, including an eticket receipt, a claim notice for a package at UPS and others.
In the left-hand image, we see VIPRE’s Quarantine management image (accessed by selecting the Manage tab and then Quarantine). We can see at this point that identified a commercial keylogger (which is in a zipped file), a trojan spyware (which is in a zipped file) and a trojan downloader program (also in a zipped file). The two trojans arrived as attachments to recent emails.
A "trojan" is a program that is presented or portrays itself as doing one thing, while it really does something else, usually of a malicious nature. A "trojan downloader" is a trojan that exists to automatically download other nasty malware onto your computer.
In the left image, I selected the trojan downloader and clicked on the Risk Details… button. The right image shows the information about the item, including which file on my computer has the trojan in it.
In the left image, I can then choose to Restore from Quarantine (which I did on the two entries for Spinrite.exe, which I had given different file names) or Delete from Computer. I chose to delete the keylogger and the two trojans.
This was excellent evidence that VIPRE could recognize malware even when it was within a zip file and with different file names.
The Bottom Line
At the time of my review, I hadn’t upgraded my CounterSpy copy to VIPRE yet (I had 8 more days on my trial period), but I had uninstalled CounterSpy and also the NOD32 antivirus that I’d used routinely for the last five years. My real question, though, was whether I would upgrade only my notebook to VIPRE at that point, or whether I would go ahead and upgrade my other computers at the same time.
VIPRE Antivirus + Antispyware is available for one year/one computer, or with significant discounts for multiple computers and/or multiple years.
Sunbelt even offers an Unlimited Home Site License, is good for all your home computers at one location. The Unlimited Home Site License is available for one, two or three year periods, again with huge discounts.
The Home Site License was my choice — and still is my choice, although I upgraded to VIPRE Antivirus Premium (which includes Sunbelt’s firewall, too).
I have my Unlimited Home Site License for VIPRE Antivirus Premium, now, and have installed it on my family’s Windows PC’s as well as my main computer, my notebook, and my netbook. I’m very pleased with their performance when running VIPRE Antivirus Premium and with VIPRE’s performance in finding and eliminating malware.
I’m running VIPRE Antivirus Premium on Windows XP Professional 32-bit, Windows XP Home 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and Windows 7 Professional 32-bit.