ESET NOD32 Antivirus 6 Beta is a preview of ESET's malware-hunting tool, which aims to keep your PC free of viruses, spyware, rootkits and more.

Just install the program and immediately its real-time protection systems will snap into action, detecting and neutralising threats before they can do any damage. NOD32 Antivirus 6 automatically scans USB flash drives and other removable media, looking out for possible dangers, and an advanced Host Intrusion Protection System gives you very fine control over how the program works.

One major addition this time sees NOD32 Antivirus able to scan your PC in the background, whenever it detects your system is idle. Not exactly a new idea, but it's still good to see the option available here.

A new update rollback option sees you able to revert to the previous version of your virus database, handy if a new version is causing problems.

And, for the beta only, NOD32 Antivirus 6 is also giving you a chance to try ESET's new Anti-Theft feature (if your laptop is stolen then you may be able to find its location on a map, view what's happening on the screen, watch the thieves via your webcam, and so on). Protect at least one device via Anti-Theft and you'll automatically be entered in a prize draw to win a full licence of Smart Security 6 for one year. The contest runs between May 17 and June 17, 2012, and there will be 100 winners every week.

Please note, though, this is a beta, and won't be for everyone. As we write ESET say the program is known to crash when restoring objects from quarantine, for instance, potentially a fatal flaw if it's misidentified some system-critical file. Only install this on systems which have a full and complete backup available.

Verdict

Idle time scanning is a welcome and overdue addition to this capable antivirus tool, but beware the beta bugs. Don't install NOD32 Antivirus 6 anywhere important unless it's fully backed up.