McAfee Virus Scan 2006

Arguably the easiest anti-virus program to use, but slow

Our Verdict

Pricey but user-friendly and effective


  • Works well

    Ease of use a bonus


  • Expensive

    Nod 32 is better

If winning a high score was all about interface design, McAfee Virus Scan 2006 would walk it. Between the main Virus Scan interface and McAfee Security Center (which replaces Microsoft's version as your main security status source), you'll be nothing if not well informed by this program.

Messages are always clear, status information is always at hand and nothing is ever hard to find. Virus Scan makes the business of keeping a PC virusfree as simple as checking items off a shopping list.

To that end, there's no doubt that Virus Scan 2006 gets the job done. In our tests it made easy work of the planted viruses as they were discovered, but therein lies our first major criticism of the program - speed. Where other programs tested took approximately 24 minutes each to complete our scan, Virus Scan took just slightly under 40.

If scanning speed is the first concern, then price is the second. At £40 for the software and a year of updates, McAfee Virus Scan 2006 isn't cheap. Yes, it will do an admirable job of keeping your system free and clear of viruses - and most malware, for that matter - but it's still pricey compared to most competitors (with a notable exception, its arch-nemesis Norton).

On the upside, McAfee Virus Scan does an excellent job of keeping users informed of updates (downloaded daily, automatically), providing details of the latest virus threats, and offering multiple free support options via a discussion forum, email and online chat.

If you want your hand held every step of the way, then Virus Scan 2006 may still be a good investment. If you're prepared to look after yourself then there's no shortage of cheaper and equally effective options available. Dan DiNicolo