The first thing that stood out about PC Tools was that it had by far the biggest effect on our test machine's boot times, increasing them by a good half a minute. In three different tests, it spiked a 38-second boot time to a whopping 2:10, 1:49 and 1:40 – quite a difference.
Luckily, that was the only major negative we encountered while using it. Its memory usage and CPU load were average, and its actual scanning was surprisingly fast. The first long initial scan took around half an hour, but dropped down to a mere 46 seconds for its follow-up run.
As with most tools here, it caught everything that was waiting for it on the drive, and didn't clock up any false positives against its record while doing so.
Its feature set is a strong one, with one of the more reactive firewalls we saw in these products immediately kicking in. Unlike many, there are a few handy shortcuts you can use, including telling it what kind of network you're on, and having the firewall settings auto-configured to match – very handy if you just want to get started.
In a similar vein, a gaming mode is both present and automated, kicking in whenever you go into full-screen mode.
Additional web security filters include spam filtering for Outlook and Thunderbird via toolbars, and plenty of online protection tools to watch out for any potentially dodgy websites and dangerous downloads.
It's one of the cheaper antivirus solutions out there as well, at only £50 for a three-user license per year. It's a pity about that initial sloth, but there's little to complain about elsewhere in this strong internet security suite.
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