Panda Antivirus 2007's middle-of-the-road detection results in our tests, inadequate default settings and poor disinfection performance offset its solid features.

The app caught 90 percent of AV-Test.org's malware samples, a detection rate that was dragged down by a relatively poor showing at catching Trojans (87 percent) and back doors (86 percent), two increasingly common types of malware. It performed well in proactive detection, however, catching 56 percent of new samples with month-old signatures.

Unfortunately, several important features are turned off by default. You'll need to enable email scanning yourself in a complicated process that sends you to the Windows Control Panel. Protection against ‘potentially dangerous files' – Panda's euphemism for the adware and other junk normally caught by antispyware – is also turned off and you'll need to schedule your own full-system scan.

Once you turn these features on, though, Panda Antivirus scans will cover a good range of email and news protocols (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, NNTP) along with web traffic. It flags suspected phishing emails sent over POP3 and SMTP and integrates with Yahoo, MSN, and AOL IM applications.

Panda Antivirus 2007 scored poorly in disinfection tests. It missed one existing infection entirely and failed to clean up another's changes to the Hosts and Registry files. Including Registry changes, it scrubbed up just 41 percent of the infections. And after we uninstalled it, Panda left behind a stray .dll file that some other antivirus programs then flagged as potentially suspicious.

Panda Antivirus 2007 is among the most affordable antivirus programs, but the company offers free telephone support only for the first 30 days.

Test results and verdict on the next page >

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