Editors' note: On March 5, 2008, CNET revised its antispyware review ratings to emphasize a product's ability to remove spyware. The new ratings are based on the following formula: Installation (20 percent), Features (20 percent), Performance (50 percent), and Support (10 percent). In most cases a product's rating went down, expanding the range between highest and lowest rated.
Trend Micro Antivirus and Antispyware has made gains since last year, introducing a number of features in its 2008 model that are useful in both the home and small office. Aside from the intuitive interface, Trend Micro provides a number of configuration options that allow the user to control the application, something we faulted Norton Antivirus 2008 for not providing. And Trend Micro Antivirus and Antispyware 2008 also supports the current releases of AOL's and Yahoo's instant messengers, again something that Norton Antivirus 2008 doesn't provide. But on the critical question of protecting your PC, we could find no independent data comparing Trend Micro Antivirus plus Antispyware with our Editors' Choice, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7. Thus, we cannot, at this time, rank the latest offering from Trend Micro. Check back in a few weeks to see any updates to this review. For a look inside, see our Trend Micro Antivirus plus Antispyware 2008 slide show.
We installed Trend Micro Antivirus plus Antispyware 2008 without incident. It requires 100MB for installation and 256MB of RAM for operation, and it runs under all versions of Windows, from 2000 through Vista. Trend Micro AV AS supports both Internet Explorer and Firefox. It will scan e-mail for Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail (Vista), and Mozilla Thunderbird, but not Qualcomm Eudora. It will monitor or scan current IM releases from Yahoo, Microsoft, ICQ, and AOL. Trend Micro Antivirus plus Antispyware 2008 includes only one PC license at $39.95. By comparison, Panda Antivirus offers its three-user license for the same price. Kaspersky is slightly more expensive, selling its single-user license for $49.95; it offers a three-user license for just $10 more. Should you decide to remove Trend Micro Antivirus plus Antispyware 2008, the program includes its own uninstall icon.
The interface is a simplified version of the one used in Trend Micro Internet Security 2008. Still, compared with the brooding, overbearing look and feel of Norton Antivirus 2008, we really like it. Features are accessed along the left-hand margin, while the large right window is used for detail. Configuration options occasionally pop up additional windows, but never more than one.
We really like the configuration option that allows us to control the level of alerts--either it will show us all the possible alerts, or it groups them and only occasionally displays a message. We think that's great, since more advanced users might not want to be informed of everything, where casual users will appreciate the application's attention to detail.
Trend Micro continues to streamline its scanning process, this year combining antivirus, antispyware, and antirootkit scans into one engine. When the scans are complete, Trend Micro Antivirus plus Antispyware 2008 displays information about each threat. This is also true in the Changes scan, which can review changes that are made to your system registry or other key program files. By highlighting each change, the right-hand column provides additional details without having to access the Internet and go to the Trend Micro site.
Like Kaspersky and Norton, Trend Micro includes enhanced heuristics. Trend Micro's Proactive Intrusion Blocking feature is a part of the Enhanced Behavior Monitoring module and part of a company initiative to provide Host Intrusion Prevention (HIP) to all the Trend Micro 2008 security products, both enterprise and consumer. What that means for you is that emerging threats are blocked proactively by a constantly updated rules set. In addition, Trend Micro is able to trace the source of various changes in your system registry, your Windows folder, and instead of producing dozens of alerts, simply presents one unified alert.