Keeping your PC safe from all the evils that the Internet can throw at it isn't easy. Threats are now so complex that even the casual PC user needs to have multiple levels of defence installed on their system.
By this we mean you need anti-virus protection, anti-spyware tools, spam filters, and a robust and configurable firewall. Additionally, you'll need file safes and antiphishing tools, and if you're serious about keeping your PC in tip-top shape then you'll either have individual applications that cover all your bases, or one that can do it all.
PC-cillin takes the all-in-one approach; you'll find all the necessary tools via a clear and intuitive interface. In fact, when you set the software to scan it'll look for both viruses and spyware by default, so you don't have to remember to run two individual tests.
The software also supports scans for Microsoft vulnerabilities. Although this may sound advantageous, the software will only check for defects that Microsoft has already highlighted and made patches available for. You can schedule the virus scanner and also set the software to tell you when new virus alerts hit the Internet.
Unfortunately, when we set the scanner to run, it never finished the scan even though that it claimed to find malware on our test PC. When we accessed the quarantine area, where the program said it was holding a file, there was nothing there. However, when we performed a spyware scan on its own it then enabled us to see the files it had found and remove them.
The virus scanner enables you to scan zip files and even specify how many layers of compression you want it to go through. This is a useful feature to have, because many virus exe files are now disguised using this method. The software can also be configured to look for Trojans. One setting that's confusing is the one that checks for risky files - as if we're supposed to know what they look like!
The biggest problem we had with the software was the firewall. By default, it loads a set of standard rules, which for reasons best known to Trend Micro stopped us from accessing the Internet entirely. The software couldn't even make its way out to register itself.
After installing the software, Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2 failed to start. This was even with the firewall turned off. After some routing around we discovered that this was because, by default, HTTP was turned off in the firewall's settings. After we instructed the firewall to enable HTTP access it still only permitted Web access after we had rebooted.
Although we managed to get all aspects of PC-cillin to work in the end, overall the software didn't fill us with confidence. The virus and spyware scanner picked up malware and also asked for confirmation when we installed an application it didn't know.
The fact that virus scans just wouldn't finish properly and the software kept telling us that no scans had been performed was a little worrying. Added to this were all our troubles with the firewall. We contacted Trend Micro about this, but even their friendly helpdesk people didn't have any solutions.