Performance is usually the top reason that people don't use antivirus software. Antivirus apps are often free, and they perform a vital role in safeguarding your system's health – but if they get in your way, they get uninstalled.

Happily, Vipre doesn't get in the way – not usually, anyway. It has an annoying habit of popping up messages about updating its database or asking permission to install new versions – as if you wouldn't want the latest one on your system – but for the most part, it runs almost silently.

The performance hit when running it on our test systems was negligible, and we didn't have to switch into a dedicated 'games mode' or similar, regardless of whether the software was passively scanning or running a comprehensive sweep.

In operation you rarely see Vipre actually at work, which is how it should be.

The only exception was when we switched on its web filtering service, which is intended to keep you away from dodgy sites and online threats.

This utility went much too far, blocking downloads from even the most respectable sites without so much as a warning, to the point that it took a while to even track down that it was Vipre causing the problem.

The result was that we switched all those features off very quickly and never felt the urge to give them a second chance.

As for the core antivirus features, we had no problems. Vipre quickly and quietly went to work on our system, and picked up the viruses we intentionally passed its way with no trouble.

The app uses a three-pronged approach, from identifying specific viruses and looking for tell-tale infection signs to sandboxing questionable programs to see what they do when they think they've broken through the system's defences.

Vipre isn't the most fully featured antivirus system around, but it does its job quietly and efficiently, and best of all, on all the PCs in your house. Ultimately, that's what matters to us.

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