ETrust PestPatrol review: ETrust PestPatrol

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CA eTrust PestPatrol AntiSpyware 5 Home Edition

(Part #: ETRPP50HEP01) Released: Dec 10, 2004
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2.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good eTrust PestPatrol performs fast scans.

The Bad eTrust PestPatrol free trial requires a credit card number first; CA provides confusing documentation and expensive technical support for this app.

The Bottom Line eTrust PestPatrol offers fast spyware protection, but you can find better protection with Lavasoft Ad-aware.

5.6 Overall
  • Setup and interface 5.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Service and support 7.0

CA eTrust PestPatrol 5

CA eTrust PestPatrol 5 aggressively scans your PC system for spyware, Trojan horses, and many other software pests. With its easy-to-use interface and extensive configuration options, eTrust PestPatrol is an excellent spyware-protection choice for home or office. However, based on testing done by Download.com, CA eTrust PestPatrol 5 finished at the bottom of our list for removing known spyware, and it was dead last in overall performance. CA eTrust PestPatrol 5 costs $29.95, about what you'd pay for other antispyware apps. For small businesses, reduced-price packages of 5 and 10 copies are also available. The free 30-day demo is a full working version; however, you're asked to provide a lot of personal information, including a credit card number, to take this app for a spin. Privacy issues aside, CA also charges the most we've seen for antispyware live technical support--a whopping $49.95 per incident. That said, Lavasoft Ad-aware, which offers a fully functioning free version, remains our overall recommendation for best antispyware application.

Installation of CA eTrust PestPatrol 5 is a breeze: After downloading the 5.42MB file, just provide your name and e-mail address, and with a single click, eTrust PestPatrol starts scanning your system. As with most antispyware programs, you can select the individual directories you want to scan or choose to scan your entire drive. The eTrust PestPatrol interface is easy to navigate, and it provides clear and useful information about the pests it finds, including links back to details available on PestPatrol's Web site. For example, when eTrust PestPatrol found NavExcel on one of our test machines, it reported what the vendor claims the apps will do ("...provide Internet businesses a better way to market online..."), then categorized the reasons why eTrust PestPatrol recommends quarantine ("Search Hijacker, Adware").

eTrust PestPatrol includes a sophisticated scheduling feature that lets you set up scans in advance so that you can, say, let your system scan while you sleep, and it has separate program modules that detect spyware cookies, scan for key loggers, and perform active scans for pests residing in your system's memory. Even more important, eTrust PestPatrol includes ActiveProtection, monitoring your activities and alerting you whenever suspected spyware attempts to download onto your system. However, ActiveProtection is turned off by default; you have to access Advanced Settings to change that. For most people that's not a problem, but the word advanced scares off some users. Other than a Prevalence Report, wherein other eTrust PestPatrol users contribute the results of their own scans to compile lists of recent spyware, there aren't many notable features.

In testing performed by CNET Download.com, eTrust PestPatrol finished its scan in almost exactly 16 minutes. It identified several of the big-name spyware traces but also picked up a few false positives that showed up in none of the other testing. The supporting information about specific threats was average for our tests. We followed the directions to update the program, and it told us the program needed to restart, but eTrust PestPatrol didn't restart automatically. After our scan, PestPatrol also required a restart to finish the removal process, but once again, it didn't do it automatically. In the end, eTrust PestPatrol left three major spyware items on our test system: 180 Search Assistant, DownloadWare, and Search Exe.

Fortunately, there's no shortage of help options with eTrust PestPatrol. However, the help file integrated into eTrust PestPatrol was not as friendly as some of the other programs we tried; it can be a little hard to find exactly what you're looking for, but if you try hard enough, you'll find that it's usually there. On the support Web site, eTrust PestPatrol offers free e-mail technical support; an extensive, searchable online FAQ; and free online chat. If you want to talk to a live technician, however, expect to pay $49.95 per incident--that's more than McAfee or anyone else charges.

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