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Review of Windows Live OneCare

July 12, 2007

The idea is sound but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Currently cannot recommend over AVG+ZoneAlarm+Search&Destroy.

I’ve used pretty much every Anti-Virus package out there since 1990. Way back it was McAfee on MSDOS after getting hit with some of the original Bulgarian viruses in college. For years it remained McAfee in various incarnations both consumer and Enterprise. Solid product but one which went nuts on occasion, locking up machines.

In recent years I’ve used

  • Panda – bad value, minimal configurability and they spam you forever afterwards
  • Symantec/Norton – Cripples your machine’s performance, seems to need constant updates and attention. Pricey.
  • AVG – Rock solid. Pay-for one not sufficiently better than free one. Recommend free one to all my family. Always works.

And now, Windows Live OneCare. There were two reasons for buying if. First as a Beta tester I got three licences for a year for €19 which is a bargain. Secondly I liked the idea of having one integrated package with did anti-virus, firewall and anti-malware. Whilst the freebie combo of AVG, Zone Alarm and Search&Destroy works well, they don’t work together.

Initial impressions were terrible, I found it impossble to install and kept getting redirected to a variety of conflicting Beta/Free/Pay help and registration sites. I opened a help ticket and after a few days sorted it out – the date was wrong on the machine. What a stupid reason to fail installation!

Since then it seems to do an ok Anti-Virus job but missed a Trojan that AVG caught. The main problem is that when it does a full scan, it never finishes and goes to 100% CPU.

The biggest annoyance in the Firewall is something which Zone Alarm figured out years ago. When a new app tried to access the internet, rather than “holding” the request and asking you if it is ok, it denies the request and then asks you if it is ok. With some apps, you don’t get a “retry” option and can get stuck with a half-usable product.

I turned off the whole backup part of the product since it was more hassle than it was worth.

Monthly tune-up goes to 100% CPU too so that’s a waste of time

I haven’t encountered the anti-malware in operation yet.

I will not be renewing my subscription to this, it is barely acceptable as a free product.

Rated 2/5 on Jul 12 2007 by Mr C
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