This is the time when most antivirus companies try their best to meet the deadlines for their final products. It seems that BitDefender are the first on the list and the closest to a final release judging solely by the fact that they are the first to issue a security suite, even if it is in beta stage.
Overall, this year's next year BitDefender Total Security follows the same lines as last year's this year suite. Or, to put it differently, the soon-to-be-launched BitDefender Total Security 2010 is in the same tone as last year's 2009 version.
One first difference to be noticed is the interface, which has preserved the same easy-to-go-through structure but comes with aesthetic modifications that, truth be told, make it more user friendly, especially for novices. All the blue in the application screens really brings out the red alerts making them easier to notice.
From the beginning you have to know that once you install it you're going to have a lot of software on your hands. The sheer amount of modules present in this suite speaks for itself as 11 modules bundled under the same roof and compressed into a 114MB executable is no joke. The suite bunches up the traditional antivirus, antispam protection, firewall to keep tabs on the connections, a parental control module, privacy control, file backup section featuring both local and online storage locations, IM chat session and local data encryption, game/laptop mode, a system tune-up module offering a duplicate finder, file defragmenter, file shredder, registry cleaner and temporaries remover.
Besides these, which can also be found in the 2009 edition of the suite, this year's BitDefender Total Security boasts a Vulnerability module built to alert you when the operating system and some popular apps have new updates. And there is also the Home Management module, which provides an easy way to manage BitDefender products installed on home computers from a single machine.
When starting the installation of BitDefender Total Security 2010 you will be provided with options for placing a shortcut on the desktop, disabling DNS caching, turning off Windows Firewall (BitDefender's does a better job) and Windows Defender (Total Security already bundles antivirus and antispyware protection). A few screens later and the installation procedure is ready to deploy.
As soon as all the files are in place a restart is required for the application to install the firewall service and inject its hooks into the Windows system files. After this you’re going to benefit from as smooth a ride a pretty shaped up beta can offer. Novice Mode
The interfaces available for the three types of users targeted by BitDefender show a different amount of options and individual configuration settings. Novice mode for instance is the most misfortunate in terms of settings access as everything is kept to a minimum in this case so that beginners can work their way through with no problem. Thus you will benefit from the security status alerting of the number of issues requiring your attention and some tools for protecting your PC.
There is no granular control for any of the modules present in this easy-to-handle interface, leaving you little to tinker with. You can start an on-demand scan, request immediate update, access the file backup module (only local backup is available at the moment, but the online feature will be introduced together with the registration component), or the instruments for keeping the system in shipshape (PC Cleanup, disk defragger and duplicate finder).
Given that this is the first beta version of the suite, even a beginner will find the PC maintenance tools a bit rough on the edges. And that's because unlike the Backup module, which offers a very easy-to-follow wizard, once accessed, all the instruments under Maintain Your PC section will rush into the matter.
Disk Defragmenter for instance gets right to analyzing the hard drives without leaving you the choice of selecting which partitions to be assessed. On the bright side, it will let you pick the drives to be defragmented. As for performance and improvements, they equal the ones of the Disk Defragmenter in Windows as that's the tool used in the process.
Still in the PC Maintenance section, PC-Clean-Up will more or less behave in the same manner as the built-in defragger, leaving no option of choosing the areas that should be purged of useless elements. The cleaning procedure affects temporary Internet data (only the 10+ day files will be eliminated), cookies, temporary files and recent document links. The only action provided after reading the file deletion warning is to proceed to the actual elimination operation. Letting the novice pick the folders to be cleansed and explaining what kind of data they contain would be a desirable approach for the final version of the suite.
The duplicate finder available as one of the maintenance tools under the novice interface is simple enough to suite a beginner's needs. However, there are some issues that need to be fixed. Simply start and close Find Duplicates and the Recycle Bin will be automatically emptied with no warning and the same goes for the defragger. Also, selecting an action for all the dupes found will not work as in our case no automatic selection was made automatically past the second group of doubles. Moreover, despite pinpointing all the duplicates, the automatic selection needs to be straightened up because it will choose to preserve the files based on their creation date alone.
With the backup tool there were almost no problems during our testing on both Windows Vista and the upcoming 7. The local backup worked out great, neat and fast. There were no problems, and just as in the case of the restore procedure, you are alerted of the completion of the operation.
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