BitDefender is a strong name on the computer security market, with solid reputation as a developer of malware fighting solutions. Besides the basic purpose of locking all sorts of malware, the developer has also released complete protection suites featuring firewall protection, antispam, anti-phishing or instruments for maintaining the PC at its peak performance.
Total Security 2010 is the most complete security suite in BitDefender’s arsenal, comprising tools for optimizing the system, data backup component and privacy protecting instruments, besides the protection elements (antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing, antispam and firewall). The license for the entire bundle will keep three computers safe for one year, for $65.95 (you can get it for $55.96 (20% off) from Softpedia, until the end of February
Installing the suite is no trouble at all, as you are coached through every step of the process. The preparation to be made before actually starting the procedure involves giving up Windows’ firewall, disabling DNS caching (some malware may use it for sending intel over the network) and turning off Windows’ built-in security instrument, Windows Defender
After this, it is easy sailing through the configuration wizard. Each step is thoroughly explained for you to set up Total Security according to your needs, type and computer security knowledge. The suite is built to cover as many user types as possible, offering the possibility to choose between three different configurations of the application: Typical
. A fourth choice is reserved for those that wish to make their own settings to the bundle.
Although the next step presents a tough choice for novices, you have to go through in order to continue installation. The decision to be taken refers to the type of computer you install the bundle on: network machine or a laptop.
If you go with the first choice, you will benefit from a network management interface that lets you manage other BitDefender products in your home network. Choosing a laptop will simply result in going easy on the battery by skipping tasks requiring additional power.
Despite the overwhelming number of features, modules and instruments clustered under BitDefender Total Security, the suite can actually be managed by a complete beginner. The configuration wizard includes a step that permits you to choose the level of control you want to have over Total Security. Novice makes available a minimal interface, Intermediate suits you with a basic interface, while Experts provides all Total Security is built of. Novice Mode
The easiest way to run BitDefender Total Security is to initiate Novice Mode. There are no settings to make and everything is preconfigured according to the beginner type of user. The most complex configuration you’ll encounter is for Parental Control (if Parent user type is selected) and it consists in simply choosing the age category and the areas you want to protect your child from.
Parental Control under BitDefender is one of the most flexible modules in terms of setting up and angles it covers. It can impose all sorts of restrictions, from pages that should not be accessed, time spent on the web or applications that should not launch to looking out for specific keywords and blocking them (websites or emails containing them will simply not be displayed) or blocking specific IM contacts. Access to all these settings and changing them is protected by a password you get to define in the initial Configuration Wizard of the bundle.
The PC maintenance tools included in the suite and available under this feature-limited mode allow you to clean up the system of junk, defragment it, and eliminate duplicate files. The list of junk files eliminated in the process includes temporary Internet data, cookies, unused system files and recent documents shortcuts.
As far as defragmentation is concerned, it is no different from the default one under Windows. It is actually the same instrument, manipulated through a different interface. The only missing feature is the schedule.
The duplicate finder bundled in works like a charm, even if it presents a very brief set of options. It is accurate and will run content comparison in order to be sure of the duplicity. The small bug in the beta version that caused Recycle Bin to empty automatically the moment you closed the defragger or the dupe finder has been eliminated.
Scanning, the most important part in a security product, is also crippled in Bit Defender Total Security 2010’s Novice mode. There are no multiple choices and you will have to settle to the most comprehensive system check the suite can perform, as deep scan is the only one present. On the bright side, system resources are spared during the process. During our testing, the scan engine peaked at 50% CPU usage with an average of about 35%.
BitDefender Total Security 2010 is a complete suite dedicated to protecting your data no matter the nature of the trouble that hits you. The suite already protects against malware, but there is always the risk of hardware failure; the product includes a backup function for this sort of cases.
This module is present in Novice mode, although not to its full extent, as the only options present are Local Backup and Local Restore. The five-step wizard eliminates all confusion making the task a walk in the park, even for novices.
Backup files can be stored on the fix drives, on a USB drive, in a network location, on CDs/DVDs or on an FTP server. If you want the task to be repetitive, you can set up a schedule to run the backup job at your most convenient time. The result will be an archive in a proprietary format containing all your data.Intermediate Mode
More flexibility and access to a larger set of instruments and features can be obtained through Intermediate Mode. This interface offers multiple specific scans, more tune-up instruments, backup options and management to BitDefender products in the network.
The Dashboard gives you access to all the options and menus in this mode, at the same time showing the overall protection status of the system. In case there are problems, the modules dragging down the protection level are marked with a red warning.
Compared to Novice Mode, scanning is extensive in options offering the possibility to run a system scan, check My Documents area or run a pervasive scan. Moreover, you can perform custom scans targeting specific areas and files; to make the scan module complete, the application has been suited up with a vulnerability check module in order to keep the system protected against vulnerabilities popping up in different programs installed. It can check if there are critical or optional Windows updates to add to the system, new versions of installed software or verify the strength of Windows accounts passwords.
The complexity is elevated one notch through the set of PC maintenance tools under Tune-Up menu. Besides PC Clean-up, Duplicate Finder and defragger, you will benefit from registry cleaner and recovery options and a file shredder to securely erase sensitive data.
Cleaning the registry of clutter can be a risky business if you are not familiar with Windows Registry’s importance. The registry cleaner under BitDefender Total Security 2010 is not the most reliable instrument on the market, but you have the possibility of reverting the registry to an earlier state in case something does not work properly after the registry clutter removing operation.
And testing the instrument showed that there are chances to use the recovery function. In our case, the cleaner displayed issues in the Shared DLL section. As the name suggests, a DLL in here is used by multiple applications. Delete one and some programs may no longer work as they should.
Although these items were marked with medium risk deletion level, the average user may overlook this and proceed with the elimination of those keys. The recovery option will fix things up, but it would be desirable to use it as little as possible.
File shredding utility ensures that any of the data you erase cannot be recovered. The algorithm used by the application is not presented, but during our testing, it was successful at removing sensitive information and preventing its recovery by overwriting it. Our attempts at recovering the data failed but we noticed that the filenames were not scrambled, showing evidence of their having been on the drive and deletion.
Backup module in Intermediate mode is part of a larger picture that includes file encryption in virtual drives. More experienced users have the possibility to create vaults to store sensitive files. All the data inside a vault is encrypted, making it invulnerable to theft; but not to deletion.
Vaults can be created at any time and of any size you may want. Guarding them with a password is a must, and they can be mounted as virtual drives at any time you want. Locking them is not automatic, but it does not take too long to complete and you get to make sure that the data is safe from prying eyes.
Provided that BitDefender security solutions are installed on network computers, the average user can manage them through Total Security suite. Once the network is enabled, you will be able to scan the BitDefender protected computers, perform updates or register the products, all in front of a single PC. Next