Bitdefender Total Security 2014 BETA is an early preview of Bitdefender's powerful security suite.
New features this time include "adaptive scanning technology", which apparently "visibly improves speed and performance in a matter of hours by gradually molding to your PC".
The new Wallet stores your login details and automatically fills them in for you.
A weekly Security Report sums up what's happened in the past seven days, highlights anything you need to do, tells you about unused modules, and more.
Elsewhere, the spam filter is now fully cloud-based, cutting system impact and improving detection rates. Parental controls are significantly enhanced (you get full HTTPS as well as HTTP coverage, for instance), and the Safepay online banking environment stores your logons even more securely via the new wallet.
And of course you also get all the features from previous editions: the antivirus engine, smart firewall, browsing protection, privacy tools, online backup system, anti-theft service, and more.
The beta comes in the form of a very small download, which insists that you remove any other antivirus packages you might have installed, and then scans your PC, while simultaneously downloading and scanning the rest of the package. This took a very long time for us, but be patient, it does complete eventually.
Once the program fires up you're prompted to register. Just select "I don't have a key, I want to try the product for free" and Click Next.
The "Configure Behaviour" dialog gives you a chance to turn the program's "Auto Pilot" and "Automatic Game mode" off. Essentially this just means you'll get more prompts, though, so for now we'd accept the defaults and click Next.
Next, you're prompted to activate the installation via your Bitdefender account. If you have one, enter your details as usual and click "Login to MyBitdefender". If you don't, either click "Create a new account" and follow the instructions, or sign in via your Facebook, Google or Microsoft accounts.
With that done, click Explore on the beta dialog box and you'll be able to set up the new Bitdefender Wallet feature. Which isn't exactly difficult: all you have to do is set up a new database, and enter a password.
And, finally, that's it. If you tried Bitdefender 2013 then you'll recognise the interface, which hasn't really changed, so just click the various icons on Bitdefender's gadget and give the system a try.
Please note, though, this is a beta and there are some significant bugs. As we write, for instance, the Auto Update button gets turned off when the system performs an update. And we're not sure whether the spam filter is working at all (it didn't seem to be doing anything for us). Check the beta home page for more, but just keep in mind that you shouldn't use the suite as your main security for long - it's just not reliable enough yet (which is also why the build will expire after 60 days).
Still, if you do stick with the program then Bitdefender are offering a few prizes for the most active beta testers, including an HP Envy dv6 laptop, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Google Nexus 10 tablet. Again, the beta page has more.