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.
CA Anti-Virus Plus CA Anti-Spyware 2008 holds the middle ground, neither improving nor declining with this year's offering. The code is leaner, resulting in faster scans; however, there are too few features here to warrant much excitement. Also, this is the only antivirus product we tested that attempted to download a third-party toolbar during installation. And we are puzzled why a major security company like CA doesn't provide more technical support for its consumer products. If you're looking for economy, choose BitDefender Antivirus 2008. If you're looking the best antivirus product for 2008, we recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2008, our Editors' Choice.
CA Anti-Virus Plus CA Anti-Spyware 2008 includes three PC licenses at $49.95. By comparison, BitDefender Antivirus offers its three-user license for $29.95. Kaspersky offers its single license at $49.95, and charges $59.95 for its three-user license. CA Anti-Virus Plus CA Anti-Spyware 2008 runs on Windows 2000, XP, and Vista, while Norton AntiVirus 2008 only works on XP and Vista.
There is a very good reason not to blow through the installation of CA Anti-Virus Plus CA Anti-Spyware 2008 without reading each screen carefully. One thing we always hate to find is the Yahoo toolbar hiding within any installation, and it's lurking here. By all means, uncheck the box asking you to install it along with CA Anti-Virus Plus CA Anti-Spyware 2008. Worse, Yahoo also asks permission to make it your search engine by default. We prefer the freedom to choose our own search engines, thank you. CA is the only antivirus vendor we reviewed that included third-party piggyback applications within its install.
Also, we were unable to continue with our CA installation without registering. Other antivirus vendors allow you to skip registration or, in the case with Symantec, click Next three times to continue. Not with CA. Although the information collected is negligible, given the Yahoo toolbar lurking in the installer package, we didn't like handing over any additional information.
Should you want to remove CA Anti-Virus Plus CA Anti-Spyware 2008, there is no All Programs option to uninstall. You will need to use Windows Add/Remove Software. In doing so, a CA uninstall wizard will then ask if you want to remove the antivirus, the antispyware, or both from your machine. After reboot, we found no traces of CA products on our machine.
However, if you installed the Yahoo toolbar or made it your default search engine, you'll need to remove these separately. Removing CA alone will not change the status of these Yahoo applications.
CA uses a consistent interface for all its offerings. While we like this, we don't like the confusing up-sell that goes along with this implementation. For example, after finding out that you don't have a firewall, instead of offering to turn on the free Windows Firewall, CA takes you to a Web page that talks about why you should upgrade and install the CA Firewall. The page is dry, no graphics, no sales pitch, but might cause people to think that it's an FAQ page. It's not.