Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free isn't quite an anti-virus suite; it's not designed to be. Instead, it's written as an extra level of security, to help remove those stubborn infestations you may not even know you've got.
The full paid-for version of the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free suite includes a scheduler, so you can set it to run scans automatically, but the free version under review here offers a manual scan only. You could run it regularly, or when you suspect you may have problems.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free: Features
The control screens are conventionally laid out, with a series of tabs dealing with the different aspects of the program. The Scanner tab is where most of the work is done. Here you can set off a Quick Scan or a Full Scan.
You can select which drive to perform a full scan on, but you can't narrow it down any more than that, to a folder tree or individual folder.
The Protection tab is pretty much an advert for Malwarebytes Protection module, which is another commercial option, providing real-time protection against malware installations. The Update tab handles program updates, but again needs to be run manually, to keep the product up to date.
The Quarantine tab provides access to any malware that has been safely secreted out of the way. From here infected files can be permanently deleted or, should you need, restored to their previous states.
Each time the scanner completes a scan, it generates a log of the process and results, and stores it for reference. These logs can be opened from the Logs tab, logically enough, while the Ignore List, in the tab next door, enables you to define files and folders which aren't included in malware scans.
The Settings tab offers assorted controls and More Tools gives access to FileASSASSIN, bundled with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which securely deletes locked files.
We ran Quick and Full scans on two different systems: a Samsung notebook with a 120GB SSD and a desktop PC with our test bucket of 50GB of assorted files.
On the laptop it completed a quick scan of 180,231 files in 184 sec, giving a ripping scan rate of 980 files/sec. The full scan, which examined 226,201 files in more depth, ran at a slower rate of 236 files/sec.
On the desktop PC, a full scan of 50GB of assorted files examined 189,365 files in 21 min 49 sec, giving a scan rate of 144.6 files/sec, which is higher than any of the full AV suites we’ve tested.
Bear in mind, though, that the library of malware signatures the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free program is comparing with may be smaller than an IS suite, too.
Copying our 1GB file when a scan was running slowed the copy down by around 180 percent, which gives it quite a heavy drag on the system. Since you’re likely to be running a scan on demand, though, it’s less likely you’ll be wanting to work at the same time.
AV-Test hasn’t evaluate this program for its malware-catching abilities. However, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free’s manual approach means it can be run alongside other AV programs, as a second line of defence.
If you already have an infected PC without Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free installed, you can use what Malwarebytes calls Chameleon technology to get it on the machine. It requires a second, uninfected, Windows PC for set-up, but should then surreptitiously download the full program on the infected one and scan it.