Free Anti-Virus Comparison ReviewGuest_Jim_* - April 9, 2013
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Panda Cloud Antivirus:
Panda Cloud Antivirus I found while looking up recommended AV programs, and since others recommended it, it made sense to add to the list. Though it says 'cloud' in the name, it is able to run without an Internet connection, but part of its strength comes from having the connection. With a connection it is able to compare suspicious files against others that have been uploaded by other installations of the software on other computers. All of that data is then analyzed by remote servers that have a greater ability to determine what is and what is not a threat, than your computer. Basically, a cloud antivirus is crowd-sourced.
Panda offers little in the way of features as it has apparently been designed with the singular interest of protecting you from malicious processes. At least that is the case with the free version. You get a firewall with the paid version, and that firewall benefits from the cloud like the scanner does. The moment you start up Panda, it starts scanning accessed files and running processes. Instead of it being a scanner with a real-time protection feature, it is a real-time protection program with the ability to scan your entire computer on demand.
Before running the full scan I went through the settings to make sure it was going to be as thorough of a scan as possible. I also enabled 'Advanced Logging' in order to make sure I got results, such as scan length. Over three hours later the scan finished, making it the longest scan of all of these. To find out exactly how long I started looking for that 'advanced log file,' and quickly found it… all 281 MB of comma-separated-value goodness. Literally, every single file it scanned has an entry in that file. Turning off the advanced logging setting dropped the scan time to 62 minutes, but expect the difference to be greater the more files you have to scan because constantly editing a file takes more resources the larger the file gets.
At just over an hour, this definitely puts Panda on the high-end for scan time, but it also scanned a lot of files; the second most actually. Of course the scanner that looked at the most files took much less time to do so, but perhaps the scanner is more optimized for real-time protection than on-demand scanning. The resource use would seem to support this as CPU usage, disk activity, and memory usage all increased when the scan started. The CPU usage leapt to around 95% and stayed there for a moment, before dropping down to around 50%-53%. Memory usage varied obviously through the scan, unlike other scanners, and the disk transfers did not settle much during the time I was recording data.
Thanks to its cloud capabilities (I assume) Panda is very good at detecting malware threats to your computer. However it does need to first analyze threats for it to detect them, so it is not the best solution for zero-day threats. Its performance is also not particularly great for a full scan, but that could be due to its real-time protection focus, which I have not looked much at for reasons stated earlier. If that is what you are looking for though, I do not think you will be disappointed by it.