If Eset's Nod32 is a rounded anti-virus suite aimed at those with a little more user experience, PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5 (£30 inc. VAT) is definitely aimed at the first-time user. This isn't a full anti-virus package, being a spyware tool. However, it is intended to stop such malware from entering your system and from the tests we ran, we found it a great tool to use.
The interface hasn't changed a great deal from its previous incarnation but things have changed with the actual engine, making this feel like a more professional tool. For instance, rather than updates only being available as manual downloads, the program now automatically updates whenever a new patch is made available.
Fully Vista-compatible, you'll also find this program comes with a free upgrade to install PC Tools anti-virus software. This is a major step forward for PC Tools, as the previous version of the software worked in isolation and this is intended as the first step to making the products offered by PC Tools into a fully integrated suite.
As with Nod32, this software isn't heavy on system resources, so even budget machines won't find it a drain on processing power. There are a number of utilities on offer, in this instance all built around OnGuard Protection. Scanning is broken down into two separate parts, you'll find an on-demand scanner, as well as system monitors that work in real time.
As we've mentioned, this is a light install and demands on system resources are small, so if you have an old laptop, you won't find the program slowing you down. When in use, you'll find that all incoming and outgoing mail is scanned. As this is done in real time, download times may vary depending on the size of the file and the type of attachment.