We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Anti-virus software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 review

£38 inc VAT

Manufacturer: McAfee

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 does well with traditional, signature-based malware detection, but it delivered a large number of false positives and fumbled on essentials such as proactive protection and scan speed.

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 does well with traditional, signature-based malware detection, but it delivered a large number of false positives and fumbled on essentials like proactive protection and scan speed. Overall, it ranked tenth out of the 11 products in our roundup of stand-alone antivirus programs.

When put up against AVTest.org's huge cache of spyware, Trojans, and other malware, McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 successfully identified an impressive 99.9 percent of samples, which earned it a second-place rank in that category behind G-Data. Then again, most of the programs we tested handled basic signature detection well.

However, the apps we tested differed greatly in their ability to proactively protect against new malware that didn't yet have a full signature. Here, McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 disappointed. In heuristic tests that use two-week-old signature files and newer malware, the program detected only 56.8 percent of AVTest.org's samples. Six other programs did a better job.

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 mitigates that lacklustre heuristic detection with its ability to check unknown files against online servers, which means that the latest available signatures will always be used. And the company proved quick in providing those signatures, usually within two hours of any given outbreak. Only Symantec was as nimble in its outbreak response.

See all: Antivirus reviews

But online crooks devote a great deal of effort to evading signature detection, and McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 lacks any ability to identify malware based solely on behavior. Behavioural analysis provides a strong extra layer of proactive protection; VirusScan Plus, however, wasn't able to block any malware in behavioral tests.

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 also fared poorly in disinfection tests. Every other app we evaluated was able to detect and disable all of the test malware infections, and while McAfee disabled what it found, it failed to detect one of the 10.

The bad news continued with scan speed. The app's data throughput for automatic scans that occur when you save or copy a file, for instance, was a pokey 7.06MB per second. Only Trend Micro Antivirus + Antispyware was slower. And McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 made the most mistakes when it came to putting up false alerts about harmless files. Its 15 incorrect results was more than twice as many as the next worst showing (Kaspersky had 6).

McAfee does offer some nice extras with McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010. For one thing, subscribers get all future program updates for free, with no need to pay extra for new software versions. Also, the company doesn't offer any antivirus programs without a firewall, so you'll get one with VirusScan Plus (we didn't test the firewall for this roundup, however).

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

See also: Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 review

See also: G Data AntiVirus 2010 review


McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 Expert Verdict »

Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista
800x600 or higher resolution
75MB of available free drive space
internet connection
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later/Mozilla Firefox 1.5 or later
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

VirusScan Plus is also relatively easy to use, and its warning pop-ups display plenty of information when it finds a threat. But some good features and a decent user interface can't outweigh a poor job at many critical protection tasks.

  • McAfee Internet Security 2010 review

    McAfee Internet Security 2010

    McAfee Internet Security 2010 does a good job at detecting malware, its interface is fresh and distinct from the pack, and it has a solid set of features.

  • McAfee Total Protection 2008

    McAfee Total Protection 2008

    Cast very much in the same mould as Live One Care and Norton 360, McAfee Total Protection 2008 does what it says on the tin - it aims to have every possible PC disaster vector covered.

  • McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009 review

    McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009

    McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009 is the latest iteration of security giant McAfee's internet security suite, featuring Artemis, a new internet-based malware detection feature.

  • Panda Antivirus Pro 2010 review

    Panda Antivirus Pro 2010

    Panda Antivirus Pro 2010 ranks fifth in our current round-up of 11 stand-alone antivirus apps. It was buoyed by positives such as strong traditional malware detection, but dragged down by negatives like poor behavioural scans.

  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4 review

    ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4

    ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4 has some nice, techie-focused extras and it effectively ferrets out rootkits, but it can't keep up with other antivirus apps when it comes to the essential task of blocking malware.

IDG UK Sites

Why I think the Apple Watch sucks and you'd be mad to buy it

IDG UK Sites

Swatch launches a colourful smartwatch

IDG UK Sites

New Apple TV 2015 release date rumours: TV streaming service delayed, hand gesture interface being...